The Midnight Star

My last book of the year is also the last book in Marie Lu's The Young Elites trilogy. Anticipation for The Midnight Star has been high and I've longed for the moment when I had time to finally read this novel. It's a rather different story since the protagonist, Adelina, is the villain and that gives the book a very different spin from many other novels. I guess it's this, combined with Lu's amazing skills at creating new worlds, that made this series so strong and special.

Adelina has risen from nothing, a malfetto with strange markings on her face and an unearthly power in her veins. After having found the Young Elites in the first novel and trained with them to learn how to use her power, Adelina left and created her own group of malfettos. She called them the Rose Society and with them, Adelina took over the land. Now Adelina is finally queen of Kenettra, but she is almost completely alone. Her sister Violetta left her and only Magiano stayed by her side. Since she took charge of Kenettra, Adelina shifted the power from the normal people to the malfettos. She's loved by those like her, but hated by everyone else. Now Adelina is set on ruling the entire world, but something Violetta told her right before she left is gnawing on her. Are all the Young Elites, all the marked people with power, dying because their bodies can't contain their power anymore? And while Adelina is busy taking over the world and secretly looking for her sister, the bond between her and Enzo is growing stronger, darker and more vicious by every minute. She knows she will have to face both him and the remaining Elites eventually. Something out there is changing and for it to stop, Adelina have to work with the people she hates the most.

Lu's story is certainly different. It's not often you get to read from the villain’s perspective - not for three whole books. While there are chapters from other characters points as well, Adelina is the protagonist. It's her story and it's a dark one. Adelina is cruel and cold, sometimes even heartless. While I can understand that to some degree, she did grow up hated by everyone and her father most of all, she should also be the one to know exactly how it feels to be on the wrong side of all that hate and how awful it is. That she inflicts the same kind of pain and problems on everyone else that she had to go through is what makes her the bad guy. She could've realized that the system was wrong and done something about it and then tried to make it a good place for everyone to live. Instead, Adelina wants to punish all the normal people for hating her and the malfettos. She lashes out at them for everything she has had to experience in her life. It makes for an interesting story, but it is a little backwards reading about the bad guy and, not only that, hearing Adelina make excuses for the choices she makes.

Although, most everyone in Lu's story is bad to some extent and it's certainly a series filled to the brim with action, battles and yeah, more action. Every sentence has something to contribute to the overall picture and this makes it easy to keep reading even while you should put the book down. It's fast-paced but spans out over the course of a few years, which I think brings depth to the story. Often, a novel or a trilogy only plays out for a few months, or sometimes even weeks. In the right book that can be good but more often than not, I prefer when the story stretches out. This gives more time for the reader to see what happens to the world, but also to follow the characters as they, hopefully, grow. This is very true for Lu's characters, were Adelina started out as an ambitious but quiet girl, rather unsure of herself. She turns into a cold queen who rules half the world but still have a flicker of life inside of her. Many of the other characters also go through interesting changes and that makes it more fun to read, as well. I won't go in closely on any other character because I don't want to spoil anything but Lu is great at creating believable, flawed people and making me care, or dislike, them.

It's always sad when a series ends and especially one that you really liked. The Young Elites trilogy was fun and rather different from Lu's previous Legend trilogy. I recommend them both because they are interesting and fun but also well written and they all have depth which I think is very important. Lu is already working on a new novel which will be out in 2017 and I can't wait to see what she comes up with next. If you haven't read The Midnight Star yet, or if you haven't read any of Lu's other novels either, then I think you should give them a try. Both series have a lot of action, tough, fierce girls and relatable characters. There's more of a love story in the Legend trilogy, though there's still love in The Young Elites, however, it's mostly focused on Adelina's descent into a villain. Try, compare and get ready for the next. These books have something for everyone and I'm not doubting that the next one will be the same.