The Young Elites

The Young Elites

Title: The Young Elites

Author: Marie Lu

Series: The Young Elites, #1

Publisher: Penguin

Release Date: October 7th 2014


Four Stars

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 rumoured 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.

– Blurb courtesy of

My Thoughts On…

…The Plot

“Some hate us, think us outlaws to hang at the gallows.
Some fear us, think demons to burn at the stake,
Some worship us, think us children of the gods.
But all know us.”

After the blood fever that struck down her, her younger sister and her mother Adelina has been left marked. Every day she lives with the wrath of her father, bitter towards his daughter after he lost everything to the blood fever that made Adelina a malfetto, but when she overhears him talking about selling her for a business deal she runs. Her father chases after her, and in the heat of the moment Adelina lets loose a terrifying power she wasn’t aware she had, a power which kills her father and leads to Adelina being captured by Teren and the Inquisition Axis.

Despite the detailed blurb I had no clue what to expect from The Young Elites, although I knew given the fact that it was written by Marie Lu chances are it would be an incredible read. I wasn’t wrong. From the first page I was hooked purely by Adelina’s character. There was a lot to learn in the first chapter but Marie Lu managed to fit in plot, character development and world building that left me desperate to know what happened next.

“Embellish your flaws. They will turn into your assets. And if you become one of us, I will teach you to wield them like an assassin wields a knife.”

Adelina’s power has drawn the attention of the Young Elites. They save her from burning at the stake and believe that with her power to create illusions their end goal could finally be within sight. Enzo wants to throne, seeks to put malfetto’s in control instead of leaving them at the whims of the Inquisition, but Teren has his own plans for the Young Elites, plans Adelina will have no choice but to help him with if she wants her sister to remain safe and alive.

Everyone in The Young Elites seems to have their own plans for Adelina and for her powers. The further I got into the story the more I could see where Marie Lu was leading Adelina’s journey, how this book would end for her, and it was heartbreaking. The Young Elites is one of those stories where you can see where things are going for certain characters and, despite how much you may hope otherwise, you know it will end badly.

…The Characters

“Be true to yourself. But that’s something everyone says and no one means. No one wants you to be yourself. They want you to be the version of yourself that they like.”

Adelina is an incredible antihero who I can now add to my list of favourite morally grey characters. She survived her father’s wrath, and now with the Young Elites she stands to become stronger than she ever was before if she can only master her power. She wants to help Enzo, wants to believe in his mission, but when her sister’s life is in danger she knows she cannot trust the Young Elites with someone so precious to her. They may be her friends, but the closer Adelina gets to become a Young Elite herself the more she starts questioning their motives.

When she is tested Adelina aligns the most closely with the emotions connected to fear, and it makes her dangerous in some of the Young Elites’ minds. They don’t fully realise what they are creating when they arm Adelina, but her transformation from a scared girl running from her father to who she ends up becoming by the time the story is over was incredible to read.

“No one ever gives me their kindness without hoping for something in exchange.
Are they any different? Are they all the same? They all want to use you, use you, use you until they get what they want, and then they will toss you aside.”

I enjoyed learning more about all the different Young Elites and their powers. All of then follow Enzo, his mission is theirs, and they all trust one another completely which leaves Adelina standing on the outside looking in. There is a lot they don’t tell her, which creates a divide between them, and while Gemma and Raffaele are kind there is still a hesitancy there built by their secrets and their wariness over Adelina’s gift.

“Everything about Enzo whispers of danger, of murder in the name of righteousness. I’m desperate to pull away. I ache for more. I tremble uncontrollably, caught in the middle.”

As much as I loved reading about the individual Young Elites and their interaction with Adelina I wasn’t a massive fan of the relationship between Enzo and Adelina, for a couple of reasons I can’t really go into because of spoilers. It was hard to tell while reading if what Enzo felt for Adelina was real. Like the others some part of him was wary of her power, but he knows with her on his side his goal of sitting on the throne is closer to his grasp than ever before.

…The Setting

“I hereby pledge to serve the Dagger Society, to strike fear into the hearts of those who rule Kenettra, to take by death what belong to us, and to make the power of our Elites known to every man, woman, and child. Should I break my vow, let the dagger take from me what I took from the dagger.”

The world building in The Young Elites was probably my favourite aspect of the book. There was a very Renaissance/Pre-Raphaelite/Venetian feel to it which only reminded me of one of my favourite countries. The discussions Adelina and Raffaele had gave us the background to the Young Elites and their different powers, the gemstones used to test Adelina gave us the information on the gods and angels they worshipped, and every malfetto helped us understand the blood fever that devastated the land. There was so much detail, and it’s only looking back that I could really appreciate it, but it never bogged down the story or got in the way of the plot either.

The main thing I love about Marie Lu’s writing is that she isn’t afraid to take her characters and stories in unexpected directions. It’s what makes her such an incredible author in my opinion. The Young Elites is definitely a unique story, and although I could see the heartbreak coming I was never sure what to expect from Adelina’s character.

What did you think of The Young Elites? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.

43 thoughts on “The Young Elites

  1. I loved how morally grey Adelina was! There aren’t a lot of characters out there like that. I still haven’t read the third in the trilogy though. Woops. I’ll get to it one of these days!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Same here, and there definitely aren’t but I’d love to see more characters like Adelina. It seems like everyone loves reading their stories so I don’t see why there aren’t already. Hopefully you’ll find the time to pick it up soon then, and I’m sure you’ll love it as well! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m really glad to see that you enjoyed this book! 😀 The Young Elites is a book that I have wanted to pick up for ages, but just never got around to it. Though after reading your review I feel even more exited to read it – so I might be getting it soon. I have a feeling that I’m going to love Adelina, after all I tend to love antiheroes and morally grey characters. Great review Beth! ❤ 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought it was great Anna. 🙂 Oh I hope you manage to get around to it soon. I completely get what you mean though because this series was the same for me, one I wanted to start for ages but just never got to. If you love antiheroes you’re going to love Adelina, she’s an incredible character.
      Thanks so much Anna! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Totally agree with you about Lu being willing to take risks with her plot and characters! and I love Adelina as an anti-hero!! And I love the detail of the world. I did really enjoy this book and series 😀 Hope you like how it goes! Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I was completely shocked by how some of these characters ended The Young Elites, and actually ended the trilogy. You can’t say Marie Lu isn’t willing to take risks in her writing, and it makes her books incredible to read. 🙂
      Adelina is one of my fave antiheroes now, and the world in this book is just amazing. Ha, I have actually read the whole trilogy, and safe to say I really enjoyed it.
      Thanks so much. 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Nice to see Marie Lu continues to win you over with another one of her series! I’ve heard great things about this one and everything about powers and all in it sounds like a lot of fun. Sorry to hear the relationship part wasn’t to your taste though! I feel like the series is only going to get better after this one though! Great review as always!! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes I don’t think there’s anything Marie Lu can write that will let me down, and now I can’t wait for her next release. 😀 There are some great things being said about this series and from what I read they’re all true, the relationship aspect that I didn’t enjoy wasn’t a massive letdown or anything, no book is perfect in the end.
      Thanks so much Lashaan. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great review, Beth! I’m really happy to hear you enjoyed this book so much – despite the issues you had with Enzo and Adelina’s relationship. I really enjoyed this book, more than I thought I would, actually and I can’t wait to know what happens next. Knowing you, you should already be onto the next book by now, no? 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much Marie! 😀 ❤ Yeah now I've read all her books that have been released to date I can safely say Marie Lu is one of my favourite authors. Anything she writes is going to be an automatic add to my to-read list. 🙂
      Oh I've actually already finished the whole trilogy. 😀 This was one of those series where I just couldn't not pick up the next book right away (in my opinion the second book is the best of the lot, so you've really got the best to come Marie!) 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great review!! I’m so glad that you enjoyed this book!! I’m reading it currently (OKAY YOU CAUGHT ME- IVE SEMI DNF’ed IT) I just don’t know ghbdfjgdgk??? I’ve got to page 90 and then I put it down. . . and well.. . . its just sat there???

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much Lu. 🙂 Oh I hope you manage to make it through this book soon, it’s a good story so I’m sure you’ll agree when you get past page 90. I know the feeling though because there have been books I’ve semi-DNF’ed, sometimes you’re just not in the mood for the story are you? 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Awesome review, Beth! The Young Elites isn’t my favorite series from Marie Lu, but it’s still amazing, or rather Adelina is an amazing character. Antiheroes are so enjoyable to read about because you can’t help sympathize with them despite their questionable actions and thoughts. I agree, the world-building is possibly the best part about this book aside from Adelina’s character development. And it was fun learning about the elites’s different powers, although I wished there was more time spent on the description of their abilities in some places. And yeah, I was never really a fan of Enzo and Adelina’s relationship. They make a great power couple but their chemistry is a bit rocky. I guess that’s why it could also be appealing. The implied wariness and distrust of each other’s powers gives a different feel about their romance. At least the ending is properly heartbreaking and surprising. Despite the little issues, I’m so so glad you enjoyed it. Really excited to read your thoughts on the next book, especially regarding Adelina’s relationship with her sister! Fantastic review Beth! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Azia. 🙂 Yeah The Young Elites isn’t my favourite series by Marie Lu either but as far as fantasy series I’ve read go it is an incredible one (I just thought Legend and Warcross were that little bit better). Adelina is an incredible character. In fact I think in my reviews for the next two books I’ve talked a lot about how much I loved the journey her character went on throughout the series. Antiheroes are my favourite kind of characters, and yeah it would have been nice to see more of some of the Young Elites’ powers, I’m thinking especially Michael and Dante who were a little bit glossed over you know?
      I feel like they were paired together because it made ‘sense’ to the story you know, but in light of Adelina reminding Enzo of Daphne it just made their relationship a little too off for me. The ending definitely surprised me, but I loved it because it set this series apart from any other like it.
      Thanks so much Azia, I’ve got my reviews for the other two in this series written so they should be posted soon. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, Adelina’s journey is so incredible, and it becomes even more complex and heartbreaking in the next book. I love the way she is developed. She’s nearly the epitome of a grey character. And agreed, Michael and Dante definitely needed a bit more of the spotlight. Just a tiny bit more and I think I would have been a bit happier!
        Adelina and Enzo were definitely the weakest pairing in the series, but I think as the story evolves and she meets her true match, there’s a reason for that. I can’t wait to see what you think of the last two books!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh I agree with you there. The second book was actually my favourite of the trilogy but I think Adelina’s development was amazing throughout. 🙂
        Exactly, it was almost like Dante was lacking the power development that Michael got but Michael was lacking the character development Dante got. I feel like she could have combined those two characters and it would have been that little bit better.
        Oh by the time Magiano was introduced in book two I’d pretty much forgetten all about Enzo! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yes, Adelina was the most solidly built character throughout the series. And I agree, Dante and Michael as one character would have made both those powers and personalities infinitely more interesting and effective!
        Magiano is the best ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I think it’s because I read TYE before Legend. After reading TYE, I thought it was amazing. Then I read Legend and I thought it was too generic (of a dystopia). It was such a let down for me, imo. The only dystopian book that completely floored me was a classic (Brave New World). 🙃

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I get what you mean about dystopian books. Other than the Legend trilogy the only dystopian series I can say I love is the Dark Gifts trilogy by Vic James. The rest have kind of bored me a little, too generic like you said. 🙂


  8. I haven’t read The Young Elites yet because I remember only ever seeing negative reviews floating around and I didn’t want them to taint my love for Marie’s writing after having read her Legend trilogy! But I’m thinking it might be time I give this trilogy a chance (at least) since I absolutely loved Warcross and I want to make sure I read all of her work.

    Great review, Beth! I really like the way you structure them and I should 100% read them more often! Usually, I’ll avoid reviews for books I haven’t read myself yet as to not influence myself in any kind of way but I wanted to read your thoughts on this book! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh that’s a shame. Honestly I haven’t heard anything negative about this series, though I’m sure there are some negative reviews out there. Still I really enjoyed this series and I loved both the Legend trilogy and Warcross so if you’re anything like me you’ll love The Young Elites as well. 🙂 I’d definitely recommend it if you’re thinking of picking these books up.
      Thanks so much Swetlana. 🙂 I’m really glad you enjoy my reviews, and yeah it just helps me get my thoughts in order to write my reviews like this, glad it comes across well to readers. Oh I do the same for books I haven’t read, but there are some I can’t resist checking out because it’s where I get so many of my recommendations from! 😀
      Thanks again. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Kristin. 🙂 Oh that’s how I felt when I finished the Legend trilogy, and then after I finished Warcross I moved this trilogy to the top of my to-read list. It’s a great series so I’m sure you’ll love it too. 🙂


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