TITLE: The Rose Society
AUTHOR: Marie Lu
SERIES: The Young Elites #2
PUBLICATION: October 13, 2015
PUBLISHER: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Once upon a time, a girl had a father, a prince, a society of friends. Then they betrayed her, and she destroyed them all.
Adelina Amouteru’s heart has suffered at the hands of both family and friends, turning her down the bitter path of revenge. Now known and feared as the White Wolf, she flees Kenettra with her sister to find other Young Elites in the hopes of building her own army of allies. Her goal: to strike down the Inquisition Axis, the white-cloaked soldiers who nearly killed her.
But Adelina is no heroine. Her powers, fed only by fear and hate, have started to grow beyond her control. She does not trust her newfound Elite friends. Teren Santoro, leader of the Inquisition, wants her dead. And her former friends, Raffaele and the Dagger Society, want to stop her thirst for vengeance. Adelina struggles to cling to the good within her. But how can someone be good when her very existence depends on darkness?
Bestselling author Marie Lu delivers another heart-pounding adventure in this exhilarating sequel to The Young Elites.
*Spoilers for The Young Elites as well as The Rose Society may be randomly placed in this review. Read at your own risk.*
The Rose Society had a slow but sure start, the events following near the end of The Young Elites, with Adelina searching for her own Elites, as the Daggers had cast her away. But with a turn of a few pages, the story suddenly turns into one full of action and thrill and suspense. As always, Marie has written so wonderfully and so gripping that I find myself at some points of the story just in awe of how well she describes the world her characters are in. Something about her writing feels just so natural that she doesn’t put too much pressure on her readers to imagine her characters’ worlds by describing their surroundings with too many words. It just feels flowing and I find myself captivated by how well she builds the foundations of her story again and again.
In The Young Elites, we have seen Adelina constantly battling the evil within her, and tries to be good. But as we know, and as she knows, being good only led to her being betrayed and being cast away by the people she trusted, so this basically becomes her revenge story. We see her battle with darkness, and then give in, and slowly become the true villain of her own story, but still we try to understand her and take her side because after all, she is the main voice of the story. We are so used to reading from the good’s point of view, that we come to believe that Adelina is good too. But she’s not. She is fueled by darkness and passion, by her thirst for power, that she’s willing to do literally everything just so she can fulfill her ambitions. Marie Lu wrote her in a way that even though she’s not entirely good, readers would somehow still take her side because there is reason behind everything she does, and in a way, because of her chance at redemption.
The characters we knew and loved (and hated) in The Young Elites also makes their appearances here. Rafaelle, Maeve, and the other Daggers, who are essesntially the good guys of the story; Teren, who still thinks everything he does is justified even if they’re not really the right thing to do; and Violetta, who I believe is Adelina’s chance at redemption, and who I believe had the most character growth in the story after Adelina herself. They are joined by some new characters: Magiano, who brings light to Adelina’s darkness, and who generally is the light and joy-bringer of story; and Sergio, who helps Adelina in her quest for power. As I read these characters’ arcs, I am left in awe by how beautifully Marie has created them and gave them each mystery and complexity. Each character has their roles in Adelina’s life, and they help her determine who she really wants to be.
And as for the plot of the story, which is just marvelous as well as dark and mysterious, I always just find myself reveling in how beautifully and hauntingly the events of the story occur after the other, slowly unraveling a new piece of Adelina we have to know as she rises to her villain status. The Rose Society has so much twists and turns that you can never really predict a thing that would happen in the next few pages. The plot was planned and was written so well that you’ll just find yourself so hooked and fascinated to Adelina’s quest for power. Everything just flows naturally, and it somehow feels refreshing to finally know what the bad guys think about everything they do to others and how it affects the way they think.
All in all, I can say that this book is definitely as step-up from The Young Elites, and that Marie has grown as a writer that everything she writes just becomes better and better. This novel was dark as the Underworld, but still you’ll find yourself wanting more. Needing more even. If you liked The Young Elites, you’ll definitely like this more, and if you’re a fantasy junkie interested in knowing how villains are made, then this book is for you.
4.5 out of 5 stars!
Marie Lu was born in China in 1984 (perhaps a sign of dystopian stories to come), and moved from Beijing to Baton Rouge, Louisiana in the same year the Tiananmen Square massacre happened. Eventually she and her parents settled down in Sugar Land, Texas—which she still considers her hometown.
She finished her first novel when she was 15 years old, but it took her second manuscript to acquire a literary agent. When that one didn’t sell either, she went off to college in Los Angeles and wrote two more manuscripts. Although those still didn’t sell, one of them did get her the amazing literary agent Kristin Nelson, who sold her fifth manuscript, the dystopian young adult novel LEGEND, to Putnam Children’s/Penguin USA at auction in a major deal. LEGEND will be coming out on November 29, 2011 as Putnam Children’s and Penguin Young Readers Group’s lead title. LEGEND is Marie’s debut novel.
Marie graduated in 2006 from USC and currently resides in Los Angeles, where she spends her time stuck in traffic.