A heroine's tragic tumble dominates the second volume of this trilogy.
After Adelina's expulsion by the Daggers for the dreadful events at the conclusion of The Young Elites (2014), she and her sister flee abroad seeking allies for their vendetta. The sisters are malfettos, survivors of the blood fever, marked with physical changes that leave them hated and feared in their native Kenettra. Kenettra's now ruled by the sister of Adelina's beloved Enzo, crown prince of Kenettra, who was killed by Adelina's own mistakes. The new queen allows her Inquisitor lover to take out his anti-malfetto hatred by enslaving the country's non-Elite malfettos: mere scarred victims without the phenomenal cosmic powers marking Young Elites. Adelina claims her goal is rescue of the malfettos, but she is truly motivated by less pure urges: vengeance on the Daggers, who cast her out; destruction of the Inquisitor, for all the harm he's done to Adelina and Enzo; and sheer ambition, as she’s egged on by the whispering voices in her head that fuel her illusion-shaping powers. Adelina's new allies try to soften her more spine-chilling urges, but they're not models of temperance and morality themselves. The direction of this trilogy's conclusion is left refreshingly difficult to predict.
Original and sobering, Adelina is an antihero of nigh-unremitting darkness: an unusual young woman in the mold of such archetypes as Lucifer, Macbeth, and Darth Vader—and even Kissin' Kate Barlow from Holes. (Fantasy. 13 & up)