The Young Elites by Marie Lu is the start of a dark fantasy series set in a blissfully fresh fantasy world beset by a horrid fever that killed many and left a few with strange powers. Our main character Adelina is scarred physically and emotionally, missing one eye, and is a second class citizen because she survived the blood fever. She is everything you could want in an antihero and broken character and I loved her for it dearly. The world of The Young Elites is wonderful because of small and big details such as a completely new pantheon of gods and angels with fresh myths and magic. I got only four hours of sleep one night because I couldn’t put The Young Elites down and I did not regret it at all the next day!
Note: I read an advanced copy of The Young Elites. Some things may have changed in the final version.
The Young Elites by Marie Lu (The Young Elites #1)
Published by Putnam Juvenille on Oct. 7th, 2014
Genres: Dark Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 368 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
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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.
- As I discussed a bit above, the world-building in The Young Elites is freaking fantastic! I was especially delighted to realize that the pantheon of gods and angels is not heavily borrowed from any Earthly cultures that I’m familiar with, so I got to learn all the new stories and associations. The countries of The Young Elites are also fresh and interesting and I can’t wait to learn more about the Skylands in book two >.>.
- I really love the storytelling technique of including snippets from books at the beginning of each chapter and The Young Elites had wonderful timing in terms of giving context just as something important happened. If you were a fan of the way Dissonance did its chapter beginnings, The Young Elites is like that ;-).
- The main character, Adelina, is so heart-breakingly damaged because of the loss of her mother and her father’s subsequent treatment of her. She also lost one eye during the fever and Lu does not skirt around the vision problems that accompany this handicap, woot! Adelina really is almost the villain of The Young Elites, so those of you who loved that about Cracked should pay attention :D.
- A lot of the decisions Adelina makes are due to her bond with her younger sister and I loved the realistic mixed feelings she had about the sister that was always favored where she was abused but was still her little sister. Sisterly bonds are one of my favorite relationships probably because I don’t have a sister, ha.
- There are a lot of twists along the way in The Young Elites and I loved every one of them. Mostly though, I loved the ending because crazy real things happen and the epilogue is exactly what I want in an epilogue! (And I normally HATE epilogues.)
- The writing of The Young Elites was honestly even more compelling than Legend. I just wanted to read more and more despite how dark The Young Elites gets. Plan to have your life put on hold when you pick this one up.
- The only thing that bugged me a bit in The Young Elites was Adelina’s tendency to refer to “her alignment to” an emotion instead of just stating the emotion. There is some context that explains a bit, but it still just sounded strange when she said “my alignment to passion surged” instead of “my passion surged” ya know?
The Young Elites was everything I was hoping it would be and has made me an adamant Marie Lu fangirl. I will be waiting excitedly for any word about the sequel after that epic ending and highly advise all fans of dark and unique fantasy to check out this series. Even if you weren’t a complete fan of Legend (I was only neutral really), The Young Elites is very much worth checking out!
Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
The Young Elites by Marie Lu
© 2014, Anya. All rights reserved.