Review: THE YOUNG ELITES by Marie LuThe Young Elites by Marie Lu
Series: The Young Elites #1
Also in this series: The Rose Society
Published by Penguin Group USA on 2014
Pages: 355
Genres: Young Adult, Action & Adventure, General, Fantasy & Magic
Also by this author: The Rose Society
Paperback provided by My Wallet (purchased)

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From the New York Times bestselling author of the Legend series 
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.

I had no idea what to expect when I started reading this. I feel like everyone has read The Young Elites, but it has been a while since I even read a review for it, so I pretty much went in blind. I ended up really enjoying this story, with a few exceptions.

Adelina is a Malfetto. Malfettos were created when a blood fever swept through and killed half of the children. The remaining children were left scarred with strange markings on their body, and some were given powers from the fever. Those with powers are known as The Young Elites. They are hated by most and hunted by the Inquisitioners. Although both Adelina and her sister had the blood fever, Adelina was the one who was left scarred. Her father is convinced it is because she has some power. He pushes Adelina to discover her gift. Adelina’s gift come to her when she least expects it and turns her world upside down.

This book was different then I expected. The protagonist is disturbed. The author did a great job of setting her up for confusion. Adelina was raised by an abusive father. While her sister grew up knowing love and acceptance. Adelina was a disgrace to her household. Her condition made her father business crumble and cost her a normal childhood. Fear and insecurity keep Adelina from being honest with anyone in the story, including herself. I loved her tortured soul. She is faithful to her sister only in this story. The only person in her life who loved her without a motive. Her sister is mostly absent and we learn much about her in Adelina’s memories. People around Adelina find her distant and dangerous.

The great conflict in this book comes from someone who has never known love or acceptance. The only one that has ever been kind to her is someone she had to leave behind. Adelina is picked up by The Daggers, part of The Young Elites movement, before she is burned at the stake for having powers. Powers she had only been able to call on one time when she felt threatened. When she is approached by Teren, the leader of the Inquisitioners, and the one who is holding her sister captive. Adelina must choose to support The Young Elites or to turn them in to save her sister.

I felt bad for Adelina. She really struggles to do the right thing in this book. The right thing for her, the right thing for the cause, and the right thing for her sister. Adelina doesn’t know which one is right, she only knows she needs to save her sister. Complicating her situation even further is her love interest, Enzo, the leader of the Dagger, a group of The Young Elites. Enzo is the rightful heir to the kingdom of Kenettera. Enzo is a malfetto and cannot take the crown now that malfettos have no rights in the kingdom. Though Adelina has a really unique gift, but she needs The Young Elites to help her learn how to use it. They come along at just the right time to teach her how to use her power.

I enjoyed the angsty romance in this book. I didn’t like where it ended, but I can see that there is still hope. I loved the action in this book. I also loved that the protagonist may not be the good guy in this story. The world building was very well done. I could easily imagine the city of Estenzia. Even the clothes the characters wore were well described, making it easy for me to picture. This is a world I want to go back to. I was actually sad when I finished reading this.

The only issues I had with this book was that I didn’t see Adelina as a dark person. She is conflicted for sure, but characters kept referencing her dark side. I didn’t really see it. I felt like I was told it about it, and not shown it at all. I am hoping her dark side will be elaborated in the follow up book, The Rose Society. I will definitely be read the next book in this series and more from this author. I am glad I got a chance to read this.

My Rating

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Check out the Trailer for The Young Elites

About Marie Lu

I write young adult novels, and have a special love for dystopian books. Ironically, I was born in 1984. Before becoming a full-time writer, I was an Art Director at a video game company. Now I shuffle around at home and talk to myself a lot. 🙂

I graduated from the University of Southern California in '06 and currently live in LA, where I spend my time stuck on the freeways.

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