Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Young Elites by Marie Lu

From Goodreads:
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: 5 Stars

The Young Elites is pretty much the most deliciously dark read ever. The novel is a very refreshing take on fantasy and I was delightfully surprised to find such a dark story, with lots of twists and turns, in the YA genre. It’s a dark story that managed to invoke strong emotions as the story progressed; in the end I was left wanting so much more. Thankfully its sequel, The Rose Society, will be released on October 13, 2015.

Before diving into my review of the book itself, I would like to address the fact that I thought that the recommended ages for this book are too young. Because of the dark storyline and events, I believe the book would fit better in the new adult category. With that being said, as an adult reader, I absolutely loved this book.

Marie Lu is on my auto-buy authors list and with good reasons. She is an amazing storyteller with outstanding world building skills. She has a unique ability to develop remarkable characters that quite frankly left me somewhat emotionally drained in the best possible way. One of the things I found most fascinating in her approach of this book is the fact that while the book is narrated in first person by our main character, Adelina, there are also chapters written in third person when we follow some of the secondary characters. I believe that the switch between the first and third person narration added depth to the overall story while allowing the reader to better understand each character and their motives. It allowed the reader to see all sides of the story and it provided great character development. We get glimpses into the characters childhoods, which further provided explanations for some of their decisions and actions.

As I mentioned before, the characters Lu developed are just impressive. To be honest, I am not sure if Adelina will be a heroine or the villain of her own story by the end of the trilogy. She definitely suffered a lot in her short life; she survived the Blood Fever that swept her nation killing her mother and forever marking her as a malfetto. The only survivors of the Blood Fever were children, but they were all marked in different way, thus earning them the title of Malfetto. However, the visible scars are not the only things marking them; the malfettos are also rumored to possess powerful and mysterious gifts (X-men anyone?).

Adeliana has an absolutely horrid father and, while I understand her actions throughout the book, I also saw a lot of darkness in her that has the potential to consume her and turn her into the villain of her own story. I absolutely loved Adelina; she was so different from all other female protagonists. She is emotionally broken, understandably considering what she endured; however, her strength shines through.

“I am Adelina Amouteru. 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.”
Enzo and Teren are very well developed as well. I personally thought of them as opposite sides of the same coin. The best part is that while Lu definitely is portraying a good and a bad character, I feel like the story left enough room for interpretation and guessing on who exactly will be good and who will be bad. All of these three character’s lives will collide in the most epic way as the story progresses; they all have good and bad, light and darkness in them and I can’t wait to see what becomes of them in the end.

Lu’s world had a very unique and vivid Renaissance historic feel, which packed a lot of action, adventure, romance, magic, deception, betrayal, love, and family bonds (also, sword fighting, which I for some reason find amazing). I was blown away by the details included in the novel. Marie Lu is such a fantastic storyteller that I felt transported to her world (I was quite scared, it’s a very scary world she created).

The novel has a very fast pace and the end comes much quicker than expected. Be warned, there is an epilogue. The epilogue is sure to leave the readers at the edge of their seats. That’s exactly where I was when this book ended. The book also contains a map. I think books with maps are the best, and The Young Elites proves that once again.

One of my favorite quotes from the book: “Be true to yourself. But that’s something everyone says and no one means. No one wants you to be yourself. They want you to be the version of yourself that they like.”

Overall, The Young Elites was an exciting read that kept me captivated until the very last sentence. Marie Lu’s writing in this novel is impeccable. The Young Elites was an outstanding read, unique in its dark composition, with amazingly strong characters. I recommend this book to anyone who likes fantasy. This series will become, without a doubt, one of my all-time favorite series.


  1. I agree. I love that you can't tell yet who's going to be the hero and the villain. There is a clear evil but there is so much more than that.

    1. I know! I am so ready for The Rose Society!!!