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The Young Elites by Marie Lu ARC {5 Stars}

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 ARC {5 Stars}

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.

5 Stars


  • 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!

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
– Anya


 The Young Elites by Marie Lu

© 2014, Anya. All rights reserved.


  1. You have convinced me to add this to the TBR. That is all. :)
    Kel @ Booked til Tuesday recently posted…Discussion: YA Fairy Tale RetellingsMy Profile

  2. If the main character is almost a villain, then it sounds good. I prefer my main characters morally ambigous rather than always good and nice. Would you say that this is very dark? I’m looking for something that can count as either very dark or horror for a Halloween event and I don’t have too many choices so far.
    Hellen recently posted…Review/Reseña – La conquista de Oxit – Carlos González SosaMy Profile

    • Hmmmmmmm, it’s not super gory, but the magic power is pretty spooky so I feel like it would fit well because of that in addition to being dark for YA

  3. Like the sound of this one, I’ll have to keep an eye out for it :)
    Finley Jayne recently posted…{Halloween Special} Cats & Dogs in Costumes!My Profile

  4. I loved this book too! The snippets were fun, just added another little touch. Yeah, I thought of her as more of a villain too. I’m with you on epilogues, and this one was a pleasant surprise. Yeah the alignment thing was weird, but I just figured it was another of her quirks. Nice review. :)
    Molly Mortensen recently posted…Soulless By Amber GarrMy Profile

  5. Words cannot express how thrilled I am that you loved this one so much Anya!! :D The world building sounds truly epic and the MC seems like a breath of fresh air what with how unique and flawed she is. The writing style and everything else sounds wonderful and I love the fact that there seem to be very little in the way of weaknesses ;-) Thanks for the lovely review ^^
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Review: The Dream ThievesMy Profile

  6. For some reason I never read Legend, so I haven’t experienced the awesomeness that is Marie Lu yet. This review makes me SO EXCITED to finally read something by her. I feel like there are quite a few new YA fantasy series beginning this year and I’m always so torn about which ones to read. The Young Elites is a definite must! I mean, hello? Antihero AND an epilogue that doesn’t suck? Sounds like a dream come true!
    Danya @ Fine Print recently posted…Review: Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuireMy Profile

    • Hehe, I was kind of over the dystopian phase by then so I didn’t love it as much as some, however, I will never be over fantasy :D

  7. Adelynne Chang says:

    Yay! I’m so excited to read this now!!! :D And I LOVED Cracked so I’m excited for this one. Great review- you made me 10 times more excited to read this. :DD

  8. Okay, I totally missed this one being out today, thought it was still a ways out. Sweet, I’ll have to make a note to grab a copy when I get the chance :)
    Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum recently posted…Guest Post: “In Defense of Fluff and Fun” by Erin LindseyMy Profile

    • Haha, well I’m glad to be of service then :D. Atlantia is coming out at the end of the month, so that was confusing me for a while since these are the two big Penguin releases of the fall I think ;-)

  9. AHHH this makes me so happy to read!!! And that weakness seems like a minor thing – I’m sure it won’t bother me at all. I kind of skimmed the review (sorry) so I go in as blind as possible, but I can’t wait to read my copy tonight! Hopefully I’ll finish it, but I think I’ll have to split it up over a few days… Sad day!
    Kayla @ The Thousand Lives recently posted…ARC Review: Stitching Snow by RC LewisMy Profile

    • Haha, can you tell I was really racking my brain for something to include ;-) I hope you end up sleeping at least a little bit tonight!

  10. I can’t take the suspense anymore! Everyone is raving about this book and I just put it on hold at the library. I’m hoping it comes to me soon!
    I love sibling bonds, and that’s so rare in books so I’m excited to see Adelina and her sister’s relationship. Even if it’s a little complicated.
    Kritika recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday 38 – Character driven novelsMy Profile

    • Good thing you got on the list right away, I’m thinking it’s going to be a long list soon! Hehe, I think you’ll love their relationship by the end ;-)

  11. I am SO looking forward to reading this one! I put it on hold at the library first thing this morning and already 15 others had beaten me to it. I love Marie Lu, so I’m really glad to see you loved this one. Great post, Anya!
    Jess @ Gone with the Words recently posted…In Your Dreams by Kristan HigginsMy Profile

  12. I really enjoyed this one too! I thought the characters were delightfully dark. I’m so glad you loved it too. I can’t wait for book 2!
    Kristen@My Friends Are Fiction recently posted…Review of In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnisMy Profile

  13. I’ve been hearing some good reviews of this one, and I’m hoping I can get to the library and see if they have a copy this weekend, so that I can give it a try. It sounds like one I’ll enjoy.
    Bibliotropic recently posted…Meritropolis, by Joel OhmanMy Profile

  14. I WANT THIS IN MY LIFE because I seriously need to read more stories about anti-heros. I’m glad you absolutely loved this, because I’ve never read anything by Marie Lu before (idk why), and also THIS IS THE START of a series right??? I’ll try to see if I can get my hands on this somehow!
    Valerie recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday #27My Profile

  15. I love the main character and really hope Lu isn’t afraid to keep her walking the line of darkness. And the epilog was quick and simple but highly effective in drumming up more interest.

    Other than that I wasn’t quite as high on the book as you, especially my lack of caring about any character not named Adelina.
    Nathan (@reviewbarn) recently posted…Fantasy Review: ‘The Time Roads’ by Beth BernobichMy Profile

    • Haha, you weren’t swooning over Rafe and Enzo? ;-) I have to admit I had quite a soft spot for several of the secondary characters by the end, but I can see how not connecting with them would hurt your enjoyment

  16. She is on my author to try list. This will be a definite library wishlist item!
    Felicia the Geeky Blogger recently posted…Guest Posting @ MidnyteReader for #HalloweenHootenannyMy Profile

    • This is definitely a good one to try. I didn’t love Legend nearly as much so I think this will be her better series ;-)

  17. So excited to read this! Darn, I missed her at Comic Con (and the book too:-( ) but I’ll be running out to get a copy soon. So glad you loved it!
    Tammy @ Books Bones & Buffy recently posted…We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Programming…My Profile

  18. Oooo I’m going to get this book today and I can’t wait.
    Though that is a bit funny: “my alignment to passion surged”
    Hopefully its not used TOO much, I can see how that could get weird and a bit annoying :P
    Ellie recently posted…Top 10 books that stayed with meMy Profile

    • Yey! I hope you love it :D Yeah, it wasn’t used too often, just made me make a funny face a couple of times ;-)

  19. I’ve heard TONS about Marie Lu and her novels in the past year or so, but haven’t read any of it. I’m guessing you’d recommend her work…? ;) Should I start here or with her other trilogy?
    Sara L. recently posted…Playing Harry Potter Spell Book Tag!My Profile

    • You can start with either, they’re completely unrelated :). The other is dystopian so I wasn’t quite as into it since I’m in love with fantasy these days, but that’s just personal preference ;-)


  1. […] Rose Society by Marie Lu is the dark sequel to The Young Elites and continues to follow Adelina as she struggles to use her powers for the right reasons in a world […]

  2. […] -From OnStarshipsAndDragonwings, The Young Elites by Marie Lu ARC {5 Stars} […]

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