Title: The Young Elites
Author: Marie Lu
Genre: Dystopian, Fantasy, Supernatural, YA Fiction, Romance, Action
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 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 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.
Plot: This story is an action story. With romance on the side. (Think of the first book ‘Legend’ with the hot-and-heavy but not so heavy in the works.)
The story starts off with Adelina almost being burned at the stake for being a mutated human being. (I would spell the word, but I think I would ruin its musical quality.) She is saved by the crown prince Enzo. He turns out to be the leader of the Daggers a group of the mutated teens turned superhuman by powers. Adelina meets and befriends Raffaele a consort who can sense other powers. She is tested to become a Recruit for the Daggers and succeeds. She starts training slowly with Raffaele, but she doesn’t end up successfully. She has the potential to do more, though. Adelina sees Teren, the antagonist, at the Fortunata Court where Raffaele works, and where the Daggers hid under. Teren threatens her, saying he’ll hurt her sister if she doesn’t give up information about the Daggers to him. Adelina, frightened, agrees. When the Daggers leave for a horse race, to get closer to the king to kill him, Adelina escapes her ‘prison’ and goes to see Teren. She gives him minimal information, only including a slice of what she knows and faking ignorance. Adelina leaves the Inquisition Tower and sees the horse race the Daggers are at. She sees the Star Thief a Young Elite who can control the minds of animals riding a horse in the race. She finds out that the Stat Thief is a noble girl named Gemma. Gemma wins the race, but Teren orders all of the malfettos (See? I tried.) to not be allowed to enter the races. Gemma is grief-stricken and is almost attacked, but Adelina saves her at the last moment using her powers of illusion. Adelina races back to her ‘prison’ and is picked up by Enzo to train.
Her powers strengthen under Enzo’s tutelage. She becomes a powerful force to reckon with. She asks Enzo to go on her first mission with the Daggers, and he agrees. She goes with them to set fire to the ships during a festival. They succeed, and Teren confronts Adelina in the aftermath. Dante, or Spider, sees them before Enzo duels against Teren. Teren takes off. She celebrates with the other Daggers and the Daggers’ patrons. She kisses Enzo, only to find out that Enzo was, or is, in love with a girl who looked similar to Adelina. She keeps loving him, though, unable to control herself.
She talks to Teren another time and takes Violetta her beloved sister from him. Violetta is discovered to be an Elite with the power to cancel out other Elites’ powers.They race into the streets and see the destroyed Fortunata Court. The sisters hide in the catacombs before coming out and seeking the Daggers. They form a plan to attack. The king is killed by Teren in the night, and the Daggers seek out Teren during the announcement for the king’s funeral. Teren has Raffaele in his clutches. Enzo challenges Teren to a duel on the date of the funeral. The Daggers prepare to wage an all-out war on the Inquisitors. The funeral comes, and the two ex-friends, Enzo and Teren, duel. They fight, and Adelina tries to help. In the end, she hurts Enzo, killing him. She is knocked unconscious by the power draining. She ends up raging when she recovers. Raffaele determines that she and Violetta have to leave the Daggers. The two ends up leaving after Adelina has a mental breakdown. Adelina decides to form her own Young Elite society.
The story switches to the princess of another country. She hears of the news about the king and Enzo’s death. And she prepares her Young Elite army.
The story ends in a cliffhanger without any closure. You don’t know what happens to Adelina. You don’t know what the princess will do. You know she is a Young Elite who can bring back the dead.
This is a good paced plot. It’s interesting and keeps you going.
Character Development: There are many characters in this book. Enzo. Teren. Adelina. Violetta. I will name only the narrator. The main one, at least. Which is our White Wolf. Adelina.
Adelina. She is an interesting character. I can’t say if I hate or love her darkness. I might align with those stones like Adelina did. I’m a passionate person fueled by rage. I have an odd connection with Adelina. I can’t say that I love that she falls into darkness. I felt like it was interesting but not amazing. I like anti-heroes as much as the next girl, but I think that Adelina is an interesting case. She isn’t entirely a good or bad person. I can tell there is some goodness in her heart. She loves Violetta. She loved Enzo. I don’t like that she has romance with Enzo. I could tell that was coming. The relationship was awkward and more passion than I wanted or needed. I don’t like the romance between them. I do want to see how she grows. She is weakened at first, but she grows into a powerful Elite. I can’t wait to see her grow.
Problems: There seem to be a few problems. Let me say that these are quite minor problems.
The romance is annoying. I knew it was coming. Of course, what author could resist adding in romance to their story? None. It was interesting. I love that Raffaele hints that he loved Enzo. I do like when books add in gay characters. I am a big supporter of gay rights. Definitely.
Another problem? I don’t like the fact that there is nothing about the other pasts. Enzo. Teren. Raffaele. I want to know more about them. I want to know more. Their past is hinted. Who is Raffaele? Why was he a consort? I don’t get that. Consort? How did he end up like that? That can’t just happen. There has to be a reason. There has to be a reason why Teren turned out ‘evil’. There has to be reasons. But this book doesn’t have it. But I know how Marie Lu works. She’ll end up giving out their backstories soon enough. (In the next book perhaps?)
The cliffhanger is just terrible. I don’t like it. I want to know more. I don’t think I can really wait for the next book. Marie Lu, get writing. Come on! I need the next book. Soon. Right now.
Good points: This story was fantastic. The plot was amazing. The characters were interesting. Sadly, we didn’t learn enough about Enzo or Teren. I wish I had more of them. They seem to be tortured from their pasts.
I do like Adelina. To an extent. She seems to take darkness too far. But I guess that is how the world works. There are the dark characters. And I like that she’s an anti-hero. I truly do. Anti-heroes are interesting. They have reasons to be dark and ‘evil’. They justify them. And why do they do that? A fantastic question. One I cannot answer.
Another good point is the plot. I know I summed it in the beginning of this ‘good points’ part, but I will expand on it. The plot is not fast or slow. You get more about the character. The plot is interesting. You don’t get too much of anything. You get only a few things since it’s just from Adelina’s point of view. You get to know things from the anti-hero’s perspective. You get to see it in an interesting way.
If you ask me, I think that you should read this book. It’s a good book. I think that if you like supernatural and fantasy elements to Marie Lu’s writing, this is the book for you.
Recommended: If you like an anti-hero. If you like to have a main character turning to darkness.