The Young Elites by Marie Lu
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.1
Book covers speak volumes. The Young Elites is a rather simple cover; however, the title and the cover were enough to draw me in, and to know that it would be a good read.
Marie Lu writes that she had started the story with a different character in mind. It wasn’t until her friend mentions Adelina’s character would make an intriguing tale that she rewrites the tale. Adelina is our main character, and although our main characters are usually hero’s, Adelina is more of a villain of sorts. I don’t think I would consider her a full out villain though. She means well, but her powers and those around her bring out the darkness within.
Adelina’s character could be seen as a role model despite her obvious dark and destructive powers. Having lost her eye, she is very self conscious of her appearance, but despite this she is still a very beautiful girl (as the story says). Her hair has turned silver which is not really a negative. For those who know me, know that I love silver hair. I feel like she could have been a stronger character, but this is only the first book and I imagine it as a stepping stone before she unleashes and becomes a real bad a$$.
Enzo is our hunky male lead. He is mysterious and powerful and his role in the series will be very interesting. There is one thing about the males in the story that threw me off. The story is set in a different time, and in a different world. There are many different descriptions that could be pulled from cultures and customs. The thing that stood out the most about the men that I could not get past was their hair. Enzo has cool blood red hair…. but it is also shoulder length. Not saying that all men with long hair are unattractive…. it just wasn’t what I had in mind.
There are many elements in the story that I loved but the book wasn’t 100% for me. I think the series will be great but I wasn’t head over heals for the first instalment. There is so much that goes on and I feel like we are being thrown into so many different directions. The characters could go in many different directions, so could the events. Concepts in the story also seemed to evolve as the story progresses. I understand that the sickness was not an isolated incident, but I thought there would be one focused group of Young Elites and characters we can become familiar with and love/hate. Instead we only got a glimpse at the many different characters. We can see that the series will branch off to multiple groups which will probably band together in the end.
It would be great for Lu to really branch out and make something big with this new world she has created, but it doesn’t feel like this world was designed to become one of those. Cassandra Clare created a world of Shadow Hunters that was simple and everyone loves and wants to be a part of. I don’t see people getting hyped up to be part of The Sealands. Also, as cool as being a Malfetto with powers would be, the name is less than desirable.
Perhaps it is the unknown that bothers me about the way the story ended, but I also feel there are too many characters fighting to become the leader. Despite my rantings I am really looking forward to seeing how the series plays out.
1. Book summary courtesy of Marie Lu Tumblr page.