Title: The Young Elites (The Young Elites #1)
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers (Penguin)
Release Date: October 7, 2014
Acquired Via: Publisher
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.
You can read Kayla's review of the book HERE.
I have very mixed feelings about The Young Elites. On one hand I loved the world, but on the other I thought that there was a distinct lack of plot.
In an Italian-based society, fever has destroyed a nation and left behind either death or marked children called malfettos. Some of the marked children have manifested powers, and some of them have banded together and are known as the Young Elites. The other citizens fear and hate the malfettos, and a government group called the Inquisition is tasked with destroying the Young Elites.
At first, I really liked Adelina. She's dark and angry, and I thought she would make a great anti-heroine. Even as bad as her life has been, she refuses to be broken. But, as the story goes on, she doesn't ever really evolve past her anger. It's more like things happen to her and she lashes out in fear and anger, instead of proactively trying to change her situation, either with her power or her intelligence. She's also quite selfish and unaware of anyone else's problems but her own. She seems quite worried about her sister in certain points in the book, yet she also hates and is extremely jealous of her sister. A lot of her actions were based on simply what was easiest for Adelina, and to hell with anyone else, including those she "loved". I hope we see a lot of character development in the sequel. There is a dark badass lurking in Adelina. She just needs to take charge of her power and her future, instead of letting events happen to her.
The reason I am willing to give the second book a shot is that this felt just like a set up to the world. Like the first book in a lot of epic fantasies, where nothing really happens to the characters except that they journey all around the world. Instead of journeying all around the world, Adelina is exploring her powers, and the reader is learning all about the world. There are a few plots which seem to go nowhere, or end in tragedy. And there was a plot device which I think I have come to abhor - blackmailing the lead into betraying a confidence. It also leads to the other plot device I hate - betrayal or miscommunication that could have been avoided with a simple conversation. Does anyone else want to scream at characters to just talk to each other??
When I finished the last chapter before the epilogue, I was just confused. It felt like nothing was accomplished in the book. It didn't feel like the Young Elites had done anything to better their position from the beginning of the book. The epilogue kind of adds a few plot twists, but it wasn't enough to satisfy me. Also, I'm not sure that I like something that the epilogue implies; it feels like just a magical fix to the situation. However, the epilogue also introduces a new character which I think I'm going to love, Mauve.
The world-building really makes The Young Elites stand-out novel, because the dark world with powerful but scarred children is an imaginative one. But, the lack of plot really diminished my enjoyment.
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To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an advance copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.