Title: The Midnight Star
Author: Marie Lu
Series: The Young Elites, #3
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 11th 2016
“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.”
“The woman’s eyes bulge. She lets out a choked scream as she falls to the ground and claws at the dirt. Behind her, the entire crowd flinches in unison as eyes and heads turn away from the sight. The terror flowing from her feeds directly into me, and the voices in my head explode into shouts, filling my ears with their delight.”
The Midnight Star, the final book in Marie Lu’s The Young Elites series, brings Adelina’s story to a close as she’s finally faced with the choice between darkness and light. Over the course of two books, we’ve seen Adelina transition from a very frightened girl to a ruthless queen. Her journey has largely been defined by the cruel treatment done to her and those like her. As a malfetto, Adelina has been defined as an abomination, her unnatural abilities a dangerous effect caused by a terrible plague. Rejected by her father and society, Adelina has learned how far those in power will go to rid the world of those like her. When Adelina loses someone close to her and is betrayed by her friends, she gives in to her grief and the seething hatred that gnaws at her day after day. Now as queen, Adelina is determined to conquer the known world by any means necessary.
Adelina’s transformation into this unmovable and vicious ruler is almost understandable. As much fun as it is reading about villains, having a backstory always helps in creating a dynamic character instead of a stagnant one. Lu was able to give us this backstory, to show the steps that led Adelina down this dark path, but she was also able to make us continue to care for a character who at times can only be described as blood-thirsty. Many of Adelina’s actions are motivated by her desire to right a wrong done to those like her. To reverse a system that treated malfettos as abnormalities. But her methods are cruel, she leaves little room for mercy and sees every unmarked person as an enemy meant to be punished.
While I do think that Adelina makes a really interesting character study, I’ve always wanted more from the other characters in this series. Most of the story is told from Adelina’s perspective with a few chapters here and there featuring Raffaele. His perspective is really important as his character acts as an antithesis to Adelina, though he’s endured unspeakable abuse, he does not give in to hatred. But it is characters like Violetta, Adelina’s sister, and Magiano, the thief who stays by her side, who I wanted to hear more from. Both are close to Adelina and have different reactions to her growing cruelty and especially with Magiano, I wanted to get more of a backstory from him because it would help to understand why he stays so loyal to Adelina despite her terrible actions.
It was really interesting to see Adelina interact with her former friends whom she now considers enemies, for them to find a common ground despite their differences, and for Adelina to finally face the darkness inside her head on, but ultimately, I felt underwhelmed by this conclusion and this may be because of the higher expectations I placed on it after the second book The Rose Society impressed me so much.