Being cast out by the Daggers after the disaster in the arena, Adelina is recruiting her own Elites to take revenge on all who betrayed her. With her sister by her side, Adelina searches for other Elites and convince them of her cause so they will join her in fighting against the queen, the Inquisition and her old allies. Know widely known as the White Wolf, she founds the Rose Society and within a short amount of time, they become more than just a rumour.
Trying to make her plans come true, Adelina is growing stronger and stronger and with that, her thoughts become darker and darker. Not trusting her new friends completely, she slowly loses control over her power which is purely fed by hate and fear. Getting closer to her goals, the fight with the Inquisition and all other enemies, the greatest danger might be her own mind. Can she find goodness in herself and not let the power of her dark side take over completely?
I definitely like this book better than the first one even though it got only really good in the end for me. Although I sometime was not necessarily gripped and glued to the pages, I think it was still easier to read through than the Young Elites.
A clear improvement in this sequel was the character development. I think that all the main characters got more and more layers to their personality, especially Adelina. The path she is going down is so well written and I enjoyed it so much that the main protagonist is not a heroin but she in some way is truly evil. I love how Marie Lu is writing her continuous fall and how the reader is experiencing every step of the way into the darkness in Adelina’s own imagination and mind. That she ends this way is just so realistic after everything that happened and because she is gradually become more and more ruthless and determined of her cause. It is also great to see that every other character brings out a different side in her which makes her such a well-rounded character and this is not something that is done in other books to nearly this extent.
Apart from that, I still find Teren to be my favourite character although the reader does not really get to hear his side and he actually is a somewhat horrible person. But Adelina is on the way to be one as well, so… It’s just something that remains from the first book because I was way more interested in Teren’s story then the others.
Another thing that definitely improved for me was the pace of the book. When I sometimes did not know what the purpose of the story in The Young Elites was, I feel that there is a clear path in this book. Although at times the plot was progressing rather slowly and I was desperate to get to the real action but in the end, there was a lot of action that made up for those pages. I also really liked the idea of the story as a whole and I felt more attachment to the characters and the world.
I still think that the world building is not what stands out in the book and I am again sometimes left without an idea how the surroundings look like but as the character were developed so nicely, I did not pay attention to this fact quite as much as before.
I think in the end, this absolutely is an improvement over the first book for me as it further improves on the good aspects and gets other issues right or at least makes them convincing. And, I really don’t have a good idea of how this series is going to resolve even though I have some clue of at least one thing that will probably be further developed. I think this is a rare circumstance as most of the time, there is ultimately only one way how a series or book will wrap up and it this pretty clear at one point in the story.
I am glad that after my initial disappointment for The Young Elites, this book could convince me otherwise.