In a good way.
I recently finished reading The Young Elites and I desperately need someone to talk to about it but THERE IS NO ONE so I’m making a review instead.
If you’ve read the Legend trilogy before, then your familiar with Marie Lu’s (awesome and fabulous) writing. I loved the Legend trilogy and for a second, I was worried that The Young Elites might not be as good, but I’m telling you, it does not disappoint.
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 main character Adelina is a (very, very, VERY) far cry from the cool and collected June Iparis of Legend, but she is just as strong. Her character was well-developed throughout the whole book–her thoughts and emotions were successfully painted by Lu, making her a very complex character.
The story plays on a lot of dark themes. Adelina swims in a vengeful haze from her father’s maltreatment of her; her jealousy towards her somewhat perfect sister; her thirst to get back at all those who have wronged her. Put simply, Adelina is the villain the story. It’s very risky to make such an unstable and non-traditional character as the protagonist of the story, but Lu’s artful storytelling pulled it off perfectly.
While I have my own reservations on Adelina (perhaps it’s because there’s a sharp contrast between June’s levelheaded thoughts), I can’t see the book being told through a different point of view.
At first I thought it was another dystopian story set in the future, but it’s actually set in a medieval age of a different world altogether. Lu’s world-building is incredibly convincing–the way she described the different cultures and integrated familiar themes to let readers imagine the world she created was perfect. (Maybe the fact that I’m a gamer and the setting seemed familiar in some RPGs I’ve played also helped a lot.)
Perhaps the only things I didn’t quite like about this is the lack of dialogue and the fact that it seems like a prequel. I’m a sucker for good dialogues. I think it’s the only way that will honestly depict the growing relationships of characters, so I wasn’t entirely gripped by the other characters and how Adelina feels about them. (Though I stll got the feels over the Adelina-Enzo moments.)
For the second point, I feel as though the second book (that is yet to come) is where the series should have begun because that’s where the story really begins. At the moment, it feels as though the book was just painting a background for the second book.
Still, it’s a great book. I couldn’t stop reading it–I finished it in less than five hours–and I’ve gasped, groaned, laughed, squealed and cried through it. If you enjoy fantasy, magic, action, romance and complex characters, then I definitely suggest reading this.