Title: The Midnight Star
Series Details: The Young Elites #3
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Imprint: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 11, 2016
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Blurb from Goodreads:
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 she’s gained.
When a new danger appears, Adelina’s forced to revisit old wounds, putting not only herself at risk, but every Elite. In order to 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.
I’ll be honest. After all the emotions that The Young Elites and The Rose Society made me feel—the heartbreaks, the surprising twists, and heart-pounding action—this conclusion seems a little less intense. And it stalled a bit—the first hundred pages were painfully uneventful. We still have the dark and the gritty atmosphere but somehow this one gives a different feel from the first two books in the series. It’s totally not the conclusion that I imagined would happen but I think Marie Lu did well in this. She tied everything neatly, leaving no loose ends behind, giving the series a proper closure. The Midnight Star may not be as awesome as the first two books but it’s still awesome.
“There was once a time when darkness shrouded the world, and the darkness had a queen.”
Since reading the Legend series I’ve adored Lu’s writing—short and concise without losing its power to immerse a reader in the story. The worlds she built were intriguing and unique. I love how strange and peculiar the Elites’ world came to be in this final installment. Although just like the second book I feel like there could be more to it. The magical system is most entertaining and definitely one of my favorite things about this series. Where there’s trouble, use magic—that’s pretty much how it works in YA fantasy. But not in this book, no. Here, it’s the other way around which makes it more interesting. In Lu’s world, magic is the root of trouble rather than a part of the solution. And the more our characters use their magic the deeper they get themselves into trouble.
Tragedy follows those who cannot accept their true destiny.
Adelina is at the peak of success in this book. She’d grown so powerful conquering one kingdom after another. She’s unstoppable. But with her growing territory comes the growing hate from the people she rule. Because Adelina was a coldhearted ruler. And without Violetta at her side, there’s not much reason for her to fight the darkness that has slowly been eating her. She just gave in to it and became full-on ruthless in this book so it was harder for me to connect with her.
“You are a thousand things, mi Adelinetta, not just one. Do not reduce yourself to that.”
I miss the former Adelina—the one who’s torn between wanting to punish those who made every malfetto bleed and wanting to do good and be fair. Because she can’t have one without giving up the other. I miss that kind of complexity from her character. There were instances where Adelina showed mercy but they were far too few to give me hope that she can still be redeemed. She’s the bad guy, she knows it, and she owns it to the core. But still she remains to be a character that I can’t hate completely because we knew what she’d been through and where she’s drawing all the darkness from.
Someday, when I am nothing but dust and wind, what tale will they tell about me?
What I missed most though are the other characters. It’s a vast world Lu created and one filled with very interesting characters. However, this book centers mostly on Adelina—her growing madness and her paranoia—and everyone else just fade into the background, pulled only where the plot needs them. It felt like the characters that I loved from the previous books, the ones that I’ve been dying to know more about—Sergio, Magiano, Teren— weren’t given enough space and enough time to bare themselves to us. I love Adelina despite what she’d become but I love being with the other characters too. I just wished there were more interactions between them.
Another thing to add to the things I missed was that strong bond of friendship that I adored so much back in The Young Elites. With a theme as dark as this you’ll eventually crave for something positive. I wasn’t exactly expecting that they’d be friends with Adelina—not after all the betrayals. I was just hoping to at least get a glimpse of that tight knit between the Daggers. But I didn’t, since they were treated as if they’re all minor characters. They did work together in this book—Roses, Daggers, and Lead Inquisitor—to stop the strange darkness creeping into the land, threatening to devour their world and kill everyone in it. And damn, did I rejoice?! They’re still not friends though. They still see each other as enemies and they will always remember how one have hurt the other. Still, it’s quiet pleasing seeing them set their grudges aside and seeing them fight like a team even though there’s a lot of palpable hate and distrust between them.
I am death. And through death, I understand life.
If there’s one thing I so look forward to in a Marie Lu book, it’s the ending. This woman knows how to wreck hearts with her tragic endings. This is my least favorite book in the trilogy but that ending was a perfect blend of sad and good that it convinced me to add another star to my initial rating. It was heartbreaking but it’s a piece that fits perfectly with everything. Part of me wanted each character to have a bright ending even though it’s not likely to happen given the tone of this series. Well, we can’t have all the nice things. But I wouldn’t have believed a “happy ever after” end to this anyway. Bittersweet is really the best you could hope for.
The Young Elites were the flash of light in a stormy sky, the fleeting darkness before dawn. Never have they existed before, nor shall they ever exist again.
So for those of you who wants to try a dark, dark, and dark fantasy, this is your book. That’s a lot of darks but how else am I going to describe this series? This conclusion feels pretty average, to be honest—it didn’t drag so much but it didn’t leave a memorable bang either. I think it’s still a fantastic series overall though.