Title: The Rose Society
Author: Marie Lu
Publication Date: October 13, 2015
Two Sentence Synopsis: After the death of Prince Enzo, Adelina and her sister Violetta flee their home country to escape the Inquisition Axis and find other young adults with strange powers like them. With new allies, Adelina returns to her home country and find out that old friends have made new, and possibly problematic, connections.
Review: I love the world that Marie Lu created for this series. It contains rich culture and history and is completely different from the world created in her Legend series. Each of the characters’ powers is unique and the back-story to how the powers developed is fascinating.
The Rose Society builds on the themes and characters Marie Lu introduced in the first novel of this trilogy, The Young Elites. We’re also introduced to new, interesting characters that add to the narrative.
Fantasy can be a difficult genre to write and even more difficult to read if the world building seems weak or the rules surrounding magical abilities aren’t fully established. Fortunately, Lu does not run into problems with either. She laid the foundations and established the most important aspects of both the world that her characters live in and the powers that they possess in the first book, and in this novel, she builds on those foundations. The already vibrant world in The Young Elites takes on even more depth in The Rose Society.
I also really enjoy the main character, Adelina. She’s not an entirely likeable character in the same way that many YA main characters are likeable. But she’s interesting. The childhood disease that gave her her powers also caused facial disfigurement and her hair to turn silver. Adelina also suffers from pretty severe PTSD from growing up in an abusive household and struggles with dark thoughts. I don’t care that Adelina isn’t cute and quirky; I like that she stands out from most other YA protagonists. I would rather read a book with an interesting protagonist, even if they aren’t conventionally likeable, than a fluffy Mary Sue/Gary Stu any day.
I recommend this book for readers who enjoy fantasy and unconventional protagonists.