Hardcover: 368 Pages
Release Date: October 7, 2014
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Narration: First Person: Adelina
Third Person: Raffaele, Teren
Genre: High Fantasy
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The Young Elites Trilogy
Book One: The Young Elites
Book Two: Untitled (2015)
Book Three: Untitled (2016)
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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.
My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations.
I finished this book mere minutes ago, and I am flabbergasted, cowed, stunned, and any other synonym that comes to mind. My feelings are in such a form of disarray that John Green is the only man who could describe them. The fantasy, the characters, the worldbuilding, it all tied together to produce this wonderful package of epicness. Marie Lu is a talented dytopian writer, undoubtedly, but she is a phenomenal fantasy writer.
So if you didn't already know, The Young Elites takes place in a fantastical world where kids with paranormal abilities run rampant. Where did these powers come from? Actually, the process is pretty similar to that of The Darkest Minds. An epidemic, called blood fever, spread across the land leaving a death count in its wake. However, this disease affected children differently from how it affected adults. Some kids survived with no marks, some with marks, and others with marks and abilities. The latter category was dubbed, "The Young Elites." In Kenettra, the Young Elites are considered abominations by the majority, because the public fears them as much as they are awed by them. They have powers like control over the elements, affinity to animals, invincible skin, things like that. In the next book, I think we'll see an even bigger variety.
This book definitely had a much darker theme than Lu's Legend series. So much so that I felt like, "Woah, this is some deep stuff man." There was so much pain and suffering and Adelina couldn't exactly be described as a ray of sunshine either.
We're used to our heroines being all about helping others, self-sacrifice, and fighting for what's right. Adelina does have that to an extent, but she also has another side to her. In fact, her dark side is far more dominant than her light counterpart. She dwells on fear and hatred, revels from it really. It is only when she is brought to her lowest that she can accomplish her greatest feats. She loves her sister, but at the same time, despises her because of all the love she received when Adelina herself was isolated and abandoned. She's not a Mary Sue. Like all humans, this protagonist has her flawed moments, her dark thoughts, thoughts that we ourselves might shame-facedly have. Adelina embodies a true heroine. Someone who has suffered through abuse and hasn't emerged perfectly from it. Someone who understands that she has darkness in her, tries to fight against it, but doesn't always succeed.
The supporting characters were very well written and played much stronger roles than they usually have in YA novels. All of them differed in personalities, which was nice to see as well. None of the Dagger Society were quite so eager to trust Adelina completely when she first joined. They weren't hostile, at least not most of them, but they still kept everything under wraps and stayed cautious. As she continued to train with them, they opened up to her a little bit and tentative friendships grew. I'm hoping to see more developments in the friendship area in the next two novels. Adelina certainly needs it.
I'm thrilled that Marie decided to take a different route with her books. Some authors are too nervous to go out of their genre or comfort zone, but Marie took a leap, and pardon my corniness, she definitely soared. The Young Elites had a dark atmosphere, yet she still kept it afloat from the depressing feels even without the help of humor, which is quite a feat. Adelina wasn't a picture perfect heroine. Her thoughts weren't always good, yet she tried her best to fight against them and remind herself what was right. The romance was there, but it was underlying and didn't overpower the plot itself. Action was nonstop, and I read it in one sitting. Overall, The Young Elites was an awesome read, and it's definitely a series to look out for. If the wait for the sequel doesn't kill you first.
Very dark themes