Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Review: The Young Elites by Marie Lu

Posted by

I received this book for free from Penguin Canada in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Young Elites by Marie LuThe Young Elites by Marie Lu
Series: The Young Elites #1
Published by Putnam Children's on October 7th 2014
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Source: Penguin Canada
Buy on Amazon

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.

After reading Legend, when I heard Marie Lu was coming out with a new series I just knew I had to read it. This woman is a fantastic author with great imagination and a knack for character development. This one was much more fantasy that I usually read, though, so it was less my taste, but it was still an entertaining ride that I think will captivate a lot of readers of the genre.

We begin this journey with a look into the heartbreaking story of Adelina’s upbringing. A girl who was once affected by the blood fever that swept the nation and made her a malfetto. A girl with a marking; useless, worthless – and feared, for many are thought to have unnatural abilities. This immediately made me sympathetic towards our main character. This kind of psychological abuse has also made her hard. She’s definitely harbouring a lot of anger and hate, which we see surface a time or two in the story. I also loved how… unpredictable this made her. You knew she was going to explode and I personally could not wait to see it. Being a big fan of stories about alarming dystopian-like scenarios and the badasses who survive them, this story was off to a great start. It’s not your usual dystopian, however. This world is more high-fantasy, with even a map at the beginning to help situate yourself in her surroundings. So even though I loved the premise and the characters, this was the first hint that this story was maybe not quite my usual read.

The Young Elites is a group of malfettos who all have a unique ability. Some can manipulate the wind, some can create fire, and as for Adelina, she can create visions and make you fear what’s not really there. She joins this group of people in their fight against the King and his evil laws. They want to stop living in fear, to have to hide who they are, by gaining control of this political injustice. While the beginning of the book is full of action and thrill, most of the story focuses on this political intrigue. It’s a complex system with a lot of different players and I would lie if I say I was able to grasp it all in its entirety. I felt confused on a few of the details in this area. I also grew frustrated with Adelina and her justifications for not telling the Young Elites about being blackmailed. It was such an easy way out for her, and while I understand she was afraid of them, it was much better than the alternative. It was a big unnecessary conflict that took up a lot of time. Consequently, I felt the pacing was a bit stagnant at times, but I’m also not the biggest fan of political drama. On the other hand, I loved how the true enemy was not black and white. I was constantly made to question which side was really the “good” side, and if there was even a good side at all.

Ultimately, I have to say that this a very well crafted story with some shocking happenings and complex characterization. The different abilities that we’ve seen so far are exciting and fascinating. There’s a romance that develops, too, as expected, but it’s kept to a somewhat minor subplot. The ending is bittersweet, and full of exciting possibilities. I loved the quick intro to a new character who’s bound to be an interesting addition to the story. Lu is also not afraid of making big moves in her books which I admire her for. So all in all, this is a promising start to a series, and bound to be a great ride for those who enjoy the mix of fantasy and political intrigue!


3.5 Hot Espressos

The following two tabs change content below.
Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

Latest posts by Giselle (see all)

17 Responses to “Review: The Young Elites by Marie Lu”

  1. Soma Rostam

    Well, I haven’t read the author’s other series. But I have been seeing it around the blogosphere for SO LONG! I need to get started on this series
    GREAT review, Giselle, as always
    Your reader,
    Soma R.

  2. Nick @ Nick's Book Blog

    Giselle, I’m really excited that you liked this even though fantasy isn’t your typical genre. Marie Lu is brilliant at character development and that’s what I’m looking forward to in this book. It sounds like these Young Elites have it rough. I’m excited!
    Lovely review! 🙂

  3. Christina T. (@MySeryniti)

    Sounds really interesting. I like how there wasn’t a black and white. That kind of mirrors today’s world. Sometimes we really don’t know and I think it makes us look closer at the details. Too bad it was a bit stagnant though. The synopsis sounds fantastic. I might have to give this one a go! Great review!

  4. JennRenee

    Glad you liked this book. I have not read the legend series yet but I know I need to. I love a fantasy with good development, esp in the characters. Great review.

  5. Martha

    I haven’t read Legend yet, but I’ve heard amazing things about it. This sounds really good! I love great characters in a fantasy so I guess I’ll have to add this to my TBR pile.

  6. Kristen@My Friends Are Fiction

    I really enjoyed this one though I’ve not read the Legend series yet (I read the first book many, many years ago). I enjoyed the darkness of the characters. I felt that this one was missing something though I couldn’t put my finger on it. I still thought it was very well done and I’m super excited for the second book.

  7. Carmel @ Rabid Reads

    That’s too bad that this book didn’t quite live-up to Marie Lu’s usual awesomeness, but it is only a first installment, so hopefully the series will get better from here. And, I do so love an author who’s not afraid to think outside the box. Nice review!

  8. Lisa @ Lost in Literature

    I’m so excited to read this one. It’s definitely not my usual genre and out of my comfort zone, but I’m aiming for that lately. I’ve never read anything by Marie Lu before, but as you stated, I’ve heard she has a great imagination with fantastic character development, which is SO important! Great review! 🙂

  9. Melanie (YA Midnight Reads)

    I do love books that don’t have the obvious divide in the middle between black and white, it just makes everything so much more interesting! I’m so glad that you enjoyed this one, Giselle. I’ve been wanting to try something by Lu, and this sounds great!

    Great review! <33

  10. Dani

    I really wasn’t too impressed with the Legend series, probably rating the whole series with a 3.5 but I’m willing to give this one a chance. I like the whole concept of manipulating the elements and powers. Great review G!!

  11. Books for Older Teenagers

    Holy Macaroni, what an amazing looking book cover. Marie Lu has not failed yet with her cover designs. You just have to look at Legend, Prodigy, Champion to see what I’m talking about. Being a Fantasy writer I love that this series has more fantasy than her past series. I cant wait to purchase this book. Jacket is on and cart wheeling all the way down the street to the book store to get it rite now.