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 and her sister flee Kenettra 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?
If you remember, I loved the Young Elites. I had such a great time reading it that I couldn’t wait for the sequel… and IT. DID. NOT. DISAPPOINT. The Rose Society was an amazing sequel. Full of action, cinematic battle scenes, new characters, new threats and new heights reached!
The story picks up exactly where the first book ends. Adelina and her sister are on the road, looking for Elites to create their very own army. Yes, yes, new Elites and a new secret society.
This installment is way darker than the first one. Adelina isn’t driven by guilt and fear anymore but pure hatred and revenge. She isn’t afraid of using her powers, which are now completely out of control. She is haunted by her illusions and there are so many moments where she was struggling to grasp reality… it hurts. The darkness inside her threathens to destroy her sanity, and Marie Lu writes it so beautifully. In the Rose Society, Adelina isn’t afraid of who she is anymore. She becomes a leader and takes Elites under her protection.
Let’s talk about the new characters. Starting with the two not-so-unknown. I love when authors do that, mentioning characters in one book, putting them in the second. The boy who can control the rain, Sergio, a great mercenary and an ally to Adelina, and the boy whose name created the word magic, Magiano. They are good additions to the story. Mostly, Magiano. Let’s face it. This dude has an amazing power and a fun personality. He is playful, sassy, full of joy and… a charmer. He is also a new love interest. I thought I wasn’t going to like him (the idea of a love triangle and all!) but… I warmed up to his charms and wit. Around Adelina, he is a light balancing her dark world. Adelina feels good around him but struggles with his affection, and I felt like Marie Lu wrote those feelings/moments pretty well. And even with him in the picture, I didn’t feel there was any real love triangle.
Yes, we have our brooding royal Enzo back, but he came back changed, without a soul, and their relationship, barely explored in The Young Elites, is crushed. Ended. Done. He felt like a side character, but I believe this is a way for the author to explain why Adelina is going to fully embrace her darkness. For real, the girl has no luck.
Maeve, the queen of Beldain (and her brothers), is also a new character, seen in the epilogue of The Young Elites. She was badass and fearless and I liked her relationship with Lucent, although I wish we could have seen more of her.
Now, about the known characters. Ah, Raffeale! Maybe we’re supposed to like him, maybe we’re supposed to hate him, but I did have a hard time connecting with his actions in this one. I loved him in the Young Elites and I loved seeing him as a consort in the Rose Society, and I know he is driven by his brotherly love for Enzo, his will to protect what he sees as good, but… I don’t know… maybe, I’m not over his betrayal.
Now, Teren. Teren! I wanted to see more of him and learn more about the queen Guilietta, and my wish has been granted. Teren reached a new level of insanity. Seeing him driven by his emotions was quite a scary process. Teren is head over heels in love with Guilietta and he was blinded by this love, so much he didn’t see Adelina’s revenge coming. (This scene was awesome in a very scary way, Miss Lu.). I loved seeing his struggle and I know somehow his fate is going to be bad (as most of the characters’ fate given their ambitions and the end of the book.)
There are things I had a hard time with as well. First, Violetta. I didn’t fully understand her role, aside from the helpful little sister, even though I appreciated her vulnerability. I know this is Adelina’s story, I just wanted to see her more. Another thing: sometimes, I got lost. I kept forgetting what Adelina’s final purpose was. Why Adelina wanted to rule? (Suddenly?) Yes, she wanted her own army. Yes, she wanted to make Teren and the Inquisition pay. Yes, she wanted Enzo back. At one point, I wasn’t sure anymore of why or what she wanted… at least until the final scene. When she sits on that throne, you can feel something snap inside of her, and you know it’s too late. Then, I understood how her downfall led her to this moment. Adelina let the darkness in and became the way she feared in the first book: alone.
This is what I was afraid of by the end of The Young Elites, and it’s fascinating to see how hatred and fear turned her into a monster of her own making. It’s something I love so much about this series – how the author portrays how emotion can drive someone to an extreme and its consequences. Now, I doubt there will be any redemption by the end of her journey. Adelina is a villain.
The Rose Society was a darker, action-packed, well-written sequel where the stakes are higher. I recommend the books to fans of villains, all around fantastic word-building and superpowers… and… yes, the end made me eager and terrified for the third book.