Series: The Young Elites #1
Published by GP Putnam's Sons (10.7.2014)
Genres: Dystopian, High Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover, 355 pages
Source: I own it
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.
The gods gave us powers because we were born to rule.
I was DYING to read this book ever since I heard about it, because I love Marie’s world building and the idea sounded awesome. Then, some not-so-great reviews started trickling in. I lowered my expectations. But, I still had hope, because I can’t imagine it being bad if it was written by Marie Lu.
The result? I was blown away! The first thing you need to know is that this book is dark, dark, dark. Our main character, Adelina, is a very dark character. She’s far from a heroine – I’m not even sure she could qualify as an anti-heroine. She craves power and revenge, and embraces the darkness that is festering inside of her. I LOVED it, you guys! It was so refreshing to read about a main character who is a little bit evil. But, she wasn’t entirely evil. She still had moments where you could see the good in her, and that made you want to save her. To cheer for her redemption. I recently read a very interesting interview on Side B where Marie said that was exactly what she was going for:
I wanted to create a character who is a little like Walter White from Breaking Bad. Someone you can see going down the wrong path and you just want them to turn around. I wanted her to be somebody that you don’t always agree with, that you could see she’s making mistakes but you still root for her, like you want the best for her and I wanted to make sure she wasn’t totally unsympathetic even when she does terrible things (spoiler removed). Because I didn’t want people to go “I want her to die already. I don’t care what happens to her”. I want her to still be relatable. It was a bit of a challenge walking that line. Can I make her likable enough but still have her villainous in some ways?
(Thank you Lyn Ching for that wonderful interview! I really enjoyed reading it!)
I was extremely impressed with Adelina as a character, and I think Marie Lu was very brave to write her MC the way she did. I’m sure this is the reason that most people don’t like it, but for me it worked. It really worked. Why? Because Adelina’s character called to me. She didn’t take shit from anyone, and when she was horribly mistreated, she made that person pay. Not many of us can deny that we’ve had that feeling. How many times has someone done you wrong, and you wanted to take revenge? I think Adelina’s character was beautifully done. Kudos, Marie!!
The idea of malfettos and the Young Elites was AWESOME. I’ve read plenty of books with special powers, but this one was different. All of the people with powers were marked in some way: Strange hair or eyes, dark markings, even stripes of discoloration on fingernails. Very cool! I also love that they each had their own code name: The Windwalker, Star Thief, The Architect, The Spider, The Reaper, The Messenger, White Wolf. Love love love!
The alignments were also very interesting. I had a little bit of trouble grasping the concept completely, but it was intriguing! The testing was awesome!
Oh, and baliras! (Think: giant flying sting rays) SO COOL.View Spoiler »So, THE ENDING. I didn’t cry when Enzo died, probably because I was so damn shocked! But still, it sucked. And the fact that Adelina pretty much killed him sucked even worse! The epilogue was pretty awesome though – I’m so excited about Maeve!! Half blonde, half black hair? And a pet tiger?! YES PLEASE. Plus, it gives me hope for Enzo making an appearance in the next book. BUT – if Tristan is messed up because she brought him back from the dead, what effect will it have on Enzo? Will Enzo view Adelina as his enemy?? « Hide Spoiler
I am extremely eager to see where this series goes! In the interview Marie says that the next book will be even darker…I can’t wait!!
“Sometimes, the only way to set things right is to do what’s difficult.”
Writing style: 4/5
Overall rating: 4.5/5