The Young Elites by Marie Lu
on October 7, 2014
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy & Magic, Love & Romance, Survival Stories, Young Adult
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.
Adelina Amouteru lives with the mark she received when the plague hit her town. Her sister, Violetta, does not show any marks from the plague that took their mother and their father’s love. For years she has been struggling to please her father, a man who constantly berates her, and fit the societal image that everyone demands of her—but whispers of her malfetto status still follow her like a cruel shadow. After finally deciding she is going to escape, she accidently kills her father with a dormant power that suddenly rises up in her. Instead of dying at the hands of the Inquisitor, she finds herself ingratiated in the Dagger society—a rumored union of those who gained not only marks but also unique abilities from the plague. But she soon begins to wonder if this is what freedom taste like—or if she’ll always be a pawn.
Adelina was different than most main characters. Instead of searching for the good in everyone, including herself, she was constantly reminded of all of her faults. She is hunted by her own demons and soon began to wonder if they were a part of her she would never be rid of. It was interesting reading a story through the villain’s perspective, instead of someone dead-set on being the hero. Adelina knew she wasn’t the hero, and accepts her darker side with an alarming vigor. The story was dark and dreary, with the occasional psychopathic tendencies that made Adelina fall deeper into her pit of despair. I found it difficult not to sympathize with her after the humiliation and bashing she suffered under her father’s control. My feelings toward her sister stayed confused until the end of the novel, as did Adelina’s, and they remain jumbled.
The relationship between Adelina and Enzo constantly changed. Mostly, they became closer, but for ambiguous reasons. It wasn’t a story that I flipped through the pages, dying to see what happened next, but I still rooted for them as it progressed. Both of them are on the opposing side, and having to decide which one stands morally upright in an institution that thrives off of murder was interesting to watch unfold. Just when it seemed things couldn’t possibly get worse for either one of them, it did.
I enjoyed how the book switched points of view, giving insight into the actions of two of the most influential characters. Each had their reason for being the person that they had become, and it was exciting learning more about the structure of the society.
The book did have some slow scenes, as well as invigorating, action-packed scenarios. However, the exciting scenes make up for the few slow pages towards the middle of the story. It was not my favorite of Marie Lu’s, and I enjoyed her Legend trilogy more, but I’m glad I gave this new series a chance.
An unexpected turn—a devastating ending—in the novel has concreted my devotion to picking up the next installment in The Young Elite series.