The Young Elites (The Young Elites #1) by Marie Lu
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 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
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.
Recommended for: fans of Grisha Trilogy, Red Queen, Shatter Me, The Winner’s Curse, Throne of
Glass and Marie Lu.
Familiar with Marie Lu’s style and a die-hard fan of the Legend series, I thought this new story will be along the same
lines as Lu’s prior works: action-packed, romantic, funny — you know the
drill. Only set in a fantasy world, of course, but nonetheless still cute on a
Was a mistake, because The Young Elites
is so far from cute you cannot imagine. Eons away from cute. Zero cuteness.
that rains down death.”
wanna know how TYE truly is? It’s edgy. It’s dark. Thrilling. Awfully intense.
Depression-inducing. Dare I say it, even sexy — in no way romantic. But, most
important of all, it’s different and realistic in terms of characters.
once in my lifetime as a book addict, the book I read follows a heroine that
has such great potential, but one that will inevitably step into the darkness.
Meet Adelina Amouteru, a 16 year old girl that survived the fever which
decimated the population. There were no adult survivors and the children that
were affected ended up gaining unusual marks — and some even dangerous powers.
They were called malfettos and hated by most people, being treated as the gods’
abominations and associated with bad fortune. That’s another aspect I loved:
the fact that the “special” ones aren’t treated as kings and queens
like in most books. They’re cursed and killed without a second thought and it
all makes for a fresh change in the sea of ever-glorifying the gifted
characters (see Victoria Aveyard’s Red
Queen, Leigh Bardugo’s The Grisha
Trilogy and Josephine Angelini’s Trial
to our main character. Adelina has no apparent powers until she triggers them
on a fateful night, trying to escape her father and accidently killing him. She
discovers she has the power of illusion and that she could very well be
considered a young elite – a malfetto with abilities. In spite of fleeing her
father’s estate, she is captured by the Inquisition Axis, the “police force” of
this world, and is awaiting to be executed, only to be saved at the last moment
(I know, I know) by a group of elites lead by an infamous malfetto – The Reaper.
Adelina is taken under their wing and she finally finds out more about her
inheritance, her limits and her saviors.
might seem strange for you, especially if you read this book, but I completely
loved Adelina and I sort of… clicked with her. She’s so ambitious and stubborn
and I admired her desire for revenge, even if her decisions weren’t always the
best. Forced to betray a lot of those close to her heart and abandoned in the
end as well, she delves in a world of darkness and self-destruction that could’ve
been avoyded if only someone had paid more attention to her insecurities. I
actually cried a couple of times for the things she had to go through, because
the heartbreak she must’ve constantly felt was saddening to no end.
trying in vain to win Father over. 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.”
truly cared about The Dagger Society – the bunch of young elites that saved her
– and she was able to create wonderful altough fragile friendships with some of
them. Unfortunately, the losses, the unimaginable power awaiting at the top of
her fingers, the self-loathing and the deep fear of never belonging will take
their toll on her. Add those to the overwhelming pull to hate and fear and her
dark past when she met no acceptance and you’ll create a lonely, broken,
desperate monster. She’s the Darkling’s female version and she’ll become a true
and great villain — her transformation will be amazing to watch (damn, I sound
“You’re making a mistake,” I say. My voice emerges flat and cold. The voice of
someone new. “By not killing me now.”
on from our anti-heroine, the rest of this literary cast is as mesmerizing as
Adelina. No one is innocent, no one is honest and everyone has their own dark
secrets. Firstly, The Reaper, aka Enzo. I adored him. It might have been for
his emo personality and his overall badassery or for the fact that he’s pretty
bruised up on the inside, but Enzo’s strong and intense existence won me over. Also,
he might as well be the only one that put his faith in Adelina. Plus, he’s
quite smoking hot – literally and not literally.
there’s Rafaelle, a courtesan who became Adelina’s best friend, but who didn’t
return the feeling as honestly. I wasn’t exactly his fan, contrary to the fact
that his character combined seduction, loyalty (for Enzo) and a cunning mind. He
would’ve been perfect if not for his double-faced behaviour that helped Adelina’s
downfall from humanity.
Santoro, the most intriguing character of all. Hypocrite, manipulated and a naïve
lovesick puppy, he’s the leader of the Inquisition Axis and the one in charge
to capture her back. His hate for malfettos of any kind runs deep and he
resembles a madman, ready to do whatever it is in his power to bring them all
down, especially the young elites. But Teren’s not exactly a villain, nor is he
an innocent puppet. He’s a combination of the two and when you find out his
background and how he ended up being so hateful, you cannot help pity him. I
seriously hope he’ll realise his worth in the next installments.
sister, Violetta, was a big surprise and I was glad she was on Adelina’s side,
despite the few big secrets she kept hidden. The rest of The Dagger Society’s
members – Gemma, Michel, Lucent, Spider – were interesting and I would’ve liked
to know them better. Oh, and I hated the Queen.
of my friends, upon reading the synopsis, decided TYE is sort of like Shatter Me with a fantasy twist. I guess
you could say that. I guess you could also say that it’s a bit similar to Shadow & Bone. Or, as I did, you
could get The Winner’s Curse vibes
for no reason at all — I still don’t know what triggered them. What I’m trying
to say is that Marie Lu created a story that, if dissected, would probably ring
a bell with tons of other famous fantasy books, but if analyzed as a whole,
then you cannot help calling it an original idea. It’s bits and pieces that
trigger a small deja-vu, but the fact that the author managed to put them head
to head and develop them with her own brilliant ideas only increased my love
for this women’s talent.
the angels, Joy and Greed, Beauty and Empathy and Sorrow, Fear and Fury, sparks
of humanity. To feel emotion, therefore, to be human, is to be a child of the
Lu deserves a standing ovation for another gorgeously-written novel. While Legend will always have a special place
in my heart, TYE brings a mean game as a last effort to change my 2014’s best
reads hierarchy — and I think it succeeded in entering my top 5 from this
year. Nothing is flawless, so I do have some minor complaints. Firstly, the
world-building isn’t exactly the main element of the story and I would’ve loved
to see it a bit extended. On the other hand, I have a feeling my wish will come
true in the next installments. Secondly, as much as I’d like to overlook its
existence, some predictability was present in the plot. Still, it did not
interfere with my overall enjoyment of the book.
talk a bit about the last third of the book that was, hands-down, the best part
of the entire novel. It was the climatic ending I was hoping for, full of
sacrifice, loss, humanity and power. I honestly didn’t think that the author
would take such a risky path, but I guess it was a success considering
Adelina’s villainess only increased — despite my very very broken heart.
I want the sequel. Or maybe I want a re-written version of this one. No no no,
I still have hope that Lu will sew my broken heart back. Somehow. If not, I’m
gonna curse that freaking epilogue to the moon and back, because that last
pages filled my heart with hope and excitement, but weariness as well. Also, I
realized that Adelina’s story is just a small part of the malfettos’ universe
and I can’t wait to discover it all. *bring
on the awesomeness*
book completely and utterly wrecked me and I’m half excited to continue my
journey with Adelina, and half scared to experience the same level of anguish
and sadness all over again. All I know is there is still a lot — like A LOT —
of time until I get my hands on the next volume.
terrified, that something will happen to those you love. Think of the
possibilities. Does your heart clench with each thought? That, my friend, is
love. And love enslaves us all, for you cannot have love without fear.”
the Italian spin on world-building, to the constant rush, overwhelming feelings
and original characters, The Young Elites
blew away my expectations and delivered a story I honestly fell in love with.
Not exactly perfect, but amazing in its own way. It was badass, it was
gruesome, it was violent and it was the foundation for a new hit trilogy. My
dark self was joyous at such a compelling read. Verdict? I loved it and I
recommend you grab it next time you’re at a bookstore.