Review: The Young Elites by Marie Lu

The Young Elites (The Young Elites, 1)
by Marie Lu
Publication Date: October 7, 2014
Genre(s): Fantasy, Adventure
Pages: 344

GOODREADS | AMAZON | INDIGO BOOKS
★★★★☆
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’m very excited to finally have this review out. I actually picked up this book years ago and to be honest, I couldn’t really get into it then. This second time around however, I was listening to the audiobook during any free time I had! If this isn’t a sign to give things a second chance, I don’t know what is. After finishing this book after about four years, I’m happy to give it a rating of 4 out of 5 stars.

After a devastating plague swept across the nation of Kenettra, striking a huge majority of the population, few of the infected survived. If they were fortunate enough to survive, they were unfortunately marked with scars. The survivors, mostly children, were branded as malfettos and seen as second-class citizens. Not only did the Amouteru family lose a mother, but they were now associated with a malfetto daughter. Some malfettos developed strange, inexplicable magical powers. These were known as the Young Elites, dangerous and to be avoided.

The story follows a young 16-year-old Adelina Amouteru, tired of being treated time and time again as a burden to her family. I really enjoyed this journey with Adelina discovering herself, developing her powers, and struggling between good and evil. It truly was a story about self-discovery, with basically no romantic plot. While I usually love a good romance, the story is strong without it. If anything, a love subplot would have overloaded the story. I did enjoy though, the flickering moments of lust that is realistic at the ages of the characters. There was a brief fling that was thrown in there, but the relationship felt a little unnatural and forced to me.

Character development was pretty amazing. There are many characters with rich, complex backstories (which I LOVE) and I hope we will get to dive even deeper into their stories later. I am not on board with Teren’s whole deal, but I can’t wait to see how his complicated storyline will unfold. I also really love the sister dynamic between Adelina and Violetta.

The ending of the book was kind of strange. I did NOT expect it at all, and I’m still not sure how I feel about it. Furthermore, although I like Adelina's whole revenge motive, it's kind of getting old -- and dare I say annoying -- because she antagonizes everyone she meets and is always jumping to defensive conclusions. I completely understand her caution around others because she's constantly being screwed over by all the people she thinks she can trust, but I’m curious as to how Marie Lu will be able to change it up in the next book. The epilogue hints a little about what's to come, and it's quite intriguing. The epilogue does well to tie up the ends of the book and keep the suspense for the sequel. I’m excited to explore more.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was extremely well written and well-paced. Never did I feel that events were rushed, or that there were parts moving too slowly. I love the world Marie Lu has created, and simply adore the Italian feature! If you're looking for a book with some kickass female leads with little to no romance, you should definitely give this book a read. I absolutely love the Legend Series by this same author, and I'm so glad I gave this book another shot. I can't wait to see what happens next in The Rose Society.

I know I'm pretty late in starting this series, so if you’ve read or started this series, what do you think about it? Let me know in the comments!

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