The Rose Society, by Marie Lu

This is the sequel to the dark, brutal young adult fantasy novel, The Young Elites, and it is even darker and more brutal. Adelina, cast out and betrayed by everyone she's ever cared about, seeks to gain power and protect other malfettos by gathering together her own group of Elites. These are a dangerous group of young people, themselves rejected by the Young Elites or disdaining to ever join up in a common cause. And Adelina's hallucinations are getting out of control, to the point where her mind is creating them without her even knowing it. Her need for vengeance is fierce and threatens all around her, and when she finally gets what she wants, the victory is hollow. What will Adelina do now?

I'm not sure I'll be reading the next (and presumably, last) installment of this series. It really is terrifically dark, to the point where I wonder if it's all that appropriate for its teenage audience. The writing and story are easy enough to follow, but Adelina's darkness only seems to grow until she pushes everyone she loves away from her. Perhaps the lesson will be learned in the third book, but even so, I question Lu's decision to delve so deeply into a wounded soul. Bullied teenagers might find Adelina's actions inspiring, rather than horrifying.


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