Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Young Elites by Marie Lu

The Young Elites
By Marie Lu
The Young Elites #1
Hardcover: 355 pages
Publication Date: October 7, 2014
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Rated: ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯
4 out of 5 Stars
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Categories: Dystopian, Psychic Powers, Young Adult

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.

I have come to expect certain things from dystopian novels. Among these, an over aggressive government, an outcast group among the population, and some sort of war waged between these two groups. The Young Elites does not fail to provide each of these three scenerios. The story is told from a dual point of view. On one hand, there is Adelina. On the other is Enzo. One thing that I would never expect, though, is a story told from the villain's point of view. And that is exactly what Adelina is. She is the x-factor, the creature that everyone wants on their side, yet is fearful of, for good reason. Her powers are untapped and unpredictable, wild and powerful. The feelings that she has for Enzo caused them to rage more out of control than ever before. Yet she does not want to be without him. These feelings are new and different. Is she in love with him? Possibly. I appreciated that Miss Lu did not jump into the whole, insta-love thing. It took time for feelings to develop between Enzo and Adelina. She is a broken girl. Abuse is an every day occurrence in her young life, with a father that hated her, a sister that pushed her away, and an entire town that was terrified of the markings of her curse. And she acted like a broken girl. Her wariness never fully went away, even when it seemed that the Young Elites had accepted her as one of their own. She still knew in her heart that she could trust no one fully.

Adelina is a calculating character. I never fully liked her, but I respected her power and intelligence. I was not able to connect with her in a way that made me like her though, sadly. It is tough to read an entire book with a character that the reader doesn't like, but somehow, it made the story more interesting. I never knew what to expect from her. It seemed one minute, she was able to trust the Young Elites, the next moment, she was ready to reveal their identity and location. Her mind changed at the drop of a hat, and her decisions were not thought out well. She reacted on feelings and instinct alone, which portrayed her character as very rash. I wasn't a huge fan, Miss Lu! Enzo's character is also cold and calculating. The only bit of feelings that he expresses, he regrets. Although his princely position as leader of the Young Elites, as well as The crown prince puts him in a vulnerable situation, his character is strong and powerful. He controls his power over fire extremely well, and he knows exactly what he is doing when it comes to a fight. His character is sexy and dangerous, my favorite kind! And then there is Taren. He is a total jackass, seriously. His character is focused on power, power, and did I mention, power? It is the only thing that concerns him. That, and his ability to gain more of it, which is his reasoning for doing everything.

The world building is done very well. Descriptions are detailed to the point where I can picture the world in my head. The setting is sometime in the late 16th, early 17th century, as far as I can tell. A plague swept through the lands while Adelina was a child, leaving behind either dead children or malfettos in its wake. Malfettos are children that are marked by the fever, either by oddly colored hair, eyes, or even scars on their bodies. Some of these children have strange powers. Powers that can control wind, fire, animals, and even minds. These ones with power are called The Young Elites, and they often use their abilities to stand up to government control. If the Queen had her way, all malfettos would be executed in the town square. If the Young Elites had their way, the King and Queen would be executed in the town square. It is a violent world, full of unnecessary death and war. Yet I found myself ultimately hoping for the death of the monarchs, and a cleansing of this world of the power and control they have over the less fortunate.

I truly did enjoy this story of violence and struggle, and I am looking forward to the next in the series! The ending was awful, with a cliff-hanger that makes me want to scream at Miss Lu! I am pretty sure I know exactly what will happen with Enzo, but not being completely positive drives me crazy. I can't believe it was ended the way that it was, dammit! I am growing more and more fond of the entire dystopian genre, although it is rather predictable. I feel that the reason behind it is basically: our world right now seems to be falling apart. A dystopian-like situation in the next fifty years is not a far fetched idea anymore. Especially the ones stemmed from ultimate government control. Hey, I'm not a conspiracy theorist at all, but is the idea really that impossible? I feel that is why this genre was so unsettling for me to read at first. Just something to think about (:

"“Be true to yourself. But that's something everyone says and no one means. No one wants you to be yourself. They want you to be the version of yourself that they like.”" -Adelina

"What if I do become one of them? What more do I have to lose? I'm no safer on my own than if I remain with them. But if I want to survive, I need to stay and prove myself. And in order to do that, I not only need to learn how to control my energy- I also need to make some allies. Some friends. Setting out alone hasn't exactly worked well for me. I shiver when I remember the reaction I had to the nightstone, how whatever Raffaele did had forced a darkness from within me and brought it to the surface. What if that's who I am?" -Adelina

"The only way to clamp down on my energy is to erase my emotions, and so I fold them each away, one by one. My sorrow turns to anger, then to ice-cold fury. My soul curls in one itself in defense. I am gone. I am truly gone. I am not sorry.” -Adelina

"“Don't forget one weapon just because of another," he says. A flicker of approval flashes in his eyes. "Or you'll find yourself skewered in no time." "Then maybe you should know which weapons are real.”" -Adelina & Enzo

Related Reviews
| Legend | Prodigy | Champion |

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