Using Literature to Analyze the Darker Side of People - Reading List

Using Literature to Analyze the Darker Side of People

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Rose Society

Marie Lu

The news is full of the darkness in the world.  The horrible acts people commit against each other every day.  It can be hard to read, or watch, depending how you get your daily news.  As a mom, I often completely avoid the news most of the day, so as to keep my mind on the positive.  Yet, there is no denying the truth that this world is not a perfect place.

The world of literature often helps readers to really dive deep into different aspects of the human condition. So when the world is overflowing with the less admirable characteristics, it can be interesting to allow literature to take it to the full extent.  Allow stories to show us just how destructive it can be, in order to learn from it.

The Rose Society by Marie Lu a Book Review on Reading List

Story Overview 

This sequel to The Young Elites continued down the dark path that Adelina started on.   As she becomes consumed with the need to exact revenge on the Inquisition and the Daggers, her need for Enzo blinds her completely.  Her hope is to gain Enzo's strength and power so that the two of them can unite. Of course, if you've read The Young Elites you will know just how difficult this need for Enzo is - I will try by best not to spoil this for you if you haven't.  

The Inquisition are also moving forward with their plans, now with Teren as their leader.  His new position in the group leads them on a path that is surprising, at least for me... Not to mention Teren must find a way to stop Adelina since they know firsthand where her power and strength come from. 

Personal Likes

I was more prepared for the level of darkness of Adelina with this book, and so I enjoyed this one a little more.  The addition of Magiano was much needed for me. He is complex in a mysterious way throughout the book, which kept me reading.  Maeve was also intriguing, as she holds the key to one of the major hurdles of the story for all groups involved.

So often stories look at everything from the good side, the angle of good, placing a solid bad guy against a solid good guy.  Granted stories are more interesting when these sides have some layers and flaws, but overall the sides are clear.  The interesting part of this series is that almost each side is equally bad, with minor shimmers of good, once in a while...  It's like picking the best of the worst to root for, and still knowing the redeemable characteristics of all are so small it's almost not even there... isn't this an issue for many real life people and scenarios.

The Rose Society by Marie Lu a Book Review on Reading List

Personal Dislikes

As promised, this book has more action than the first.  Since Adelina's power is rooted in her hate and pain, it is not a pretty display of power.  The few times when the different sides clash are full of dark storms and violence - and if you have spent any time reading my reviews for the past year, you'll know my tolerance for violence is limited.  While I completely see how this is the point of the book, the exploration of dark forces, there are times when I really wasn't a fan.

The tension between Violetta and Adelina skyrocketed to the point of breaking in this book, and it broke my heart.  Their past is so full of horrible moments almost all at the hand of their father, that I had hoped they would find a way to pull themselves together, giving Adelina that glimmer that pulls at our heart strings... but at least in this book, that was not the case.

Reading List Rating

Three heart rating on Reading List

I am on the fence on this rating - it's somewhere between a three and a four heart rating.  The story is dark, and for that I feel like it deserved a three, however, Lu's writing is amazing, she spins stories that are visually amazing, so for that I want to give this a four...  

My Suggested Audience

This is marketed as a teen/young adult series.  And as far as the genre goes, dark fantasy, bordering on dystopian, I would agree.  However the exploration of the darker side of a character, an anti-hero who turns into a full-fledged dark-hearted villain, I might have to push the young adult side for the audience.  The power that each of these characters has is often pulled from darker elements, and therefore needs a more mature reader to realize that there is dark and light in the world, and exploring one side doesn't negate the other. If you are a fan of Marie Lu, you could really enjoy this book as her writing is amazing - just be warned that this is not your typical fictional series. 

Wondering Questions to Consider

Since this book series is looking into how dark a heart can become when tortured or abused, the mind can easily move into some of the topics of the world that are darker: How can the worst people in society also be offered salvation?  What would it look like to be in a world where there was no light, no redemption, no hope?    Also, the concepts of the family set up a great foundation for this series.  How do you forgive those closest to you when they do the unthinkable? How do you find healing in a world that can do the worst to its people?

"Fear motivates, more than love or ambition or joy." Agree or disagree? #TheRoseSociety @Reading_List1

How do you deal with the darker side of humanity?  Has the darker side ever worn you down? Do you ignore it completely, hoping to focus more on the light and positive? Are you a Marie Lu fan?  

I'd love to hear from you, please leave me a little note!

Marissa @ Reading List

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