A Dark & Enticing Tale | Review of ‘The Rose Society’ (The Young Elites, #2)

The Rose Society by Marie Lu
G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Image Credit: Goodreads

By Cynthia Ayala

Adelina has fallen from grace. Her friends turned their backs on her leading her to revel in her ambition and revenge. Now known as the White Wolf, she had fled Kenettra with her sister and is on a journey to build her own army of allies, to go home and destroy the Inquisition. She is no hero, led only by fear and hatred, and now her powers are starting to take control of her. Those who betrayed her want to stop her but Adelina can’t be stopped, and her actions, driven by darkness, will bring the world to it’s knees.

The Rose Society by Marie Lu was published on October 13, 2015 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers and is the second book in the young adult fantasy series The Young Elites.

This is an incredibly dark tale that is richly written. The Rose Society went down a very dark path that focused so much on the emotional path of the characters and how the last book created so many ripples effects, all of which are so intense.

Adelina is not a hero, she wants what’s best for malfetto’s who are hunted and crucified for being scared and gifted by the scarlet fever, but she wants what’s best for the wrong reasons. Adelina is driven by her dark ambition, by instilling fear in others, by her desire for revenge. Darkness is what drives this character and that makes her incredible to read. Her voice, her passion, her narrative is so powerful and grabs the readers. It’s also what makes her such a great protagonist, everything that makes her different and dark.

Lu put all of her energy in bringing out the emotions of the characters but she different sacrifice story to do that. Like a good writer, she had the two working in conjunction to bring the story to life. The story, much like life, follows these characters as they make choices based on emotion. And the emotions jump off the pages, dragging the reader into the text. They are so powerful, especially where Adalina is concerned because of her strong voice and narrative. Adelina is a very angry charachter and that works because her story is one of sadness; it’s heartbreaking to see this fragile girl lose herself so slowly to the darkness within her. She is very much a broken character and the reader can feel that through her voice, through the narration that Lu used when she wrote Adeina. It’s enthralling, and while the same can be said for the other characters in the novel, Adelina’s emotional pain just shines the brightest.

However, it’s not just how Lu wrote the characters but how she wrote the story that makes it captivating and makes Adelina such a captivating persona. It was clever how she decided to write Adelina in first person and the other point of views in the novel, they were written in third person. The first person is much more intimate so the reader is closer to Adelina whereas the other characters, while their emotions are strong, they just don’t resonate as strongly with the reader because there is that disconnect versus with first person writing.  

The Rose Society is an enticingly dark and rich tale with a very powerful and broken protagonist. (★★★★☆ | A-)

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