“Once upon a time, a girl had a father, a prince, a society of friends. Then they betrayed her, so she destroyed them all.”
Disclaimer: This review is for the 2nd book in a series, and while I have no intentions of spoiling this book, there may be spoilers for the previous installment. If you have not read The Young Elites, continue reading at your own discretion.
After finishing The Young Elites, I was eager to pick up the second installment in Marie Lu’s latest trilogy. I’m happy to say that The Rose Society did not disappoint. As the narrative grows darker, we’re introduced to new story arcs and characters – most of which kept me eagerly flipping through the pages for more.
There is a minor time gap between the two books, and Adelina’s character does feel slightly off in the beginning. Seemingly overnight, Adelina has gone to a much darker state of mind – though this probably feels so sudden because we don’t get to witness her emotional transformation after the Daggers cast her out. This is a shame, but it was an easy thing to adjust to.
On a more positive note, my sense of place improved exponentially during the sequel. I’m not sure whether I should attribute this to already having spent an entire book in this universe prior to reading The Rose Society or to world building improvements on Marie’s part. I do think the fact that we’re shown more of Queen Guiletta and her workings within the palace walls helped flesh out the political components more thoroughly. It was also nice to see different parts of the world Marie has crafted, specifically Meroutas and Beldain.
The characters introduced in The Rose Society also felt more developed to me, and some of these new additions quickly became my favorites in the series. (I’m looking at you, Magiano.) Not only do these characters add a whole new set of powers to counter those of the Elites, but they also offer additional motives and perspectives that make me wonder where they’ll end up by the end of the final book.
The action is non-stop in The Rose Society, and all the fighting and scheming certainly keeps the pacing quick. Unfortunately, smaller details are still lost because of this, but it’s much less noticeable than in the first book.
A discovery Raffaele makes toward the end also sets us up for a whole new plot in The Midnight Star. I wonder whether this will detract from Adelina’s current storyline at all, but I’m hoping the two plots will tie into one another nicely.
That’s all I can really say about The Rose Society. I gave this one four out of five stars on Goodreads, and I’d definitely recommend it if you enjoyed the first one. We see all new sides to Marie’s world and characters, and what’s not to love about that?