Title & Author: The Young Elites by Marie Lu
Genre: YA Fantasy
Published: October 7th 2014 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Where this book came from: I own it
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Adelina lives in Kenettra, a blood fever took many lives ten years ago including her mothers. Many others were left ‘marked’ with a change in hair, skin or eye coloring. They are referred to by the people as malfettos and treated with prejudice and superstition. Some malfettos have abilities/powers and are called young elites, the Inquisition Axis hunts them because they see them as a threat to the population. One night changes Adelinas life when she realizes she is not just a malfetto with silver hair but a young elite. The Inquisition Axis blames her for her father’s murder and are about to put her to death when she is saved by Enzo. Enzo is a young elite, head of a society known as the Daggers and he wants to train Adelina. The Daggers goal is to overthrow the crown so that malfettos will no longer have to live in secret and in fear. However, a young elites powers are effected by their emotions and Adelina’s are dark and bitter so her powers become violent and difficult to control. She becomes a danger to herself and those around her.
My thoughts & reactions
The story is one of turmoil, within Adelina as well as between the Daggers and the Inquisition. I enjoyed watching the individual motives and plans unfold and entwine; in the end nothing goes as planned.
Marie Lu’s writing is smooth and fast-paced, with a poetic quality to it. While I couldn’t relate to Adelina much I really enjoyed her as a character. She offered a unique point of view, it is unclear at the end of the book if she is hero or villain, so often the main character is the hero. I enjoyed that it was darker and grittier than many other books like it. Enzo was a more relatable character for me, and I saw a little of the Darkling (Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo) in him. They seemed to share the same charming, ambitious and ruthless qualities.
I hear X-men reference when people described Marie Lu’s The Young Elites. I assume because of the powers and abilities. However I saw some character traits in common as well. Mystique of X-men is a character that is on both the good and the bad side, and I felt Enzo shared some Magneto qualities.
I also wanted to reference another story, or saying rather. An old Cherokee story tells of two wolves within each of us, one good and one bad. The one that wins is the one that we feed. I felt that this perfectly described the war within Adelina, and on top of that Enzos name for her as a young elite is white wolf. Just something to ponder.
The worst part of this book, for me, was the scene with Raffael, Adelina and the stones. They are trying to discover which ones she aligns with. This scene felt awkward to me, I can’t quite put my finger on why.
The best part, while I enjoyed the whole story, was the epilogue! It blew me away. I can’t think of another YA book I have read that dangled such interesting characters in our face right at the end. I can already tell I am going to love Maeve. Before the epilogue I wanted to read The Rose Society but now I NEED it!
To view this review on my YouTube channel novelcravings – The Young Elites Review