Review of The Midnight Star by Marie Lu

themidnightstarThe Midnight Star
By: Marie Lu
Release Date: October 11th 2016
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

A copy of this book was sent by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:
star

Summary:
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 that she’s achieved.

Adelina’s forced to revisit old wounds when a new danger appears, putting not only Adelina at risk, but every Elite and the very world they live in. In order to save herself and 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.

Bestselling author Marie Lu concludes Adelina’s story with this haunting and hypnotizing final installment to the Young Elites series.

My Thoughts:
I have been such a fan of The Young Elites series. Each book has improved upon the prior to me and the characters never cease to capture my heart and interest. I was so eager to see how Lu would finish this story and what fate Adelina would have.

I didn’t have the time to reread the prior books so I had to rely on my memory and the first few chapters to help remind me of where the story left off. It didn’t take long for me to be right back into the midst of things. I will admit that at first I thought the pacing was a bit on the slower side and I was struggling just a tiny bit. I believe this was mostly due to my not rereading the prior books again but I did start to worry that this book wouldn’t be as amazing as I hoped.

Thankfully, not too far along things picked up for me and I was completely immersed. The entire plot of these books- where each of the characters has such evil inside especially the main character. I loved watching Adelina degrade into her visions and mind. Her power slowly sucked out her humanity and left a paranoid shell behind. I found her journey to be so mesmerizing and well done. Her relationships to those around her helped to allow the reader to see the difference between what the voiced in Adelina’s head were saying versus what could possibly be the real reality of her world.

Lu didn’t hesitate to really hit the reader where it hurt and put her characters through trials that were really tense and heart breaking. I loved how she never hesitated to take the story just that little bit darker. I felt that this finale was everything I had wanted in the series and the final conclusion was so well done.

themidnightstarig

Final Thoughts:
Of course this review of The Midnight Star has got to be vague since it’s the series final. I never feel that I can give an incredibly detailed look at the book or reading journey because it’ll spoil things. Just know- if you are a fan of Lu and the series you must read this one.

Review of The Rose Society by Marie Lu

TheRoseSocietyThe Rose Society
By: Marie Lu
Release Date: October 13th 2015
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young
Format: Print ARC
Source: wonderful friend

My Rating:
star

Summary:
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 and her sister flee Kenettra 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 that murdered her love, the Crown Prince Enzo Valenciano.

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?

My Thoughts:
I enjoyed the first book, The Young Elites but I think on a whole I enjoyed this novel more. I loved how dark it was and how Lu so eloquently wrote Adelina losing her grip and control. I flippantly say, “I love villains” but reading Adelina’s decline into the darker areas of her power was actually heart wrenching and difficult! I found myself hoping for her to fail more often than not. This was a very unique experience for me since typically I’m rooting for the main characters.

Though overall I loved this book the pacing did feel a tad uneven for me. There were areas (mostly in the beginning) that dragged the smallest bit but this could have been a mood thing for me. The mid- to end were breathtaking and gripping.

I think the biggest highlight of this series has been watching Adelina become the White Wolf. Her powers feed on hate and terror and so Adelina learns to love taking these emotions from others. Her subtle decline and loss of control were equal parts exciting and disturbing. There was what could be considered to some a slight love triangle. I hesitate to call it this though since it was rather complicated.

The novel was written from Adelina’s point of view and also a few chapters focused on another character (Raffaele, Teren and Mauve specifically). I think this approach worked well in regards to the story telling but it did throw me off a bit because of the change of point of view from first to third. This felt a tad awkward for me.

Since Adelina was on a journey to find new Elites this novel introduced a few new characters. I felt that they weren’t overly developed but what we did see was well done and added to the story well. I hope we learn a bit more about each of these new characters in the following book.

Final Thoughts:
I have really enjoyed this series thus far and felt that The Rose Society was a wonderful addition. I loved (though it was painful) reading of Adelina’s growth in her powers and loss of those things that kept her from delving into the darkness. I can’t wait for the next book.

Review of The Young Elites by Marie Lu

The Young Elites (The Young Elites, #1)The Young Elites
By: Marie Lu
Release Date: October 7th 2014
Publisher: Putnam Books for Young Readers
Format: Print ARC
Source: Won from The Midnight Garden

My Rating:
star

Summary:
I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

The Story:
This book was awash in darkness and hurt. Go into this one expecting a story full of action and characters that reside fully in the grey. There are no good or bad characters- everyone was squarely in the middle. I have only read the first book in the Legend series (though I own them all, thank you Stephanie!) and yet I was ecstatic about The Young Elites because of that amazing summary. I was beyond thrilled when I won a copy in a giveaway. This book did not disappoint.

Lu’s writing was incredibly easy to get immersed in and I was eager to learn more about the world she created. A horrible fever swept through the land killing many and marking the survivors with physical abnormalities and varying skills. I thought that the idea of an illness scarring its victims as well as ‘gifting’ them with powers was a wonderful concept. I loved that it was as much a curse as a gift and the details Lu gave into the powers and where they derived from. We get just enough details to give the powers credibility and interest but I can’t help but be excited to see even more about them in the next books.

The book set a moderate pace with areas of action as well as flash backs to the main character’s past. I thought these were perfectly done and gave me insight into her character and the world. I really enjoyed the scenes focusing on Adelina’s training and her honing her skill of illusion. They were written clearly and were very easy to picture how her magic worked. That says a lot because it would have been very easy for her illusion ability to become very confusing in a less skilled author’s hands.

The Characters:
To me, the characters were the strongest element in The Young Elites. I found Lu’s main character, Adelina, to be so damaged though relatable. She had lived through so much at an early age which gave her a darkness but also a strength that really made reading about her a pleasure. I loved that she struggled with her inner darkness. I felt that this gave her the potential to grow and develop. I loved her progression through this first book but I’m most excited to see what happens next.

Enzo was swoon-worthy with a side of tension. I wasn’t a hundred percent sure of his motivations in the beginning. I thought that Lu’s representation of an elite group of teens with abnormalities was right on and intensely compelling. The fact that she made their ‘gifts’ derive from a life threatening illness was timely as well as unique. Because each character was affected differently it created an intriguing secondary cast.

Final Thoughts:
I think Marie Lu has created a surprisingly unique storyline and characters based on a somewhat typical trope (teens with remarkable powers) I felt that this novel was incredibly strong and was delightfully dark. The way Lu ended this novel gives me utmost confidence that this series will be amazing.

Stacking the Shelves

This last week started off to be so incredibly sad with the passing of Robin Williams. I have always been a fan of his movies and his death hit me really hard. I was shocked and saddened to my core. Then all the other stuff in the news…just a pretty depressing week.

My personal life is going great though and summer is starting to wrap up. I absolutely love fall and I there is evidence of it coming sooner than later. I even saw some fall floral at my local Target. My kiddo starts school in a week! I can’t believe it. I’m nervous but I know he’s going to really love it so I’m excited more than anything.

I purchased the domain to a new site I’m going to be doing- My Friends Are Minifigures. I’m sure you can guess, it’ll be a Lego blog. I’ve done absolutely nothing besides get the domain but eventually I plan to.

This last week I got some great books…like flail and pass out type great books. I can’t wait to get started reading them. I’ll be buddy reading The Young Elites with Jon from Scott Reads It and we’ll start tomorrow. So excited!!

Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga’s Reviews is a weekly meme where you show what books you’ve purchased, gotten from the library, received from giveaway, as gifts or for review.

Won- from The Midnight Garden. Thank you so much!!

MidnightGardenWinTYESigned

Look at that pile of books and The Young Elites is signed. I can’t believe I won the Midnight Garden’s ALA giveaway–I still can’t believe it even with the books on my shelf.

For Review (from HarperTeen):

 ExquisiteCaptive

For Review (from Hachette):

VoM

Yay books! I had requested Exquisite Captive but not Vampires of Manhattan. I’d honestly not even heard of it or read The Blue Bloods series. I have started it (about 70 pages in) and it’s okay so far. I feel like I’m missing a lot having not read the Blue Bloods since it seems to be taking place in a world after that series.

How was your last week?