Book Review: THE ROSE SOCIETY BY MARIE LU

By: Dani

Last week, I shared with you guys my review for the first installment in this series, The Young Elites. If you caught that review, you know that the first book didn’t do a great job of pulling me in. Unfortunately, this sequel, The Rose Society, didn’t have much better luck. Although, the darkness became almost addicting to read. I was fascinated by reading the inner calculations of someone so consumed with destruction.  

In the second novel of the series, Adelina begins to really embrace the darkness consuming her. She sets out on a mission to build her own version of the Young Elites. Her first conquest is Magiano, a mysterious Young Elite with a pension for thievery. Adelina spends the entire novel plotting her revenge against not only the Queen and her Inquisitors but also against the Young Elites. They cast her out and the abandonment eats at her. The story follows Adelina and her band of Young Elites, known as the Rose Society, as they attempt to sneak back into the country and seize the throne.

The Rose Society is quite a bit darker than The Young Elites, which is really saying something. In the ‘Acknowledgements,’ the author even states that this is the darkest novel she has ever written and that it really took a toll on her. I can only imagine that is true when your subject matter is children dying and killing. Adelina becomes increasingly more consumed by the darkness that fuels her power. To the point that it was hard to read her inner thoughts at time. Much to her dismay, she finds herself enjoying both the darkness inside of her and the outward destruction and killing she was causing. Lu masters a pretty difficult task. She brings the darkness out in this novel while still capturing the fact that all of the characters involved are children or teenagers. It is really difficult for the book to maintain that youthful feeling while discussing the kinds of topics this story covers. I applaud her for that.

The series is a trilogy and I find myself torn on how I feel concerning the final installment. At this point, I just do not see much of a happy ending in store for these characters. It is very reminiscent of the Hunger Games in the sense that the outcome will involve death and pain for all involved. Even though, I struggle to connect to Adelina, I am still rooting for her. Lu excels at making even a flawed character still be likable in many senses. I am often abhorred at her inner thoughts and outer actions, but then Lu will weave in the glimpses of her true humanity. And I am conflicted all over again. I think Adeline’s main saving grace are the characters around her. They prevent her from going past the point of no return, especially her sister. Although, there are several times when she toes the line of becoming lost to the darkness. I just noticed in this review how many times I used the words ‘darkness’ and ‘destruction.’ Typically, I hate to use the same words so many times, but in the case of this story, those words are just what fit. They are really the theme of the story.

Overall, I think I am anxious to get my hands on the conclusion. I can never leave a story un-finished. And a big part of me hopes that my negativity and pessimism is unwarranted. I really hope Adelina can rid herself of the darkness and walk in the light. The final installment, The Midnight Star, isn’t released until October of this year. So I have a while to wait, but I am looking forward to sharing my thoughts with you guys after I read it!

SG RATING: 3.5 SHIELDS

3.5 SG Shields


Have you read The Rose Society? What did you think? Are you anxiously awaiting the final installment?

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