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.
Actual Rating: 3.5 stars
I don’t think a book has ever given as many conflicting feelings as The Young Elites has. The start of the book bored me and I seriously considered DNFing, but around the 60% mark, the pace picked up and I started enjoying it a lot. I am not sure what to think of this book overall, and it took me forever to decide what to rate it.
I read and loved Marie’s Legend trilogy last year, so I was expecting great things from The Young Elites. After all, it is supposed to be like the backstory of Adelina becoming a villain, and her journey to the dark side. There aren’t nearly enough villain stories out there, so I was definitely intrigued by The Young Elites. I even featured it in a Waiting On Wednesday post last year. The concept was really interesting, and I couldn’t wait to see how it would play out.
At the start of the story, Adelina made a horrible mistake (no spoilers!), from which she was saved by the Young Elites. Many of the members of the organization opposed her, with one even saying that she shouldn’t be initiated because of she would probably betray them, and that she was a terrible person full of darkness (or something along those lines).
“It is pointless to believe what you see, if you only see what you believe.”
―The Young Elites by Marie Lu
I struggled with this part because yes, she made a mistake, but it was because of the powers that she didn’t know she had. When she was rescued, the Young Elites made her undergo a test, and the results said that she was strongly aligned with power, ambition, truth, fear, and fury. I understood that this was because of her awful childhood, and the shock of finding out that she has powers. The other Young Elites, though, seemed to immediately despise her because of it, and never gave her a chance to explain anything.
Almost all of the terrible things that she ends up doing were mistakes, and she never acted purposely to hurt anyone, unless her powers overwhelmed her (which really, was the Young Elites’ faults because they hardly trained her at first). There were times when she said that she liked having so much power, which makes sense since she has been powerless all of her life, but no one ever helped her try to control it. It frustrated me that everyone immediately assumed that she was a bad person, especially since the Young Elites themselves were murderers and criminals who never helped anyone unless they received something in return. I was so frustrated.
Adelina herself, though, was a pretty fantastic main character. She was honestly just trying to protect herself and to help the people that she cares about, and everyone (the public, the royal family, even the Young Elites) seemed to hate her based on circumstances she couldn’t control. I found it really interesting reading about her slow descent to the dark side, especially since this is a story about her turning into a villain. I’m super curious about how this will develop in future books.
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.”
-The Young Elites by Marie Lu
I did like that no one is completely evil or completely good in the book. Everyone has their personal beliefs, and I totally understood everyone’s motivations for their decisions, even if I personally didn’t think they did the right thing. I loved this because everyone exists in shades of grey. There is a story behind every person, and the author totally respected that.
Adelina’s relationship with Enzo was perfect as well. As soon as they met, I started shipping them intensely. Their relationship was slow-burning, which I loved. Both characters have their own issues to work through, so I’m glad the author didn’t use romance as the solution to all the problems, something that has happened all-too-often in books for me. The romance was so complicated, and I never knew what would happen next.
The beginning was kind of slow, and overburdened with flashbacks to Adelina’s childhood. I understood that the purpose was to set up for her eventual turn to the dark side and to explain the motivations behind it, but I was really overwhelmed with background information.
“Fear creates the strongest illusions. Everyone has darkness inside them, however hidden.”
-The Young Elites by Marie Lu
The pacing at the start was slow, but the action started to increase at around the 60% mark until I genuinely couldn’t put the book down. I was forced to go eat dinner halfway through, and I spent the entire time thinking about what was going to happen next. The ending totally blew my mind, and even though I had problems with the start of the book, it made me really excited to read the next book in this series. WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT? I have to know!
I LOVED the story world that Marie has set this book in. Few people survived the the blood fever epidemic years ago, and those who did are covered in markings. They are called Malfettos, and are looked down upon by society. The world of The Young Elites was so dark and complex. It is almost medieval-ish, which I thought was very cool.
What do I think of The Young Elites overall? I’m really not sure what to say. There were some parts that frustrated me, but I fell in love with this book at the end. I’ve never written a review this long before, which says a lot about what I have to say about this book. I deliberated for a long time about what to rate The Young Elites, and I ended up giving it 3.5 stars. Because of the shocking ending, I will definitely be picking up the next book in this series, The Rose Society, and I can’t wait to see what happens next for Adelina.