Title: The Young Elites (The Young Elites #1)
Author: Marie Lu
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Synopsis: I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.
Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.
Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.
Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.
Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.
It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.
“Be true to yourself. But that’s something everyone says and no one means. No one wants you to be yourself. They want you to be the version of yourself that they like.”
This story is very original compared to my typical YA Fantasy read. It is very original compared to what I initially expected, and believed this book to be, until right at the end, when I knew, no matter how hard I wanted it to be, it wasn’t going to happen. I still loved this book.
This isn’t a hero’s story, fellow readers and bloggers, this is a villain’s story.
This book, no doubt, if it isn’t obvious already, surprised me. I had plunged into this book without reading any reviews on it, and if I had I had forgotten them but the idea of teenagers/children possessing powers unlike any other, and that whole scenario, bound together by the fact that Marie Lu wrote it, enticed me to borrow it from the library and give it a shot.
Now there is a reason why I love Anne of Green Gables. It’s a sweet, happy, funny, loveable story. Lovable protagonist? Check. Beautiful setting? Check. Memorable, hilarious characters? Check. Gorgeous character development? Check. The Young Elites is the complete opposite of that, no matter how hard you try to go around it.
Let’s talk about Adelina first. I’m going to be frank, I did not like Adelina too much throughout this book, because like I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, if not in this post then some other, that I’m a very typical reader/person. I love hero’s, hate bad guys. So Adelina didn’t really click with me, at least not until half way through the book.
Instinctively, I disliked the whole dark aspect about her, and how she would be a little cruel to her sister, despite her love for her, despite the fact that she kind of has every right to be, considering her circumstances? If you’ve read the book, you know what I’m saying (I hope?). The flashbacks to her childhood always made me a bit uncomfortable, and the whole aspect of her escape in the first place chilled me because… who wouldn’t be chilled about that?
Then, as the story unfolded, and we begin to learn more and more about Adelina, and with that, I liked her more, understand her more, empathise with her feelings more. I cannot wait to get through the second book and really begin to learn even more about her. I’m actually already around forty pages through, and really loving it.
Moving on to Enzo. I honestly struggled with myself as we learn more about him, because as with Adelina, I was unsure about whether he was actually a good person or not, whether I actually like him or not. Because like I’ve said before, I’m a very typical reader, and it’s not usual for me to like bad guys, though I have before, in the past. He no doubt has good intentions, and I understand the seriousness of his situation, but killing people who make a single mistake, for the safety of others is… harsh, efficient, harsh… efficient (is it obvious I’m torn?).
That said, I rather liked Enzo. Keyword: rather. I still think he’s pretty cruel, and am unsure about this whole good-bad-thing, but I still liked him. I mean, come on, who couldn’t? He’s such an awesome character, and like I mentioned before, with good intentions, and he has every right to want to move forward with them.
I really liked Raffael. So kind, intelligent, wise. Honestly and genuinely a good person, and he honestly and genuinely, spoiler>tries< helps Adelina. Either way, he’s a great character. At some points of the book I thought he was the only great character.
The plot… wow, this story is very intriguing, gripping. Could not put it down, I read from 5.30-8.30am and ultimately finished off the final two hundred pages. The ending – oh, the ending! It left me so dissatisfied, that I even felt put off from reading the second book, which was patiently waiting on my dressing table. Eventually (it didn’t take long), two days later I picked it up, started it, and caught up in it all once again.
I also loved the whole setting of this whole world… caught up with darkness, death and the ever-growing golden spiral of hope working its way through the maze of corruption and working into people’s hearts, and driving through the force of justice, in which I hope it will continue to drive forth in the second book, despite a particular lacking.
This is the first book I have read from Marie Lu, and it most certainly left me reeling. Amongst the pile of books in my room is Legend, and I think once I’ve finished with The Rose Society and am waiting for the last book in the library, I may give it a go.
The Young Elites is an amazing read, and I highly recommend to the ages 13-15+ (it honestly depends on what you’re okay with personally, I would recommend reading the Common Sense Media review, and the Goodreads reviews (as well as the Q&A section because people usually ask things concerning romance there) who are interested in a original and definitely different YA Fantasy book to the typical!
So, have you read this book, and what did you think about the ending? Did you agree with anything I mentioned in the review? And, if you haven’t read the book, now that you’ve read my review, do you feel inclined to want to pick it up now and why?