Series: The Young Elites #1
Publisher : G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Genre : Young Adult | Fantasy
Page Count: 355
Synopsis : 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. (From Goodreads)
Trigger warning: Parental abuse
I’ve had this book on my TBR for the LONGEST time. Since it came out actually, I wasn’t even part of the community back then, I was just watching some random Youtuber when they talked about it and I thought it sounded interesting enough. But the thing is, I didn’t read fantasy back then so it naturally got burried under a humongous TBR pile until a friend literally screamed at me to read it on twitter (that’s the only way to get me to read a book if you haven’t noticed), I finally caved and picked it up. And oh boy! I regret not reading it sooner because HOLY CRAP THIS BOOK IS AWESOME.
In my honest opinion, the writing is powerful. Adelina, the main character has a whirlwind of emotions raging inside of her and that really shows in the narration, I could feel every struggle, every pain and every darkness and there are a lot of those. And the descriptions were breath-taking, vivid and beautiful even in their ugliness. What it was lacking, and this really is the only complaint I have, is POVS. This is one of those books that should be told in multiple perspectives, there’s a rich cast of character that wasn’t explored to its fullest potential because of the one point of view we got. Well, almost. There were some chapters here and there that weren’t from the MC’s POV but not nearly enough and not from the characters I was the most interested in. (1)
The story is unique, the kind that’s lacking in YA (AND THAT WE NEED MORE OF). As you’ve guessed it from the title of the post AND the synopsis of the book, it’s a villaineous character origin story, and a well executed one at that. Marie Lu has built a very dark and heavy vibe around her story and it is shown rather than told and I. live. for. that. That being said, this is a slow fantasy and if that’s not your cup of tea, better skip it. I, for one, didn’t mind it because it made space for good world building and character developpement. And I like both of those things.
BUT the plot is very worth it, it went down some roads I did NOT expect and it took me by surprise and broke me because WE CAN’T HAVE HAPPY NICE THINGS. I particularly liked the opening scene because for one it’s really strong and gets the reader intrigued from the start and it reminded me of one of my favorite classics which is THE LAST DAY OF A CONDEMNED MAN by Victor Hugo, if you’ve read both I’m pretty sure you’ve seen the similarities.
The world is… kind of confusing at first, it took me a little while to get a hang of the city names and situate myself properly but once that was done I thoroughly enjoyed the settings. The Young Elites’ powers are based on energy and emotions which was really interesting to read about, how different people respond to different emotions and how that affects the kind of power they have as well as their strength. I liked how the author also weaved simple things that we experience and explained them by integrating them fully in this world she created.
Adelina is such a well fleshed character. I loved how conflicted and at war with her own feelings she was and the most fascinating was seeing her gradually give in to the darkness, to her “true” self, ambitious, power hungry and villaineous. One thing I particularly appreciated about her and how Marie Lu wrote her is that she wasn’t strong from the get go, not even close, it took her work and time to gain control over her power and that is a nice change from the mainstream MC who’s good at everything she sets her hands on. All of this mean that she’s a lot inside her head, battling with her emotions and demons, figuring out wha to do and who to trust. (2)
(1) and (2) made that I didn’t really know much about the other characters, which I would’ve liked, especially the Daggers, they were very interesting and had a lot of potential. This doesn’t mean that they were cardboard characters because they weren’t but ya know… I wanted more of them, but Adelina being “an outsider” didn’t make that possible. The little I knew of them I liked and I made this game out of it and tried to come up with an adjective and only one to describe each one of them, and this is what I came up with: Enzo the mysterious, Raffaele the graceful, Gemma the delicate, Dante the ruthless, Michel the artist and Lucente the playful.
And that’s it for this review, friends. I can’t wait to pick up the sequel, which is actually happening in a couple of days (when I’m writing this, by the time it goes up I’ll have read it and a few books after it haha) because the way The Young Elites ended has me very curious and excited for the future events.
That’s it until next time.
Did you read The Young Elites? If so, what did you think?
What did you think of Adelina’s transformation?
Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.