Great Sequel, Bittersweet Ending: The Rose Society/The Midnight Star by Marie Lu

Great Sequel, Bittersweet Ending: The Rose Society/The Midnight Star by Marie LuThe Rose Society (The Young Elites, #2)
by Marie Lu
Series: ,
Release Date: October 13th 2015
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Carla Corvo, Lannon Killea
Length: 11 hrs and 7 mins
Pages: 398
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Source: Audiobook Received for Review

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 flees Kenettra with her sister 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?

Bestselling author Marie Lu delivers another heart-pounding adventure in this exhilarating sequel to The Young Elites.

Audiobook Received for Review in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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I was really surprised a few years ago by how much I liked The Young Elites. It’s not often that we have an MC that isn’t quite the hero and that struggles with her humanity. I had been looking forward to the sequel, The Rose Society but when my digital audiobook copy didn’t download right, I never got around to reading it. When the final installment was released last month, I knew I wanted to finish the series. I was able to get another audiobook copy of book 2 and listened to these back to back.

I ended up listening to this in the car because I only had it on CD format and it wasn’t until I was on the 2nd or 3rd disc that I realized that my kids were not only paying attention to the story but they wanted to hear the rest of it (I usually listen to audiobooks when they are at school or with headphones). It wasn’t long until the three of us were immersed in the world of Adelina, Violetta, Magiano and the rest of The Young Elites.

What made the first book so unique for me was that Adelina wasn’t your typical heroine. She’s not out looking to save the world or make it a better place. Adelina has lost so much, has been betrayed by so many people she trusts and she really struggles with the need for vengeance and revenge that is burning inside her. At times, that rage seems like it will be Adelina’s downfall and she does succumb to the whispers in her head more than once, but her sister Violetta and new ally Magiano are what keep her grounded and sane… most of the time.

As much as I was rooting for Adelina to overcome her demons and learn how to trust people, I have to say that I enjoyed when she was a show-no-mercy badass who didn’t hesitate to kill her enemies or people who got in her way. It was a bit refreshing for a change. But the more Adelina kills, the more the whispers take over and she starts to doubt everything, even the few people she loves.

The Rose Society was a great follow-up to The Young Elites. I loved knowing more about Adelina’s struggle, Violetta’s growth, Adelina and Magiano’s slow burning romance and the dysfunctional and complicated group that make up The Young Elites.

Great Sequel, Bittersweet Ending: The Rose Society/The Midnight Star by Marie LuThe Midnight Star (The Young Elites, #3)
by Marie Lu
Series: ,
Release Date: October 11th 2016
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Genres: YA, Fantasy
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Lannon Killea, Carla Corvo
Length: 9 hrs and 7 mins
Pages: 316
Buy on Audible
Source: Audiobook Received for Review

There was once a time when darkness shrouded the world, and the darkness had a queen.

Adelina Amouteru is done suffering. She’s turned her back on those who have betrayed her and achieved the ultimate revenge: victory. Her reign as the White Wolf has been a triumphant one, but with each conquest her cruelty only grows. The darkness within her has begun to spiral out of control, threatening to destroy all she’s gained.

When a new danger appears, Adelina’s forced to revisit old wounds, putting not only herself at risk, but every Elite. In order to preserve her empire, Adelina and her Roses must join the Daggers on a perilous quest—though this uneasy alliance may prove to be the real danger.

Audiobook Received for Review in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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I feel a bit conflicting when it comes to The Midnight Star. I did like it, but there were a few things I wish would have happened differently. After the events of The Rose Society, Adelina is lost deeper in crazy town and she only seems to be sinking deeper and deeper into letting the whispers in her head manipulate her. Now, she’s alienated her sister and people she should be trusting and has no choice but to work with people she hates, like Teren, in order to save herself and the rest of the Young Elites.

One of the reasons I struggled with this one is that for most of the book, Adelina was no longer fighting that line between good and evil. Whereas her sister was the one to ground her and remind her that deep down she was a good person, that she wants to be a good person, she no longer has Violetta around and she is full-on evil mode. She kills relentlessly and without mercy and only through Magiano can we see glimpses of the old Adelina buried deep inside. As much as I liked when Adelina was a bit evil, I did miss the balance. There were times when her new evil attitude got to be annoying.

The story picks up again luckily when the whole gang gets together even though half of them don’t like and/or trust each other. Brushes with death, trips to the underworld, deals with goddesses are just a fraction of what made this book good… but there was one major thing that annoyed me. View Spoiler » As it was, although I didn’t completely hate the ending, it was definitely bittersweet and not what I was hoping for. I still think the series overall is really good and I can’t wait to see how this is adapted into a movie, especially the ending.

Audiobook Comments:

Carla Corvo was simply amazing. I loved her narration in the first book and this was no exception. She had just the perfect accent for all these characters and I love the way she said everyone’s names. She narrates a few different characters but she really shines with Adelina because she conveys her struggle with her voice and performance. She was able to show me a new and vulnerable side to Adelina, which I really liked. Lannon Killea narrates the male POV’s. He also does a really great job at conveying the different emotions of his characters. Really great narration for all 3 books!

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Nereyda is a 31 year-old mother of two girls with addiction to Friends, fashion, books, Pinterest, Netflix, the color black and a little bit of everything else. Also, the world's worst texter...
  • Eeeep, I’m so glad to see that you enjoyed the last two books of the series, Nereyda! I was pleasantly surprised after I read The Rose Society, because I liked it, and I wasn’t totally expecting to like it. The Midnight Star took the cake though, for me! Note to self: expect bittersweet/tragic but sensible endings from Marie Lu’s series. She never does fluffy/super happy! Which is certainly not a bad thing, especially with a series like this one, featuring an antihero.

    Anyway! Wonderful reviews, Nereyda. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    • If it were any other series, the (spoiler) would have made me hate the book. Even though it made me sad in this one, I still liked it and it was a fitting end. And yeah, Nick told me about her endings. Good to know since I have her other series on my TBR too 🙂

  • On cd would take me…well it would not happen 😉

    • Cd takes me longer but I’m in my car a lot, thses two took me 3 weeks to finish.

  • Jessica @ a GREAT read

    Oh nice! I STILL need to read The Rose Society and as a rule for myself, I never read reviews past the book I need to read still! LOL. So many tiny spoilers can happen, so I find this the safest route to go about things. So I just read TRS review and was quite happy to hear you enjoyed it! I can’t wait to dive back into this world and reacquaint myself with Adelina! Great review!

  • I don’t think Marie Lu is capable of writing a series ending that’s warm and fuzzy. I mean I guess it’s realistic, but I don’t have to like it. I’m glad you read these and that I waited before picking these books up, because yeah, totally not my ending. I’m glad you and your kids enjoyed it though! I love that they got so attached too! I’m seeing mini Nereyda’s in our blog’s future! 😀

    • My daughter loves to read. She was reading her books over and over, that’s why I had to start taking them to the library 🙂

  • Happy Thanksgiving!

    Books are the best way to bond and the love for reading the best gift we could ever give our kids.

    • Oh they love listening to books with me. I normally listen to them first to make sure they are okay 🙂
      Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Happy Thanksgiving, Nereyda!

    The last time I tried listening to an audiobook in the car, I got shot down by my kids. Also, my reading/listening choices has been suspect the last few weeks, so listening to an audiobook with the fam present might not be the best of ideas right now.

    I didn’t enjoy the first book, to be honest, so I didn’t bother continuing. I do remember thinking about Adelina’s drive for vengeance and had rooted for her success.

    Brilliant review!

    • My kids love audiobooks. It’s hard finding some they can listen to since they are 10 and 7 but I have quite a few.

  • I’ve only ever read Legend by this author and it was kind of… meh to me. Didn’t really impress me all that much but I am curious about this series because I’ve heard good things. So I do want to try it! 🙂

    • Haven’t read that series but it didn’t really interest me…

  • It’s awesome to hear how well-done the audio was for these books! And although I haven’t read Midnight Star yet, I kind of expected something like that to happen. (Yes, I totally spoiled it. No, I don’t really care lol. Yes, I’m still reading the book.) I think it would have been the only plausible way to redeem Adelina’s whole villainess thing going on. I could understand why you had conflicted feelings on it Nereyda, and probably would too. While reading this whole series I was sure the ending could’t have been anything less than bittersweet. Awesome reviews!

    – Aila @ Happy Indulgence

  • I love the sound of this series, I have the first 2 on my shelves but I haven’t picked it up yet. I have a thing with anti-heroes though, they just intrigue me so much! Lovely reivew Nereyda, I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  • Eva

    Another series I’ve been curious about – I’m definitely more tempted to read it now knowing that you liked it! Series endings are always bittersweet to me even if I love the series (like The Raven Cycle)

  • I am so glad someone else had issues with Midnight Star. I was so excited about it, but I just wasn’t a fan of where the author took the story. I thought it moved so slowly and the fight between good and evil just wasn’t there. I was so not happy with the ending. It didn’t make any sense to me.

  • Rummanah

    I loved Rose Society, but I also had issues with Midnight Star. I thought it would end in a bang but it just turned out to be a whimper. In my opinion the redemption part happened too easily and quickly.

  • I was “okay” about TYE, then I read TRS and it blew me away. I have no idea what happened with TMS, but that is not the ending I’d been hoping for.