Title: The Young Elites
Author: Marie Lu
Genre: Fantasy | Young Adult
Series: The Young Elites #1
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 7 October 2014
Paperback: 355 pages
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.
Rating: ♚½ -Damn near perfect
If I’d to describe this book in one word, that would be beyond awesome. Wait, that’s two words. Whatever.
The Young Elites is not without its flaws, but the awesome characters and (almost) unpredictable plot made up for that. This book is different from most books in the YA community these days for the main character, Adelina Amouteru, is physically scarred; she’s missing an eye. Also, she isn’t a pure and good heroine. She’s a VILLAIN. (Technically, she’s the hero in this book, and the main villain is Teren)
I am Adelina Amouteru, the phantoms whispered to my father, speaking my most frightening thoughts in a chorus of voices, dripping with hatred. My hatred. I belong to no one. On this night, I swear to you that I will rise above everything you’ve ever taught me. I will become a force that this world has never known. I will come into such power that none will dare hurt me again.
But I LOVE her. To be honest, I’m kind of scared of her.
Though Adelina may not seem like a villain in the first few chapters, she became more villainous as the story progresses. Adelina isn’t afraid to
hurt kill and actually enjoys killing.
My fury heightens. Everyone. They will cower at my feet, and I will make them bleed.
She’s the kind of strong characters that YA stories seemed to be lacking. Sure, she did seem a bit weak in some parts, but her other personalities made up for that. What I like best about Adelina is her complexity. Like I said, she isn’t a pure and good character, but a villain. She is twisted and filled with so much darkness. And we’re supposed to hate villains with all our hearts. Yet, I can relate to her and sympathize her.
Her history is very interesting too. We’ve read about characters with horrible pasts, but Adelina’s is quite different. Her past is not only horrible but dark and gritty.
So, yes, Adelina is definitely my favorite character in The Young Elites.
Of course, she fell in love with the lead male character, Enzo Valenciano. I feel that Enzo didn’t have as much depth as Adelina, though he’s one of the main characters. He’s just… flat. At least he’s realistic. It’s the same with the secondary characters. Raffaele, though a little creepy, is flat. Violetta, Adelina’s sister, has a little more depth, but still flat.
Teren Santoro, on the other hand, is complex. He’s the main villain, apart from Adelina. He didn’t have as much darkness as Adelina, but he’s way more twisted than her. He’s a nutcase who was so obsessed with the young Queen Giulietta that he would do anything (like, anything) for her.
Teren looked up into her eyes with desperation and desire. She was so pretty. Delicate, heart-shaped face framed with dark curls. Royal blood. Not a hint of a marking on her. Perfection. “I would pledge anything to you, Your Highness. My life. My sword. I am yours.”
I hated Teren and wanted him to die, but for some reasons, I also didn’t want him to.
Let’s talk about relationships between the characters.
ADELINA AND ENZO
The romance is light, but there were some steamy and sexy scenes between Adelina and Enzo. Not sexually graphic scenes. I’m talking about scenes which have so much intensity that it might make you feel a little uncomfortable.
ADELINA AND RAFFAELE
It’s rare to find a platonic relationship between a female character and a male character in YA novels these days, especially when the male character is described as beautiful.That’s something unique and refreshing to read about.
ADELINA AND VIOLETTA
I absolutely love the relationship between Adelina and her sister. While Adelina loves Violetta and would protect her sister, to the point where she betrayed her newfound Dagger Society friends to Teren, a small part of Adelina was jealous of her. Because she receives care and attention from their father, while Adelina gets scorn and anger. The love-hate relationship between the sisters definitely intrigued me.
Another thing which I like about this book is the writing. Lu’s writing is so easy to read. The narrative is addictive and natural. I could NOT put the book down. There were times when it was a bit rough, though. The ending took me off guard. I didn’t expect someone to die. And that someone was Enzo. I didn’t feel much connection to him, but when he died, my mouth fell open. Literally.
I skip to the last few pages of the book and read them,
hoping praying that Enzo somehow reincarnated or something. When he didn’t, I almost didn’t want to continue reading.
While I highly enjoy the characters and the story, I felt The Young Elites lacks in world building. The story is set in a world with a Renaissance Italy feel to it. There were some descriptions of the various places, but I didn’t feel like I’m inside the fantasy world. Hopefully, there would be more world building in the next installment of the series.
Overall, The Young Elites is a dark and gritty story which centers around Adelina (It seemed like the stories always centers around the main characters, don’t they?). The book has it flaws which I can’t ignore, like the underdeveloped secondary characters and lack of world building. Still, I find this book highly entertaining and I cannot recommend it enough.
A S I D E:
The cover for The Young Elites could have been so much better. The current one looked like a text slapped over a simple background image.