A thrilling and fast-paced fantasy story.
Title: The Young Elites (The Young Elites #1) Author: Marie Lu Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers Publish Date: Oct 7, 2014 Goodreads: 3.9/5 Barnes and Noble: 4.3/5
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.
Adelina is an exceptional character. She is strong and brave yet she still has her own flaws that make her real and relatable. Her past was tough and being with the Daggers, who isn’t sure of keeping her, is even tougher. Her powers are exceptional, however, I still cannot imagine how illusions can bring someone’s death and the author had failed to explain it.
Enzo is a bit too much for me. He is the heir to the throne until her sister banished him for being a malfetto. Now he is the leader of the Daggers, a group of Elites that acquired powers after recovering from the blood fever a decade ago. He has the ability to control heat and fire. He seems too perfect, the typical prince charming, which I am not fond.
Rafaelle is my favorite. He is handsome and possesses a unique power. Even if his powers were unreliable in battle, he proves useful for the Daggers in seeking out other Young Elites.
Style and Pacing:
This is my first Marie Lu book and I did not like her style at all. In fact, I was skimming through most of the pages waiting for something to happen. (I’m sorry Marie Lu.) Adelina’s voice often sounded whiny and too weak. 100 pages in and she gave us two dream sequences, which I thought was completely unnecessary. (She hates her father. She was traumatized of him. We get it!)
The first chapter is awesome though. We find Adelina in a cellar, then she recollects how she got there and the next chapter catches up with the present where she is set for execution by fire in public.
I put down the book several times after the first two chapters. Everything just seem slow and Adelina was getting even whinier, like she felt the world is out to get her (which in fact, the world was).
The shifting POVs are also disorienting. In Adelina’s POV, we follow her in a first-person style but when we follow the rest of the characters, the author uses third-person limited POV. Probably Marie Lu was trying a cinematic approach to it (IDK). But it did not help at all. The secondary characters’ POVs are too short and indistinct that if they didn’t put the name of the character at the start of every chapter, I wouldn’t know who I am reading about. And that is true especially with Teren and Enzo.
The world is fairly normal for a high fantasy book. It is set in medieval Europe with kings and queens.
The concept of the blood fever doesn’t seem to be all original as plagues were known throughout that era and many books have written much about it already.
At first I thought being a malfetto automatically meant you have powers but I was wrong. Malfettos are simply people who had survived the blood fever, mostly children. They have acquired strange markings like skin marks, hair changes and other aesthetic differences in their body. The Young Elites are a special kind of malfettos who have obtained abilities.
The world carries a lot of potential as in the first book. Marie Lu already discusses the cultures in nearby countries, and the difference of how malfettos are treated in every territory. In the Epilogue, Marie Lu also gives us a glimpse of a Princess from another kingdom that is also a Young Elite and has special relations with the Daggers.
It was definitely wrong to read Vicious by V.E. Schwab right before I read this. The world is very different however the plot and characters had incredibly great similarities.
Adelina – illusions/pain – Victor Vale
Teren – regeneration – Eli
Princess (I forgot her name) – resurrection – Sydney
I’m sorry but I couldn’t help but compare the two books as they revolve around the very same issue of faith and justice – whether their powers were a gift from God or if they were abominations of nature. And this one character seeks out to cleanse the world of abominations for his faith. (dum dum dum.)
I personally liked, Vicious more. The plot in Vicious was woven more intricately and played between varying timelines. Even with changing POVs, it did not get confusing at any point. The shift in timelines also made it more page-turning than in TYE where the plot was so linear and predictable. You could feel each of the character’s thirst for vengeance in Vicious unlike in The Young Elites where everyone was just dilly dallying around trying to do the right thing.
I would have probably enjoyed it better if I read this before I read Vicious. It’s a fun read and the world is greatly constructed. Just a few issues with the characters and the plot.
I’m going to read the second book though and give it more chance!
“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.”
“It is pointless to believe what you see, if you only see what you believe.”
“Everyone has darkness inside them, however hidden.”
“Sorry, always sorry. What in the world can you buy with an apology?”
“They think they can keep me out, but it does not matter how many locks they hang at the entrance. There is always another door.
Hope you guys found my review entertaining and informative.
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