100-Character Breakdown: Thrives with an increasingly complex protagonist, a dark plot, and well-developed relationships.
Genre: Young adult, fantasy
Publisher: Putnam (October 2015)
In the sequel to Marie Lu’s The Young Elites, the story and its protagonist grow even darker. The Rose Society continues Adelina’s journey after she is ousted from the Dagger Society, leaving her and her sister Violetta to fend for themselves. They flee to Merroutas, a city-state and island not far from Kenettra. There, guided by desire for revenge and power, Adelina seeks out other Young Elites to join her quest to take the throne of Kenettra. Meanwhile, the rest of the Dagger Society joins Queen Maeve — another Young Elite — of the northern country Beldain. Both the Rose Society, which Adelina creates with her new recruits, and the alliance of the Daggers and Beldain plan to overtake Kenettran Queen Giulietta and her Lead Inquisitor Teren.
The number of clashing sides in this sequel enhances the plot’s complexity. Doubts of loyalty and fractured relationships abound, these opposing forces share a history that makes their war about more than just a throne. Lu continues the intricate world building of the first book, adding depth to the world she created and the characters that live in it. She does a magnificent job of tying in new characters. She deftly weaves them into the story, creating new challenges in already conflicted relationships. While doing so, she deepens the nature of already existing characters. Adelina and Violetta shine most of all in this novel. Adelina’s villainous nature makes for an exhilarating and surprising read; as she moves ahead on her dark path, she loses herself more and more, becoming lost in her powers. The dynamic of these two sisters develops powerfully as Violetta tries to keep her sister whole. Their relationship is the heart of this complex and dark novel. As the sequel comes to a close, the animosity between the different sides has reached its peak. The conclusion to the trilogy, The Midnight Star, has a perfect base, and will undoubtedly be just as exciting as its predecessor.