After reading Legend, when I heard Marie Lu was coming out with a new series I just knew I had to read it. This woman is a fanActual rating: 3.5 stars
After reading Legend, when I heard Marie Lu was coming out with a new series I just knew I had to read it. This woman is a fantastic author with great imagination and a knack for character development. This one was much more fantasy that I usually read, though, so it was less my taste, but it was still an entertaining ride that I think will captivate a lot of readers of the genre.
We begin this journey with a look into the heartbreaking story of Adelina's upbringing. A girl who was once affected by the blood fever that swept the nation and made her a malfetto. A girl with a marking; useless, worthless - and feared, for many are thought to have unnatural abilities. This immediately made me sympathetic towards our main character. This kind of psychological abuse has also made her hard. She's definitely harbouring a lot of anger and hate, which we see surface a time or two in the story. I also loved how… unpredictable this made her. You knew she was going to explode and I personally could not wait to see it. Being a big fan of stories about alarming dystopian-like scenarios and the badasses who survive them, this story was off to a great start. It's not your usual dystopian, however. This world is more high-fantasy, with even a map at the beginning to help situate yourself in her surroundings. So even though I loved the premise and the characters, this was the first hint that this story was maybe not quite my usual read.
The Young Elites is a group of malfettos who all have a unique ability. Some can manipulate the wind, some can create fire, and as for Adelina, she can create visions and make you fear what's not really there. She joins this group of people in their fight against the King and his evil laws. They want to stop living in fear, to have to hide who they are, by gaining control of this political injustice. While the beginning of the book is full of action and thrill, most of the story focuses on this political intrigue. It's a complex system with a lot of different players and I would lie if I say I was able to grasp it all in its entirety. I felt confused on a few of the details in this area. I also grew frustrated with Adelina and her justifications for not telling the Young Elites about being blackmailed. It was such an easy way out for her, and while I understand she was afraid of them, it was much better than the alternative. It was a big unnecessary conflict that took up a lot of time. Consequently, I felt the pacing was a bit stagnant at times, but I'm also not the biggest fan of political drama. On the other hand, I loved how the true enemy was not black and white. I was constantly made to question which side was really the "good" side, and if there was even a good side at all.
Ultimately, I have to say that this a very well crafted story with some shocking happenings and complex characterization. The different abilities that we've seen so far are exciting and fascinating. There's a romance that develops, too, as expected, but it's kept to a somewhat minor subplot. The ending is bittersweet, and full of exciting possibilities. I loved the quick intro to a new character who's bound to be an interesting addition to the story. Lu is also not afraid of making big moves in her books which I admire her for. So all in all, this is a promising start to a series, and bound to be a great ride for those who enjoy the mix of fantasy and political intrigue!
-- An advance copy was provided by the publisher for review.
This is some terribly gritty stuff! This story revolves around a rape, and soon enough, you can add in a girl's disappearance. So yes, this book is haThis is some terribly gritty stuff! This story revolves around a rape, and soon enough, you can add in a girl's disappearance. So yes, this book is harsh, and Summers tackles it head-on with her immensely poignant writing style. She has a way of dissecting her characters until you can't help but feel just as lost, just as completely broken as they are. I was honestly emotionally and psychologically confused for much of this novel. This book also touches on one of today's biggest challenges with gender violence - society's disbelief and victim blaming. Especially when the accused is the son of a prominent town figure. Stories like this are, sadly, the reality for many girls in our own world.
With that said, this is not a story to tread lightly. This is not the book you pick up when you want a light read, or even just a diversion. This book will make you feel uncomfortable. It will put you into the skin of a girl who feels dirty, filthy… dead. It's not the kind of novel where you will connect with the character in the way one might expect. How can you connect with someone who's so broken, she doesn't even feel worthy of living? Instead, you become one with her. You become one, and you hope against all hope that she gets through this seemingly impossible hurdle - if it can even be called that. In other words, she's a character who forced me to stay at arm's length emotionally, if only to protect my sanity, while still drawing me entirely into her psyche. This girl does not only bear the weight of an assault, she also has to deal with being the school pariah. The person who "cried rape" while her peers bully and mock her for "wanting attention". What's worse is you can glimpse at what a wonderful person Romy truly is… or was. You can see that she is kind, caring, and only wants a freaking break! She harbors so much fear and mistrust, that she can't even see when someone good finally comes around.
Leon is the light at the end of this tunnel, and I was glad that even though she doesn't see it, he brings at least a little bit of warmth to her life - to this book. I was so happy to see him not give up so easily, realizing that this isn't the real her, something is eating her up inside. Furthermore, there's her mom and step-dad who are both there for her, present at just the right times. Similarly, her job at the diner and this work dynamic is a welcome change from the isolation. It sort of becomes a safe haven for her and I loved that. When we're not focusing on Romy's internal struggles, the plot follows the disappearance of the only girl who gave Romy the benefit of the doubt. It's not a plot that ended up surprising me - even though I didn't guess every detail of what transpired, it's easy to predict the bigger picture. However, this story is more about what happened to Romy, than what's happening presently. It's about her finding the strength to at least try. As expected - having read Summers' books before - the ending is somewhat open ended, though full of hope. It's realistic, but I can't say I didn't wish for more. Like a short "one year later" prologue. But that's the thing with her books, you need to know her characters to be okay, so these somewhat open endings, while appreciatively realistic, can feel very abrupt.
All the Rage is raw to the bone. It's painful, bitter, heartbreaking, and incredibly important. Summers has been an auto-buy for me from the very first page of hers I ever turned. She's a powerful storyteller, and she has done it again!
-- An advance copy was provided by the publisher for review.