Series: The Young Elites #1
Published by Putnam Books for Young Readers on October 7th 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Source: ARC Tour
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<p><em>I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.</em></p>
<p>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.</p>
<p>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.</p>
<p>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.</p>
<p>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.</p>
<p><em>It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.</em></p>
Wow. Wow wow wow wow wow! That’s exactly what I thought the entire time I was reading this book and upon closing it when I was finished. Marie Lu knocked it right out of the park once again with the first book in her new series, The Young Elites.
The Young Elites is about a girl scarred and marked from a terrible blood fever that ravaged the people and lands, leaving the infected adults dead and marking the children. Malfettos. In special cases some of these malfettos developed strange powers. They are feared and often murdered if discovered. Adelina is just such a case as she discovers her capability under duress, killing her father. Adelina escapes her sentenced death with the help of a secret group of such special individuals known as the Young Elites or as they like to call themselves, the Dagger Society. The group help Adelina control her terrifying power of using fear and fury to create illusions and recruit her help in taking down the King and Queen so that their own Prince can take over his rightful place at the throne. But when the Inquisitor threatens her sister’s life, Adelina is unsure what side she should be on.
I absolutely loved Adelina. Talk about complicated. She was scared and alone but holy hell that girl had a fire in her… She was dangerous and even a bit frightening at times, which was pretty spectacular to read. Adelina’s power is one to fear. She has the capability to cause a lot of damage and she cannot always control it. And the more she fears and feels fear from the people around her, the more diabolical she can get. She could go from weak in one moment to downright twisted at times and I loved it. It wasn’t only that form of evil in her that made me like her but also how vulnerable she was. Adelina was desperate to feel cared for and took betrayal wholeheartedly. She was so relatable on that front. She was also one of those characters that required a lot of me yelling at her through the pages. But it made me that much more attached to her every move.
There are a few point of view changes that take place. At first I was worried about it, that I might confuse these characters up, but it happened only a few times and those alternative points of view are pretty short. But we meet other important characters to the story, friends and enemies. Enzo was by far my favorite. A prince stripped of his crown by a sister who wanted the throne for herself and used his status as marked as an excuse. He had the ability to wield fire and heat and he was… intense. He remained a little bit of a mystery at times but his affection for Adelina was one I couldn’t help but root for. On the opposite end of the spectrum we have the Inquisitor, Teren. Even though he was definitely the bad guy, I couldn’t help but find him incredibly intriguing. I kept wavering from wanting him dead to knowing all his inner secrets. He had his own motives for destroying the malfettos and I hope to learn more about his background in upcoming books.
For a fantasy novel, The Young Elites was the total package. The imagery was beautiful and amazing, drawing me into the world and not wanting to let go. There were bits and pieces of other genres mixed in – a little bit of a Dystopian vibe along with some paranormal elements thrown in with the talents and powers of the Elites. The plot moved along smoothly and right from the very first page. I easily finished this quickly, which is quite the feat for me. I just did not want to put it down! The characters were complex and interesting. The storyline completely unique with loads of surprises thrown in until the very end. There was a time or two my jaw dropped in shock and I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to be mad or excited about the twists and turns the plot would take. In the end, it all came together and built me up so much that I could not come down well after finishing. I have so much anticipation for the next book already and it is a year away! This was by far one of my favorite books of the year and may be on the path to an all-time favorite series much like Lu’s other popular series, Legend. Bravo!