Title: The Young Elites
Author: Marie Lu
Series: The Young Elites, #1
Release Date: October 7th 2014
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 goodreads.com
My Thoughts On…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.