Series: The Young Elites#1
Edition: Hardcover, 355 Pages
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Dystopian
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository*
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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.
The Young Elites is another brilliant book by author Marie Lu, but it brings something dark to the mix. We meet Adelina, a girl who has been abused most of her life and has abilities that not only surprise her but others like her, and we finally get to see a story about a person who tries to be a hero but struggles and loses their way.
I have to say I’m very impressed with the amazing consistency in Marie Lu’s writing. Like the Legend series this pulls you in right away, presenting you with an idea turned on it’s head. In Legend the typical gender roles were swapped, in this the typical shiny “girl saves the disenfranchised’ trope is nodded at and immediately thrown in the dirt. I love Adelina, because I understand her. She’s been used and abused by someone who should have protected her, and because of those experiences she finds it difficult to let go of the years of hurt and anger inside of her. Her story is one of pain and personal torment, and one she strives to move past but instead finds her strength within it. The Young Elites and Teren, the head of the Inquisitors played a big part in pulling Adelina back and forth between what she feels she needs to do and what she feels she has to do. It’s a game of tug-o-war that shapes her future decisions and pulls her a part. I will say that we don’t get to know a ton about the individual members of the Dagger Society, as most of them make a point to keep themselves at a distance from Adelina, but I did enjoy learning what we were given. The best part is, everyone is flawed in this. No one is the perfect leader, or follower…they all have their own motives and personalities, and sometimes those things clash making friendships shallow and bonds brittle.
Add that to a world that is rich and full of promise, and you have a winner. The setting of Daila was really amazing, and I loved all the Italian influence that popped up here and there. The best part are the powers though. Lu spends a fantastic amount of time letting the reader get to know what the Malfetto are capable of and let me tell you their abilities are beyond cool. I’ve actually been dying for a story like this for a long time, I even had a manuscript blocked out for something a little similar to this, so it goes without saying that I love nearly everything about this book.
If you want a fast paced book with plenty of picturesque world building and a protagonist with antagonist tendencies then don’t hesitate to grab this one! I can’t wait to see where Lu leads us in the next book.