Through my endless stream of tears shall I attempt to write a decent review. I have only recently heard of the Young Elites series and it was only last week that I bought the trilogy. I read them within three days – I have been obsessed. Although I was only in this world for a short amount of time, I will sincerely miss the characters, especially Adelina. I instantly fell in love with this world, the characters and the plots of all three books. It is unlike any YA series I’ve read before as it’s narrated primarily by the antihero. It’s marketed as a dark fantasy and it is exactly that and Adelina as a main character completely blew me away. I went into the first novel thinking she was just another YA character who finds out she’s special and joins this group of people and they all become best friends and save the world. Nope. I was far from right.
The Midnight Star takes place around a year after the previous book and Adelina has been a ruthless and cruel Queen, believing she must rule with fear and pain. Both Magiano and Sergio are by her side but her sister, Violetta has fled to join the daggers and beg them to help Adelina. Adelina and her Inquisitors have conquered countless cities, executed countless traitors and banned the term malfettos but countless attempts are made at Adelina’s life. In this part of the book, you feel as though you should hate Adelina but despite everything, she still manages to inspire empathy in the reader. Her power is rapidly making her lose control of her thoughts and illusions and she is constantly tormented by voices in her head. However, her goal remains the same, to conquer and put fear in her enemies’ hearts, including the Daggers – that is until Rafaelle contacts her. It seems the old friends must put aside their differences and help close the portal between their world and the Underworld before it destroys everything and the only way to do that is to sacrifice their powers.
My favourite thing in novels is when a bunch of the characters have to come together against a threat (Six of Crows etc.) I’ve always loved this over solo missions with the main character. Adelina joining with the Daggers, alongside her crew and Queen Maeve and even Teren. I was so here for it. Teren went from a character I despised to a character who had a whole new side – just a boy who was forced to think of himself as an abomination driven mad by the idea he had to destroy others like himself. I’m not excusing his previous acts but this book gives him a whole new side, a step towards a redemption arc. We saw more into the budding relationships between Adelina and Magiano, Sergio and Violetta and Maeve and Lucent. If I wasn’t so scared of what was going to happen in this book, the lovey-dovey stuff would have melted me.
In the space of this novel, Adelina goes through so much character development, she just tore my heart into pieces. If we take away the murderous tendencies, I see a lot of myself in Adelina. Half of the time you want to slap her and the other half you want to wrap her in blankets and reassure her. She spends the whole novel having intrusive thoughts, thinking everyone is against her and wants her dead and because of this, she tries keeping everyone at arm’s length. However, the White Wolf’s heart is ultimately good and just shrouded in darkness – she wants to be loved and accepted. She even becomes jealous when Queen Maeve’s men salute her and won’t leave without her. I feel proud of Adelina at the end of this series and happy that I got to meet her.
That brings me to the ending – I didn’t like it. I must admit, at first I was okay with it and then a day passed and I became angry. Angry that one of my favourite fictional characters ended up the way they did, that everything they went through came to nothing. Not just this character in particular, but I wanted to hear more about the other characters more than just how their appearances changed. I know that death in literature is the same as death in life – it’s unfair, it doesn’t have to have a meaning but I felt as though this was just rushed and it could have ended better if the book had been longer. It’s rare that a YA series finishes the way I want it to and this is no exception but I still respect the author’s decision and this was still a truly amazing trilogy that blows so many YA work out of the water. It is dark, gripping and exciting and I’d recommend it to anyone.