The Young Elites by Marie Lu

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Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 7th 2014

4 OUT OF 5 STARS

“It is pointless to believe what you see, if you only see what you believe.”

A deadly illness swept the land, and Adelina survived. Those who survived are marked, strange hair colours, darkened patches of skin…and some come out with supernatural powers. After discovered she’s more than normal Adelina flees her abusive home and finds herself in the company of the Daggers, a group of young elites hoping to overthrow the crown. Will Adelina’s new found powers be able to turn the tides?

I am so sick of chosen one stories, so thank goodness this is the furthest thing from one. Adelina is a marvelous protagonist. She’s been abused – and she isn’t better for it. Her abuse didn’t teach her to be humble and kind. Adelina is an incredibly fractured person full of darkness and that’s what drives her powers. Powers that come from fear and hate are obviously quite dangerous and Adelina struggles with this throughout the novel.

Teren’s point of view as the ‘villain’ of the novel was also helpful. No one in this book sees themselves as the bad guy and that’s important. Teren is killing because he thinks it’s the only way to help.

The world building is well done, but not quite complete. The powers of the Elites are intensely interesting but we only see a handful. There are several other lands mentioned but we only get a very brief glance at one of them. However, the characters are rich and Lu’s writing style is beautifully descriptive, but it still feels like something is missing here.

Enzo and the elites are clearly complex characters but I don’t feel like we get to see enough of them. What ultimately keeps this book from a perfect rating is that we spend a little too much time inside Adelina’s head. Sometimes that can work out great for a book but with Adelina, it gets repetitive pretty quickly. I don’t want to relive only slightly different memories of Violetta and her father over and over again when exciting things could be happening in the present!

I was surprised by the ending of this book. Several characters took turns that shocked me, but they didn’t feel fake or gimmicky. Adelina is not a hero, but she’s not quite a villain either. She’s trying to do good with an immense amount of bad inside of her. As far as I’m concerned she could go either way and I’m very excited to see where Lu will take this story.

For Fans Of: Six of Crows

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