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Monday, February 9, 2015

Review: The Young Elites by Marie Lu

The Young Elites by Marie Lu
Series: The Young Elites #1
Publication Date: October 7, 2014
Publisher: G. P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
A Young Adult novel
Pages: 355
Genre: Fantasy • Romance • Science Fiction

      buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
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'm completely disappointed in this novel. I love Marie Lu's Legend, and I bought Prodigy and still need to read it but I know I will love it because I am head over heels for June and Day. But The Young Elites? Was like eating plain tofu. Bland. Bland Characters. Bland plot. Bland world-building. I didn't feel anything while I was reading. Not what I felt from Legend. Nor was I remotely interested in this strange Renaissance Italy high fantasy.

I feel as thought I said my peace in that paragraph, but I'm going to divulge a little more on my thoughts about The Young Elites.

The anti-hero that Marie Lu introduces, Adelina, is a nice change of pace from the typical young adult protagonist that fights for the good of the world/humanity/people... you catch my drift. Adelina fights for herself. She is unpredictable. A ticking time bomb. Her past is filled with misery, hatred, and abuse from her own father and society itself as she is deemed a malfetto. The darkness inside Adelina dominates her well-being. And it is talked about numerous times within the text, to the point of redundancy. While Adelina's stark and dismal character has a strong air about her, she becomes weighed down by curt attempts to pacify her character. With love. And lots and lots of blushing. The structure of writing when it comes to portraying Adelina's softer, sensitive side when it comes to an air of romance is watered down and poor and choppy. It seemed as if Adelina was on a switch, she was either extremely entranced by beauty or she was swallowed by dread and hatred and darkness. Throw a handsome prince and Violetta into the mix and there's her entire character in a nutshell.

The side characters, mainly the Young Elites themselves, were cookie cutters. Their names escape me as I write this. Though their supernatural powers were kickass. One of the many characters in this novel, Enzo really stood out more than the others, notwithstanding the fact that he is the love interest. And Teren's side of everything that went on had to be the most evoking and interesting part of the entire book and he had maybe five chapters to himself tops. Raffaele was hands down one of my favorites in how elegant and knowledgeable he is, and I wished he had more chapters written in his point of view, something to balance out the dismal view of Adelina or help grasp the Dagger Society a little easier.

For a novel that seemed fueled by action, The Young Elites pacing is stiflingly slow. But when things were getting good, they got good. One attribute of Marie Lu that I was happy stayed consistent. I enjoyed the unpredictability of The Young Elites, happy that I was able to be shocked every now and again.

Except for the flying sting rays, I was just confused about their purpose or their effectiveness in the story.

Final Summation: The Young Elites struggled to grasp my attention or really provoke me to engage. The world is fraught with political strife, and we follow the views of a damaged Adelina as she struggles with herself, the ghosts of her past, the Young Elites, her powers, and love. She can either be an extremely powerful character or a callow one. It depends on the chapter. Paired with slow pacing, a strange world, and blushing every other line, I recommend to borrow rather than purchase.

Two targets slayed, such a let down from a pro