BOOK REVIEW: The Young Elites (The Young Elites #1)
by Marie Lu
Publication date: 7 October 2015
Goodreads: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.
The Young Elites is the first Marie Lu book I’ve ever read and I can’t believed I’ve never read any of her books until now! Why didn’t anyone tell me how amazing she is?! And she’s a POC author too, so that’s just even more points.
I was hooked from the start. It’s a creative storyline that, even though there are similarities between itself and other fantasy books, it’s in its own league. The book has a dark tone. A really dark tone. Adelina’s had a rough life and this has led to her being full of hate. She wants to hurt people. She was physically and emotionally abused by her father and now she’s full of insecurities. Despite this she’s still a strong character and a total badass. But she also has a light side and we also see a different side of her. All she really wants is to be accepted and loved. She’s also always thinking of her sister, even if it means putting herself in danger. Her character development is slightly different to what you’d usually describe as development but it’s still a change in character none the less. I’m interested to see where Lu goes with it in The Rose Society.
I also really liked the other characters. They were all well written and handled. The Dagger Society are wary of Adelina at first and unwilling to trust her. She slowly gains their trust but they aren’t ready to believe in her 100%, and one wrong move means that they’ll have to get rid of her. Raffaele was my favourite. He was just so charming and likeable. Even though he’s described as being beautiful, there’s nothing romantic between him and Adelina. It is so rare to have purely platonic relationships between males and females, especially in YA. Even though there’s romance in the book, it is in no way a central focus. It’s kind of just a spectator on the sideline who comes in every so often but isn’t too important to the story.
The book is told from several points of view. Adelina’s is the main one, seeing as she is the main character and it’s written in first person. The other character POVs are all told from third person. I really liked the switching between first and third because it kept the focus on Adelina but it also lets you explore the other characters’ perspectives.
The world building was done very well. Descriptions weren’t long and boring and there was no info dump when Lu was setting up a scene. The chapters varied a lot in length and some of them were really long which is kind of a struggle if you’re like me and sometimes you want to squeeze in a quick chapter before having to do something or go somewhere.
I really liked The Young Elites, it was a nice introduction to her work and I can’t wait to read The Rose Society as well as pick up the Legend trilogy.