Book: The Young Elites (The Young Elites 1) by Marie Lu
Release Date: October 7th 2014
Rating: 2,5 out of 5 stars
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.
After having read the Legend trilogy by Marie Lu I had high expectations about this book. Even though I had heard some negative things about this series so far but that did not kill my want to read this book. But I was sorely disappointed. A case of great idea but poor execution.
This book felt all kinds of messy to me. The writing was bland and boring. There were scenes where it felt the writing was just; ‘and then, and then, and then’. It was not great to read. I wanted to skim parts. The point of view was also messy. The most chapters were in first point of view from Adelina. But there were chapters in third point of view of other characters. It only served as to pull me out of the story. I don’t think it deepened any of those characters out like Enzo. I also had a hard time picturing some of the surroundings. Nothing came to life to me. The pacing was slow. It just trudged on but not a lot actually happened until the last quarter of the book. There was little that seemed of meaning.
‘No one wants you to be yourself. They want you to be the version of yourself that they like.‘
I felt the characters in general were flat which was also due to the writing mentioned above. Adelina is suppose to be this morally gray character, an anti-hero. She’s hurt, feels betrayed, jaded. With her background, a dead parents and an abusive parent with a slight strained relationship with her sister this is no surprise. But there was no tension for me as to what decisions she would make. She walked the route that has been walked many times before. She made a choice she thought would be right at the time, to keep someone safe. I don’t think that makes someone an anti-hero. She also made a mistake in a battle which got misunderstood. She didn’t mean to. Perhaps her decision at the end is what carries her to anti-hero but certainly none of the other things in this book truly do in my mind. I just had higher expectations of this anti-hero aspect to the story as everyone raved about that when talking about this book.
The revelations of her sister nearing the end of the book were interesting. Little kids do things sometimes to protect others, to protect themselves, even if that isn´t always the right thing to do. The ending which introduced us to a new character also intrigued me. More than the characters that were shown to us throughout the book.
The powers surfacing after a sickness in children reminds me strongly of The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken. Except that was well done, had more thought to it. In this book it almost felt like an afterthought, thrown in half thought out. I did like seeing her learn to develop her powers. She didn’t have a handle on it straight away. Her having to learn about her illusions and how to create them more detailed was incredibly realistic. I liked the crystals that signified what kind Adelina was. But I don’t think enough of that was incorporated into the book.