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The Young Elites (A Young Elites Novel) 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
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.
The Young Elites is a dark YA High Fantasy, it’s not something I have come across in YA, and the darkness of it is something I absolutely loved. Lu did not hold back in telling this story, there is a war going on, bad things happen to people, and no one is safe. To me all of those things made this book feel very real. The only thing I wished we had known more about was the blood fever, but right now even the characters do not know that much about it. Oh another thing I loved that I should mention because it’s huge, most (if not all) of the characters are POC. There are a few that I don’t recall their skin color being mentioned but for the ones that were, none of them were white.
I really loved the characters, especially Adelina, Enzo, and Raffaele, they are complex, unique characters. They are all pretty different, yet they work well together in the story. I absolutely loved that Adelina was the main character, she really is what made this book so great. She’s suspicious, angry, revengeful, yet she wants to be loved, and wants to find a place where she belongs. These three characters are what really hooked me in this book and made me get invested and want to keep reading.
I do not want to talk much about the plot, I always worry about spoiling people, but I do want to mention just a bit and it concerns the epilogue, so if you do not want to know this, even though I do not think it is really spoilery, feel free to skip this part. In the epilogue we meet a new character, and from what we were given looks to have a big part in the next book, and this character is AMAZING. I cannot wait for the second book simply for this character.
Basically if you like dark fantasy with action, adventure, and a superhero vibe, you’ll definitely like this book. Oh did I mention, that most of the characters are POC? I did, well it deserved a second mention. Also, there is a kingdom that follows a matriarchal line. Basically it’s a kicka*s story, with kicka*s characters, in a kicka*s world.