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.
Disclaimer: This review may contain some things you view as spoilers for both the book in question and its predecessors. You have been warned.
Why we chose it: The Young Elites was good and The Rose Society was even better.
Review: Having only heard about how Marie Lu’s other trilogy ended we were worried about how The Midnight Star would go because Adelina and every other devastatingly scarred and wonderfully powered person in The Young Elite’s trilogy have become something to us. We’ve become invested in them and what we found in this book was interesting.
The switching of viewpoints and the present tense first person used for everyone except Adelina felt far more jolting that ever before and often we had to catch ourselves from slipping into uncertainty. Like mi Adelinetta and her out of control illusions. Sometimes one just can’t get a grip on reality and there were times we just didn’t feel connected and those times were only ever when we read from someone who wasn’t Adelina. Who wan’t the White Wolf and a beautifully cruel Queen because that’s who greets you in The Midnight Star. A Queen with only conquest and vengeance on her mind.
Set roughly a year after the events of The Rose Society Adelina is a Queen of many and most live under her rule reluctantly. Assassination attempts are frequent and the condition of her people is less that satisfactory, but the most interesting thing about a book where the main character is considered to be a villain is that every villain believes that the things they’re doing are good. In Adelina’s case, she does what’s good for the cursed and sometimes gifted children of the gods.
These things have costs.
There was a scene in the book that has really stuck with us. A scene where an unmarked boy is being beaten by a group of marked children and everyone looks on, but no one does anything to stop it. The view of the world is that exacting the awful treatment that so many unfortunate people previously received on someone who has never received such cruelty before is right. Is justice. We had a problem with that, but it helped to emphasise the fact that though our main character is considered to be the hero by many, she is not the good guy no matter how much anyone might root for her.
Something we’ve always enjoyed about this trilogy is the extracts from history books or the accounts from the people of Marie Lu’s world at the beginning of each chapter. It’s safe to say that The Midnight Star did not disappoint on this front and indeed there are many fronts on which this book succeeded so let’s talk about a few of them.
The whole saving/restoring the world plot was not a typical one. There were no ridiculous speeches to members of a secret rebellion in hopes of inspiring them to take down a tyrant and make the world safe again. Instead there was a tyrant (how ironic), a Queen, a courtesan, a soldier, a psychopath, a grounding point, a being of the skies and so many other people seeking to avoid death, wanting to live just a little happier for longer and needing balance for any hope of a future. The fact that achieving such things didn’t involve gaining power was so very interesting.
There were a lot of shocking twists and turns in this book with regards to characters, overall plot and conclusion and we’ve got to say we didn’t anticipate them all. Some of them, definitely, but the biggest one – the ending. What happened there was not what we thought was going to happen and we’re both happy and unhappy with it.
The turning of Adelina’s story and the stories of the Roses and Daggers into a legend of sorts was very cool and made us very happy. It really tied the whole series together and just thinking about it makes our heart grow with joy. It was perfect and magical and deceptive because depending on how one tells the tale of the silver haired Queen she is either a villain or a saviour.
The actually ending…you’ll just have to read the book for yourself to decide.
To conclude The Midnight Star wasn’t all we’d hoped for, but in delivered in some of the most important ways and for that we’ll love the book and its predecessors forever. It had magic and villainy and not in the way one usually gets in YA. This book has left so much to explore because the world inside it is vast and full of more treasure than our dear Magiano could ever hope to keep. We’ve always rooted for the villains, but never as much as we’ve cheered for Adelina. She is the White Wolf and us…we’re a rabbit that runs from her with equals parts fear and exhilaration.
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