November 6, 2014

The Young Elites - Marie Lu

Young Adult
Pages: 368
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Release Date: October 7, 2014
Goodreads / Amazon

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.

Well, well, well.
This seems to be the story of a villain in the making! That fact alone made this book unique and made me forget and forgive its faults. Exquisitely dark and surprising, The Young Elites is the most unusual book I've read this year. Part of it had to do with my expectations. I read and loved Marie Lu's Legend series so maybe I was expecting the somewhat typical recipe for YA high fantasy which weaves world-building with some magical aspects and the girl-meets-boy story.

This was none of that. It focused primarily on the magic and the exploration or Adelina's powers, her memories and her journey. It delves a lot into her feelings and thoughts and all those caged feelings we all keep compressed inside. The terrible things that happen to her before she becomes the hardened version of her we see at the beginning of the book. And that ending.. Oh, the sequel has such potential!

Also, when I said it's none of that, it also includes the world-building. Not much of it was done. I had a picture of the world on my mind based solely on images of previous medieval-type fantasies. I wish this aspect had been richer.

The characters felt a little underdeveloped and that might've been slightly on purpose for the reader to be more suspicious of every character and identify with Adelina, but I wish we would have gotten more insight about Enzo, Teran, Lucent and Raffaelle. I didn't enjoy much the scarce alternating POVs perspectives or the fact that some were third person whereas Adelina's was first. But overall, a book unique in it's darkness and villain-type main character that is more than worth checking out!

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