Warning: If you have not read “The Rose Society” by Marie Lu, do not read this review unless you don’t mind spoilers or already read the book.
I’m back with another book review, and this time it’s “The Rose Society” by Marie Lu! I read “The Young Elites” a while ago, and I’m happy to have picked up the sequel! Here’s a summary so we know what it’s about:
“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?”
I swear, there are two types of books. One is where they create all of the romantic pairings we ship and adore. The other type is the one where they destroy them all in less than 300-40o pages or so.
This book was the latter type of book, and…wow. I’m just surprised by how quickly all the romances were smashed up in this book. Justifiable, however, given that Adelina and Enzo’s relationship quickly became abusive after Enzo was brought back to life with Adelina literally using her powers to control him. Thank goodness this was not romanticized. Giuletta and Teren’s relationship also unraveled and fell apart due to their conflicting ideas as of how to handle the malfettos under their control, with Teren being whipped at her command sometime before halfway through the book and that evidently turned mutually abusive. Even the hints of Raffaele and Enzo that made me ship them were squashed by the fact that Adelina deliberately knocked out Raffaele just so Enzo would be bound to her instead of him when Enzo came back to life.
The new romantic pairings in this book were also tragically squashed as soon as they could begin. Magiano and Adelina, despite having a touching kiss halfway through the book, easily became abusive due to Adelina’s growing thirst for power and poor Magiano is forced to do nothing but essentially cower before her, lest he end up getting killed. It’s sad to read, given that his first appearance in this book was so strong and fearless, and now he’s nothing more but a servant who, overall, has to agree to her commands most of the time lest he end up dead.
Lucent and Maeve was another pairing that was possible, but due to the fact that they’re both female and that Maeve will eventually have to marry at some point, Lucent can’t handle the fact that Maeve will be with a man half the time and breaks it off. This was also the pairing I thought was least developed, and so I was a bit disappointed by that. However, it’s the only romantic pairing that doesn’t turn abusive and just has a sad breakup, though I have to give slight kudos to that.
Going away from the pairings and towards individual character development, I really liked Adelina’s character development and seeing how she descended into madness with her increased hallucinations and her loss of control regarding her powers, as well as the strengthening of said powers. I liked seeing her growing thirst for power and revenge, and the very last few lines treated how unsatisfied she felt despite getting her revenge in the end. It will be interesting to see how she fares as the new queen in the next book.
It was Teren, however, who was my most favourite character. Despite the little backstory I received in the book (I was hoping for something more fleshed out, honestly), I saw how in love he was with the queen, his realization that he’d been manipulated and used by her, and his horror at how he was further manipulated by Adelina herself. Despite his being captured and chained by Adelina at the end of the book, I don’t think it’s the last of him we’ve seen quite yet, and that he will return in the third book.
It does make me a bit sad to realize that Teren is right close to the end of the book. If he’d met Adelina first, instead of Giuletta…things might have seriously been different. They could have been together instead. They could have been the main pairing, the evil romantic duo. Perhaps in another life, they will be.
I’ve already touched on Magiano’s character a little bit when describing his and Adelina’s romance, mainly because Magiano being a love interest was the main reason he was in the book. I’ll skip to Enzo to say this:
It was completely unnecessary to bring him back to life.
As Raffaele said early on to Maeve, it was honestly better to let him stay dead. Not only did bringing Enzo back simply make him a shell of who he was, but he also has the worse fate of being bonded to Adelina and forced to obey her every whim with no control over himself at all. I felt like despite his cool demeanor and such in the first book, it was nowhere to be found in this one, and I was completely disappointed.
As for Violetta, I could understand the conflict she had with Adelina, and I was actually happy that Violetta left Adelina at the end of the book, given how she easily saw that Adelina was only going to get worse from here and that Violetta couldn’t bear to see her deteriorate any further. Speaking of deterioration, Raffaele’s theory is very much right—Adelina will eventually have to deal with her own self-deterioration at the cost of her powers, and I’m sure that’s an issue she’ll face in the third book.
Overall, I’m rating this book 4 out of 5 stars for the unnecessary resurrection of Enzo and the easy squishing of all of the romantic pairings as well as the underdeveloped ones.