Powerful and Emotional Fantasy | Review of ‘The Midnight Star’ (The Young Elites #3)

By Cynthia Ayala

The Midnight Star by Marie Lu
G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Adelina is no longer the victim; now she is the queen. Her conquests lead to victory after victory, but even she cannot quench the hate in those hearts. However, now her madness is growing, the Elites are being poisoned by the very gifts they have, and together, enemies and allies must unite to save the world that has abused them before they die, and with them, the world.

Published October 11, 2016, by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, The Midnight Star by Marie Lu is the final novel in her young adult fantasy series The Young Elites.

Lu has put together such a wonderful novel that follows a protagonist that is neither good nor evil. Adelina has always been the victim, used and abused, mistreated by those who have claimed one thing and then acted contrary to that. She’s such a sympathetic character despite how violent she is. Even her sister betrayed her, not just at the end of the previous book, but through their entire lives. Her sister may be the gentle one, and she may be a victim as well, but her actions towards her sister have villainized her. However, nothing is clear cut in the series, and that’s the beauty of it. Adelina, despite all the violence she has committed because due to her hate and anger, continues to be a sympathetic character, one that the reader can relate to in such a strong manner. Her anger comes from someplace to real that the reader becomes angrier at the other, more docile characters—like her sister—rather than at her. There’s no excuse for the things she has done, but it’s understandable.

Adelina is just a powerful character because her emotions leap off the page, they insert themselves into the reader, and her pain, her anger, her heartbreak, and fear, it all just comes alive making for a powerful read. The fact that her segment is the only one written in first-person also helps to understand her character a little more, making her stand out. The other sections of the novel are written in third-person so the atmosphere there while drawing in the reader, remains just a story that the reader is following. With Adelina, it’s much more powerful because it’s written in first-person. More importantly, it’s not jarring to the reader. The story and the narrative move so freely and fluidly that it just makes for wonderful reading. It’s not even obvious to the reader that the point-of-view is shifting which only serves to highlight how wonderful Lu’s writing and story-telling are.

It’s a strong story about an abuse victim facing down her anger; it’s a powerful narrative that allows for so many layers to make up the story and bring out the fantasy within it. It’s fantasy, it’s young adult, it’s “genre fiction,” but none of that diminishes how powerful this story it, how heartbreaking and effective it is at capturing the imagination and the heart of the reader. It may be young adult, but with the language and characterization, this is a story that transcends age because of how emotional it is. Adelina is a force to be reckoned with, and the reader just doesn’t have a choice but to side with her.

This series is worth the price. (★★★★★ | A+)

Pub Date: Oct. 11th, 2016 Page count: 316pp Age Range: 12 – 18
ISBN: 978-0-3991-6785-0 Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers List Price: $18.99

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