Book Review: ‘The Midnight Star’ (2016)

The short: 4/5 ✦. The well-crafted, ultimately satisfying conclusion to the Young Elites series.

The long:

When last we left our Elite . . . well, they’re not heroes, are they? Not really.

At least, not till the end.

I remember finishing The Rose Society feeling less than enamored. There was a lot of waffling about for Adelina as she tried to figure out who she was vs. who she wanted to be. Ultimately, she did give in to her inner darkness and became a vicious warrior Queen.

Awesome, right? FINALLY.

And The Midnight Star picks up where we left off. She’s traveling around the country, taking over this kingdom and that one, all in the name of giving status to the marked and punishing the unmarked for their violent prejudice. And she’s also slowly going mad from the dark voices in her head. Y’know, your typical teenager experience.

Besides loyal Magiano, Adelina has lost everyone important to her, particularly her sister, Violetta. She rules her newly gotten kingdom with fists of fear and blood. And when the whispers worsen, she has no one to blame but herself. It’d be easy to hate Adelina, despite her being the main character. And it wouldn’t even be because she likes to torture and kill those who cross her. It’s her constant indecision and inability to be able to feel confident about her choices that makes her less appealing. This was fine and understandable in the first book, less so in the second, and here in the third, almost too much to bear — in the beginning. Luckily, there is more to this story than simply Adelina coming to terms with her identity. Something is wrong with the Young Elites, all of them. Adelina’s whispers are more than symptoms of a deteriorating psyche. Raffaele’s theory about this was touched on in the previous book and now comes to the fore.

And Adelina must swallow her hurt and pride; she must help the Daggers. She must help those who wounded her. She must help save the world.

Everything all comes together in this conclusion — the Elites, their powers, their relation to gem stones, past and present relationships, etc. — and Lu does it so well. Sometimes finale books get bogged down by all the narratives and loose lines that have to be tied up, but The Midnight Star never feels slow or stuffed — even at a paltry 300 pages!

No spoilers, but I must say this: it is rare that an author can finish off a series with a satisfying ending. An ending that makes you say, “Well, of course.” It may hurt, it may make you cry, or it may cause rejoicing and it may make you laugh, but the point is that it works and it satisfies, and you close the book sad to leave the characters but ultimately content with their story. I’m not an overly emotional person while reading, but even I felt the eyes well up at the final chapter.

The ride was a little rough, just a bit, but overall, I would call the Young Elites series a success. Kudos to Marie Lu!

Header image: The Midnight Star by Marie Lu, published October 11th 2016 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers.

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