3.5 Stars Spoiler Free Review
Okay here's the thing. I really liked this book, but I'm surprised that I didn't love it. I know that a lot of people are either 10000% for this book or are like bleh it was boring, but I didn't feel very strongly towards it either way. I thought that it had a pretty good story, but that it was overall lacking that spark that would've put it over the edge.
The story goes a little bit like this: Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever, a type of plague that hit her world and caused a lot of adults to die. Only children survived the fever and those who did were left with strange markings and called Malfettos. Now some of these Malfettos have special powers in addition to their markings, like the ability to control fire and wind or create illusions out of nothing, and Adelina is one of those marked. By discovering her powers, she joined the cast of Malfettos called the Young Elites and gets whisked away by a small group of them called the Dagger Society to learn how to control her powers. Additionally, the Malfettos are hated in the land and the royal family wants to get rid of them. It's a lot of drama to explain.
Here's the thing. I found Adelina a bit annoying. For a main character, she's a pretty decent one, but there was no spark about her that had me interested in wanting to learn all about her and see what made her tick and what motivated her. As for her story, it's interesting I'll admit, but the way that the novel was written made it feel a little bit choppy. The way that she spoke about her past didn't flow well enough for me to really care or understand the timeline of things, which left me confused when she'd start mentioning her past experiences with her father and her sister, Violettta.
Don't get me wrong though. I didn't hate Adelina but I did find her story confusing. What really kept me interested in this book was the characters in the Dagger Society. The second that we meet them in the book, I was curious about them and the one thing that I wish I'd gotten out of this book was that we'd get to know more about them. Sure, little bits are revealed along the way, but the novel spends so much of the time focused on Enzo and Raffaele (my baby!) that the others seem to fall by the wayside. By the time the novel's over, you don't know anything about Dante or Michel, and Lucent and Gemma just barely get hints of explanation behind their characters. I was craving so much more about this group of young elites that took Adelina in and it saddened me to not really learn about them, when they all could've been such well-developed characters.
As for the story itself, I will say that Marie Lu has a way of writing a good story. The actual happenings of the main plot kept me interested, mostly because I wanted to learn more about Teren and why he had such hatred for the Malfettos, but again there were things that could've been improved. A lot of the time was focused on Adelina worrying about Violetta and wondering when she'd be let in on the secrets of the Dagger Society and a good bit of it had to do with her battling her inner demons and past memories too, but if some of that time had been focused on other things to help further the plot, I think this could've been a stellar novel.
It's sad to me that with just a few small twists this could've easily been a 4.5-5 star rating, but overall I think it was a pretty good book. Will I read The Rose Society? I don't know just yet, but we'll see how it goes.