The Young Elites by Marie Lu
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers (7th Oct 2014)
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.
Let’s put this out there. I am fairly new to the whole YA genre so I am making my way through all the YA titles that I can get my hands on. During the Big Bad Wolf Sale last year, I managed to get a fantastic haul of YA books and among them were Marie Lu’s best-selling Legend series and the first book of her new fantasy series, The Young Elites.Everyone (read: my bookish friends from
Everyone (read: my bookish friends from MYBibliomaniacs) has been telling me to read Marie Lu’s Legend and the thing is, I am still not that convinced that dystopian is my thing. But I’ve been proved wrong a few times so let’s just hope I enjoy the Legend series when I get around to reading it. Small complaint: am I the only one who think that the cover is a bit tacky? Come on, Penguin. The font looks quite atrocious. Thank the stars, the cover of The Rose Society has some improvements.
The Young Elites is Marie Lu’s first venture into writing fantasy and since I have a really positive and amicable relationship with the genre, why not? I was looking for something with magic and superpowers to sink my teeth in and lo and behold, I chose The Young Elites!
The book follows the story of Adeline Amouteru, a survivor of the Blood Fever that plague the people of her world. Most of the adults perished, including her mother, but children like her were left a painful reminder of the plague. They bear marks and scars on their skin and rumour has it, these children possess remarkable, unworldly powers. They are called malfettos and they are often the outcasts of the society and victims to the Inquisitors.
There were some parts of The Young Elites that made me really enjoy the book and made me want to rush out to the nearest bookstore to get the sequel, The Rose Society, once I finished it, but there were some parts of the book that stopped me. The book started off really strong and I could see that it’s a build up to a very solid plot. The world building and introduction to the universe was spectacularly done and how can you not root for a flawed heroine? I enjoyed Marie Lu’s writing thoroughly as it blended well with the genre as well as the world she introduced her readers to.
Here’s what I liked about the book. The powers and abilities. One of the reasons why Victoria Aveyard’s debut novel, Red Queen captured my attention was the powers and the same thing attracted me to read The Young Elites. I was in geek boy heaven when I read about the characters’ special powers and abilities and they were really cool. Seriously, Adelina’s powers are kind of awesome and the way Marie Lu made their abilities linked to their emotions and feelings was extremely clever. The writing. I think I have mentioned this earlier but let’s talk about Marie Lu’s writing because the woman deserves a cookie. I can’t begin to fully explain why but her writing truly worked for me in The Young Elite as it was brilliant and reading The Young Elites was a breeze.
Uh-oh. Here is the part that I dread most. Why I didn’t like the book as much as I wanted to. The thing about fantasy books is that there are always books in the genre that have been mind-blowingly awesome that it becomes the benchmark for other books. I know it is wrong for me to do this, but I couldn’t help but compare Marie Lu’s book to my favourites in the genre. I really liked the first half of the book because it promised an exciting, exhilarating book but the book fell a bit flat for me in the middle and there wasn’t much of a plot going on. I don’t wish to spoil it for you if you haven’t read the book yet. I felt that the pacing was a bit “off” because there will be some parts where the book is action-packed and I’ll be flipping pages like they were searing hot because I had to know what happened next but then the story will hit a speed bump and slump for a bit before it picks up again. Don’t get me started on the concluding chapters. SUCH A WASTE. The book had so much potential to end with a bang but then it was rushed and it ended before it started. Another thing that I felt that was quite unnecessary was Adelina’s connection to her energy, which is a clever way of describing how she reaches into herself and use emotions and feelings to fuel her abilities but there were several occasions in the book that made it very confusing.
Call me a romantic but I like a bit of romance and it’s quite expected since it’s a fantasy novel. Heck, every book must have a tinge of romance in it, but the romance in The Young Elites was very mediocre and I was gagging for me. The characters in the book were such a thrill to read, especially when the Young Elites make an appearance. I wish there was more on the other characters but since it’s the first book of the series/trilogy, I think there’s room for Marie Lu to weave a wider and more complex story.
The Young Elites was a quick, enjoyable read and I am glad that I picked it up. I liked it enough to read Marie Lu’s Legend trilogy but I am still contemplating on whether I want to continue with the series and pick up the sequel, The Rose Society. If you’re looking for a book to lose yourself and enter a world where magic is forbidden, The Young Elites should be up your street, but it contains some graphic violent scenes and the heroine, Adelina can be a bit “dark” and twisted.