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The Young Elites
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An explosive new series from New York Times bestselling author of the Legend trilogy, Marie Lu
Darth Vader, Voldemort, Maleficent. Witness the rise of a new villain.
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.
Books in the series:
The Young Elites (The First Book of The Young Elites)
The Rose Society (The Second Book of The Young Elites)
Praise for Marie Lu’s The Young Elites:
A New York Times bestseller!
Five starred reviews!
An Amazon Best Book of 2014 – Teen & Young Adult!
An Amazon Best Book of the Month, October 2014!
“By permitting her characters some grand failures, she raises the stakes in the best way possible…There is clearly more to know, and I look forward to it. This is a world worth revisiting.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Lu pivots from the ‘coming of age via romance’ formula to pry apart the many emotions that pass under the rubric of love… There’s nothing easy here, for Adelina or readers—there are no safe places where the pressures of betrayal, death threats, and rejection aren’t felt.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Readers should prepare to be captivated—and to look forward to a continuation of the Young Elites series.”—Booklist, starred review
“A must for fans of…totally immersive fantasies.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“A Game of Thrones meets X-Men in this 14th-century fantasy from Marie Lu (the Legend trilogy), in a world where ‘fear is power.’ … The overriding epic fantasy will keep readers hooked for book two, which teases to be a game-changer. Bring it on.” —Shelf Awareness, starred review
“The taut, tightly packed narrative provides an engaging mix of pulse-quickening fight scenes, heart-stopping near escapes, touching interpersonal interludes, and devastating betrayals.” —BCCB, starred review
“Lu weaves her magic across the page as she unfolds the story of Adelina and the Young Elites. Nothing is as it is expected.”—VOYA
“Lu seamlessly melds an unforgettable and intoxicating historical fantasy narrative with a strong female protagonist that grapples with an issue experienced by all young adults—acceptance of one’s self… Lu’s new series will be a surefire hit with old and new fans alike.”—School Library Journal
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While the premise wasn't incredibly original to me, Adelina was the character who intrigued me. How many books have you read with a character who imagines such a bloodthirsty, violent revenge? In my case, not many. Adelina wants those who wronged her to suffer and she does not imagine any mercy. Adelina is dark, villainous and yet I rooted for her the entire book, even if it made me slightly uncomfortable to do so at times. Throughout the book it is hinted that she has a 'darkness' in her and that she can't be trusted. While we only got a glimpse of this power, it is both intriguing and powerful, and Adelina relishes the power she possess.
Like I mentioned above, the idea of a world catastrophe with emerging young people with strange powers is a trope I've seen before. It also happens to be one of my favorite tropes because I am a sucker for discovering all these characters with unique powers. Some can control elements like fire and wind, while some can make objects disappear and reappear in another location. While I don't want to go into detail for Adelina's power, know that it is versatile, original and probably more powerful than we realize at this point in the story so far.
As far as supporting characters, there are a few important ones to note:
Enzo is the leader of the Dagger Society, or the group of Young Elites that Adelina discovers. Enzo is distant, interesting and definitely has an agenda of his own. He is fascinated by Adelina's powers, despite repeated warnings that she could be dangerous. There is also a hint of attraction between the two, but I had a hard time trusting his motivations. Adelina's most important priority is herself, so I couldn't get too attached to other characters because I never knew when Adelina could turn on them.
Teren is a character I am excited to see more of. While him and Adelina are on opposing sides of this story, I have a feeling he will be an important character in the series. He is responsible for hunting down Adelina and the other Elites, but we soon learn he is harboring a secret of his own.
Violetta is Adelina's sister and while their relationship is contentious at times, she is arguably the only character Adelina has any feelings for at all. Unfortunately, Adelina has been hardened by the harsh treatment in her childhood and the prejudice against her for being a malfetto has hardened her heart. Violetta represents the only good part of Adelina that is left and I was pleasantly surprised with her character arc in this book.
The ending fell a little flat for me in terms of action, I think I was just hoping for more. Although there were a few surprising twists and turns! I will definitely be reading the next book because I need to know what happens to Adelina. Sure, she has had a pretty terrible life so far, but she is going down a dark path and I personally can't wait to see where it leads. I love the idea of reading about an anti-hero! Adelina makes a lot of questionable decisions throughout the book and it seems like she is starting to succumb to the call of her dark power. Will she continue down this path? Will she get the revenge she desires? Or will Violetta continue to be the voice of her conscience? I am excited to find out!
The great conflict in this book comes from someone who has never known love or acceptance. The only one that has ever been kind to her is someone she had to leave behind. Adelina is picked up by the Daggers, part of The Young Elites movement, before she is burned at the stake for having powers. Powers she had only been able to call on one time when she felt threatened. When she is approached by Teren, the leader of the Inquisitioners, and the one who is holding her sister captive. Adelina must choose to support The Young Elites or to turn them in to save her sister.
I felt bad for Adelina. She really struggles to do the right thing in this book. The right thing for her, the right thing for the cause, and the right thing for her sister. Adelina doesn’t know which one is right, she only knows she needs to save her sister. Complicating her situation even further is her love interest, Enzo, the leader of the Dagger, a group of The Young Elites. Enzo is the rightful heir to the kingdom of Kenettera. Enzo is a malfetto though Adelina has a really unique gift, but she need The Young Elites to help her learn how to use it. They come along at just the right time to teach her how to use her power.
I enjoyed the angsty romance in this book. I didn’t like where it ended, but I can see that there is still hope. I loved the action in this book. I also loved that the protagonist may not be the good guy in this story. The world building was very well done. I could easily imagine the city of Estenzia. Even the clothes the characters wore were well described, making it easy for me to picture. This is a world I want to go back to. I was actually sad when I finished reading this.
The only issues I had with this book was that I didn’t see Adelina as a dark person. She is conflicted for sure, but characters kept referencing her dark side. I didn’t really see it. I felt like I was told it about it, and not shown it at all. I am hoping her dark side will be elaborated in the follow up book, The Rose Society. I will definitely be read the next book in this series and more from this author. I am glad I got a chance to read this.
In some parts of the book it showed through that the writer had not originally meant a woman to be the main character in this book, however it worked well. It was a nice twist in this story that the heroine had faults and was a traitor - or not.