Title: The Young Elites
Author: Marie Lu
Rating: 6.5/10 (What this means)
Publication: October 7, 2014
Recommendation: Sure, read it if you have nothing else handy, or if you LOVED Legend.
My Reading Method: ALA Sneak Peek ARC (Thanks Penguin! You’re amazing!)
“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.”
***WARNING-MY REVIEWS OFTEN CONTAIN SPOILERS! READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!!***
Ok, so I’m actually going to do my best to NOT give away anything major here. I may update this entry later with more detail after the book comes out, but for the moment I’m going to do my best to be a little vague. I’ve never gotten such a coveted ARC before and I can see the power of it going to my head if I’m not careful.
Sooo… The Young Elites.
I got this book after standing in a MAJORLY long line at ALA. For real. Marie Lu is one popular lady. (And super adorable, I might add. I love her fashion sense.)
Earlier in the day I attended an Author Coffee Klatch and was fortunate enough to have Ms. Lu as one of the authors that I got to spend time with at lucky table number 22. She (and the sheer excitement of the librarians at my table) convinced me that I wanted to read this book, like ASAP, which surprised me.
Because… let me share a secret with you… I didn’t really like Legend. It was not my cup of tea. I wrote a review about it here in 2010 and to be completely honest I didn’t finish out the series. I really thought Legend was just… eh, so-so. It was a take it or leave it kind of book for me and I never regretted my inability to finish the trilogy.
So what about The Young Elites? That’s why we’re here, right?
However, some of the same reasons I didn’t particularly fall in love with Legend also appear in The Young Elites. Such as:
*PS- BEWARE OF POSSIBLE SPOILERS… I DON’T WANT TO HEAR YOUR WHINING*
- The voices all sound the same to me. It was a good thing Marie Lu labels the chapters by the POV (and I truly had to pay attention to that detail) because they felt interchangeable. For the book to be saturated with such a variety in perspectives, it was difficult for me to swallow that they all had similar thought patterns or would make comparable choices.
- A major conflict in the book annoyed me to death. On page 134 (of the ARC) I groaned aloud in frustration. It was… predictable. And I hated it a little bit. I had to put the book down and walk away for a long minute. It was a conflict I have certainly read before, and do not look forward to in a storyline.
- Cliffhanger. Dun dun dun. Kind of. I don’t know why I expected anything different. Of course there will be another book.
But truthfully… overall, I had these same issues with Legend, so I can confidentially say that if you liked Lu’s previous series (you know who you are, I see all your ‘I love DAY!’ posts all over Goodreads), you’re probably going to love this one because…
I actually really enjoyed The Young Elites! Like, waaaaaay more than Legend. Maybe I simply liked the content better, I don’t know. I was always a sucker for characters with powers. Yet, my absolute-number-one favorite part of the book is that you get this special glimpse, from even the beginning (EVEN in the book blurb by the publisher), that you MIGHT be reading from the perspective of a future anti-hero. (“I am tired of being used, hurt and cast aside… It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.”– the About) Which I LOOOVED. It kept me reading. It kept me wanting more. I really WANTED Adelina to be straight up evil, and reading that struggle was honestly really refreshing.
(NOTE: During the author coffee klatch at ALA Ms. Lu did tell us that this was from the perspective of- basically- a teenage girl Darth Vader or Magneto. So perhaps I was expecting her to turn evil all along and was looking for clues. Though who cares… it was The. Best. Part. It hooked me then and there and I ended up standing in that hour-long line in the exhibits.)
And come on, I love a good story about a group of assassins… which is basically the Dagger Society.
The world Lu creates is lovely. I can forgive a lot in a book if I enjoy the imagery, which I certainly did with The Young Elites. This also is the type of story cosplayers are going to eat up. (And I wonder if this would make a good movie… I’m thinking perhaps… a good director and a talented costume designer could have a lot of fun with this story!)
I’m actually a huge fan of the ending. I thought Marie Lu was spot on with this one. I liked that it was neither shocking, nor really what I expected. It was kinda perfect, really.
So who should read this book:
- Fans of Marie Lu’s Legend will love it
- Someone looking for a quick read
- Readers that enjoy a character with anger, fear, and an abundance of darkness
- Someone that isn’t easily frustrated with very common YA ‘conflicts’
- Readers 14 and up. (There is some discussion of ‘consorts’ so while sexual content is not explicit, it is implied.) Amazon currently has this listed as 12 and up, but I’m not sure I would have been ready for it in middle school, personally.
I’m looking forward to book number 2!!
NOTE: People keep referring this to be like x-men + Assassins Creed 2 + Game of Thrones… and I can see the X-Men/Assassins Creed 2 elements, but absolutely nothing really reminded me of GoT. (Y’all are reaching.)
Librarians- this book is going to be hot. You’ll need a copy for your library.
My review is also available on Goodreads and on Amazon.
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