After being cast out of the Daggers, Adelina is determined to find her own form of revenge on all those who have ever hurt or wronged her.
Together with her sister, she forms the Rose Society in hopes of finding other Elites to join her cause. Their goal is to take down the Inquisition, the same people who once sentenced Adelina to death.
But Adelina is no hero. Her powers feed on fear and anger, almost everyone she’s ever known wants her dead, and the struggle to find the good within herself becomes harder with each passing moment.
I’ve awaited the sequel for ages, pretty much since I first read it last year. I have a review up for the first book if you want to check that out for my thoughts on the first book in this trilogy.
Marie Lu and her books are no strangers to me, and I am incredibly familiar with how fast-paced her books are. This sequel is no exception. Though some people may say that the beginning of the book is slower in pace than most of Lu’s other works, I actually found that the pacing was appropriate for what was being related. There are enough exciting moments scattered throughout the book to keep your interest peaked, even if it’s not as high-speed as the first book.
This book delves more into Adelina as a character than the first book, giving us a better look into the kind of person Adelina is. We explore more of her thought process, her emotions, and the ways she expands her power. Though some people might struggle with reading about that or find that she’s hard to relate to because of her behavior, I appreciated the insight into the murky mess of Adelina’s mind. She’s a very interesting person to read about because of the way she perceives and reacts everything thrown at her.
The interesting thing about this series is that I think a lot of people forget that Adelina isn’t supposed to be a protagonist. Not really. Marie Lu has stated before that she originally wrote the first book as the story of a hero defeating Adelina, but became frustrated because it wasn’t what she wanted. Upon a suggestion from her then-boyfriend-now-husband, Marie Lu wrote from the villain’s perspective instead, finding it much more enjoyable. It’s something to keep in mind while reading this trilogy – it’s okay not to like Adelina or the way she behaves because she’s supposed to be the anti-hero. Adelina isn’t some kind of good person who goes around revolutionizing the world and liberating people. She’s the person who decided on a different path. So for people who find it hard to like anti-heroes or struggle to get through the trilogy because of the kind of person Adelina is and the choices she makes, remember that she’s not the good guy here. Which means she’s allowed to screw everyone over and burn all bridges.
One of the things I really enjoyed about this book, and the trilogy in general, are the descriptions. It’s been awhile since I read the first book, but having such vivid descriptions allowed me to remember how I imagined everything and everyone to look like. I’m quite sure that this trilogy contains more descriptive passages and better descriptions than the Legend trilogy, which focused more on the fast-paced action and simplicity of telling a great story. But with this, there was a lot to look at and appreciate in a world where there are three moons.
I will admit that the pacing of the first half of the book felt a little slow to me, but to be fair, I haven’t really been in much of a reading mood lately. Despite the pacing being a little slower than the previous book, I did find that the first half was definitely interesting enough to help me through an impromptu all-nighter while waiting at the hospital. Like I said before, there’s enough action sprinkled throughout the first half to keep the pages turning.
OH! I also have to mention that for the first time ever, I have no idea what I want the main character to do with her love life. Usually, I either have one side of the love triangle that I’ll stick to, hate both love interests, or just prefer for the main character to stay single, but in this case, I really have no idea what I want Adelina to do. I’m not sure if some of you might consider this a spoiler, but seriously, just read the book and you’ll probably understand what I mean.
I think we should also just take a moment to appreciate Marie Lu’s ability to write confrontations and fight scenes. She writes them with a lot of fiery passion and it keeps you hooked the entire time. I loved the last 1/3 of the book, when everything was piling up into an epic climax. With the way things were left at the end of this book, I have no idea how it’s going to be possible to wrap up the story in The Midnight Star, the final installment of the trilogy which comes out on October 11th.
I will admit that I have some mixed feelings about Adelina. I find that I keep having to remind myself that she’s not a hero whenever I find myself being frustrated with how dark she is. Once I remind myself of that, I’m able to really enjoy the dark, twisted nature of who she is and her actions. There’s something about her that makes you want to root for her, and at the same time, you want her actions to be brought to justice. It’s kind of confusing and contradictory, but that’s all in the fun of reading about her.
I won’t talk about any of the other characters because I feel like talking about them will be spoiling the story in one way or another.
5 stars. I highly recommend this trilogy if you’re looking for something with an anti-hero or if you want a YA fantasy that isn’t as intense or world-heavy as Throne of Glass. If you weren’t sure about continuing with this book after reading the first one, I would recommend continuing with this book. I can’t wait to see what the final book in the trilogy will be like, especially with everything that’s going on.