Book Review: THE ROSE SOCIETY (The Young Elites #2) by Marie Lu

The Rose Society goes darker if a bit slower in pace

*warning: spoilers from The Young Elites and slight spoilers for The Rose Society*

Being a malfetto isn’t so great as we recall from The Young Elites. And it doesn’t get any better for them in The Rose Society, especially for those Elites.

The Rose Society starts off a few weeks after the finale of The Young Elites. If you recall, it ended with Adelina Amouterou mistakenly killing The Dagger Society leader Enzo Valenciano, thinking that he was the Inquistor Teren Santoro in disquise. Because of Enzo’s death, his sister Giulietta was able to claim the throne without interference and is now Queen of Kenettra.  Adelina was then exiled from The Dagger Society by Raffaele, who now led the group.

Adelina now travels with her sister, Violetta. In the first book, we saw Adelina’s desire to do right backfire on her. In the second book, we find her, bitter and angry, and her need for revenge taking a hold of her. But she knows that she can’t do anything, let alone seek revenge or be rid of the Inquisition, including Teren Santoro, without others like her and her sister at her side. And thus her search to create The Rose Society begins.


Not so easy to do, as we find out. Adelina’s search is tricky and she and her sister meet several interesting characters along the way, having to deal in more death, and feeling less guilty about it, even with Violetta by her side. As Adelina quickly grows her group, we find the survivors of The Dagger Society – Raffaele, Gemma, Lucent, and Michel escaping Kennetra and the Teren’s Inquisition to another land.

As from the first book, we see their side of the story through Raffaele. Who they meet plays a very significant part in the story, as was hinted at in the Epilogue of the first book. We get to know more about Raffaele as he is forced to do things he would rather not, and also Lucent and her past.

Then there is Teren, Lead Inquisitor, and faithful servant, and lover, of Queen Giulietta. We find that what he desires for his country might not be the same as what his beloved Queen wants. And the inner conflict that he faces because of it stands to be a major issue for not only the Queen but for all malfettos.

With all these characters and their points of views interweaving throughout the book, I found their characters and personalities to be engaging. When I thought about it, I could see the dilemmas and challenges each one faced and understand why they felt that way, even if I didn’t agree with why they felt the way they did or how they reacted to it. The character development of Adelina was probably the most noticeable, but also the most disagreeable for me. Because, as one can tell, she was already heading down a dark path in the previous book.

the rose societyThere’s no doubt there are some really good plot points in the book and some great twists and even greater emotional trauma. Marie Lu has a way with exposing the twist in that you don’t quite see it coming, and when you do, you realize how much harder it is to deal with in retrospect.

However, overall, I found the pacing of the story to be the complication. Much of what was being written was all about Adellina and her slow path down the dark side. I understand that is probably intentional, but I felt that there could’ve been more fast-paced scenes to balance out the drawn out passages of Adelina’s thoughts. Honestly, I almost feel like a duology might’ve been a better idea for this series, but I can’t say that for sure since this is only the second book. If anything, I felt that I would’ve rather liked to read more from Rafaelle’s point of view, but I understand why that wasn’t done. This is more about the girl-turn-villain, after all. So, really, I would’ve preferred a shorter book for a quicker pace.

This is not to say that I will not be reading the third book, because there are some major issues from this book that I want to see resolved in the final book. I have not given up hope that Ms. Lu can still give us a phenomenal book three, I only wished this one wasn’t as dragged out as I felt it was.

My Grade: B-

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