The Young Elites by Marie Lu *A few spoliers*
I have another review for you bookies. This will be my second blog post for the new year with more to come. I have been on a reading high!
My bestie Mhay @bookishventures basically told me I HAD to read this series so I ended up buddy reading it with two of my bookstagram friends Belinda @bookstorm and Jess @jessafshar. It took about three days to complete it and although it was an entertaining read and the pacing of the story was good, I can't say I loved it! Read the synopsis below.
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.
There weren't any moments where I felt I wanted to shelf it and for me that's good thing. I was very much intrigued by this story and its deeper meaning.
Adelina, the main character, and others like her are considered outcasts and abominations in her nation. She is a survivor of a plague that left her with markings and VERY powerful gifts. Not only is she outcast by society but also by a cruel father who is embarrassed of her and willing to sell his own daughter to rid his family of the shame. He also treats her "seemingly" pristine sister, Violetta, with higher regard because she is without flaws in his eyes. Adelina and others like her are considered 'malfettos'. The interesting thing about this particular aspect of the story is that it speaks to how we deal with people we view as "different"; how we ostracize those we fear or don't understand. In Adelina's case alienation from her father and the opinions of others creates distrust and fear of people which fuels the "darkness" inside of her; a darkness that throughout the story has its consequences. She runs away when her father tries to bargain her to which he gives chase and very violently tries to get her to come home. Subsequently, their encounter leads to Adelina murdering him by "accident". She, in turn, is sought by the Inquisition, caught by Teren, the former leader of the Inquisition Axis, who works for the king and wants all Young Elites/malfettos abolished. She is rescued by Enzo from being burned at the stake. Enzo is the leader of the Dagger Society and Prince of Kenettra. He recruits other Young Elites like them. Upon integrating Adelina, Enzo and the other Dagger Society members discover she has powers that surpass any of the powers they have.
What I really like about this book was the era in which it took place; the Renaissance era. There was something very entrancing about the atmosphere of the story. I also loved the relationship between Adelina and Violetta. It is discovered in the latter part of the story that Violetta is unmarked but a malfetto as well and has the ability to supress energy. Adelina becomes angry with Violetta for never defending her, for keeping a secret and resented her for being their father's favorite, but she began to understand that Violetta needed to keep her secret safe in order to protect her sister. Their bond was endearing especially the memories they shared. I was not a fan of all of Adelina's teenage angst. She fed her fears so her powers operated on that. She was constantly apologizing for all the people she killed. If Adelina was as "dark" on the inside as implied, some unapologetic behavior may have been more fitting, but I suppose at 17 years old she was peeling back the layers of her frazzled existence and the thoughts that she wasn't loved. Raffaele, the messenger and consort for the Dagger Society, saw Adelina's potential in the beginning. I was hoping at some point he would express to her what he saw in her to help build her confidence so that she may begin to abandoned her fears and control her powers in a more beneficial way, but he did not. I was not clear as to why he didn't. I also was not a fan of the incessant "heated" moments between Adelina and Enzo.
There's always room for a little romance, but I felt these moments were a bit to frequent and more time could have been spent developing Adelina's adjusting to her power which was the power of Illusion. I thought that was an ingenius power to have; the ability to make people feel see or think things that aren't there or happening. I liked this book and enjoyed it enough to continue on in the series. I cannot have a full sound opinion about this story until I finish The Rose Society and Midnight Star but these are just my notions for the first book. I would definitely give it a read!!