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The Young Elites Paperback – August 25, 2015
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From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—A rollicking series opener from the author of the "Legend" series (Putnam). Imagine surviving a plague of fever, only to be marked as an abomination by your countrymen. Most survivors of the sickness that vanquished thousands in this alternative medieval world possess a strange and unique marking, whether it be a facial coloring, oddly tinged hair, or, in Adelina's case, a missing eye. Called malfettos, some are endowed with magical gifts that enable them to control wind, fire, earth, and even humans. All Adelina has ever wanted is to feel accepted and loved, but she's ignored by her father, and her sister doesn't have the power to save her. When the teen escapes an unwanted proposal, she unwittingly becomes a member of the Dagger Society, an Elite group of malfettos bent on using their supernatural abilities to escape the Inquisition's genocide and place their leader, Enzo, on the throne of Kenettra. Adelina struggles with an increasing distrust of Enzo, her fellow Elites, and herself, all while learning how to control her powers of illusion and disillusion. 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. Well written, fast paced without being confusing, and enjoyable enough for teens, reluctant readers, and even adults. Brimming with engaging battles—physical and emotional—and meticulous backdrops, Lu's new series will be a surefire hit with old and new fans alike.—Amanda C. Buschmann, Atascocita Middle School, Humble, TX --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Hmmm....I'm not sure what it is about Marie Lu. All her books look promising to me on the back cover description. I mean, "rise of a villainess"? I'd usually be all over that. And I don't usually mind the Pseudo-Medieval European (this time Venice) feeling if there's a romance or a compelling main character (as in Robin LaFevers Grave Mercy series which was awesome) setting.
But I didn't fall in love with Adelina. Nor Raffaele. Nor even Enzo.
Teren Santoro was the most interesting character to me, and his development came quite late in the story. While I love it when a villain's mindset reveals how he or she feels she's doing right, and in this story Adelina definitely has some tough choices to make, the "evil" ones, starting with her father, are too sudden, too ....undeveloped for me to get behind. I am just left feeling bruised and empty instead of sympathetic to her. We are not lead down the path to her making the shocking choices, nor do the circumstances seem to warrant it beyond vague references to her "alignment with passion" or "alignment with darkness" which made it seem like it wasn't her fault when feelings spun out of control. That felt like a cop out to me.
It's possible too much time elapsed, and not enough development of the Raffaele-Adelina or Raffaele-Enzo relationships was able to fit into this action-packed story. I felt, at times, that Adelina was dodging inquisitors in the crowded streets more than anything else and that is a shame, there's such potential here.
But not enough to get me to read the next in the series. That takes falling in love with a character, and sadly, these aren't sticking with me the way I'd like them to. But that might just be my own personal taste and reliance on angst and the relationship feelz in a story.
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.
That said, I loved the concept, but I'd like it to sort of "grow up." That's young adult books for you ;)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I waited to read Entire series before writing this review. I was looking for a fast-paced novel to lose myself in and this is that and so so much more.Read more