Series: The Young Elites #1
Published by Penguin on 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Action & Adventure, General, Fantasy & Magic
Buy on: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks
From the New York Times bestselling author of the Legend series
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 amalfetto, 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 scarsthey 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.
“It is pointless to believe what you see, if you only see what you believe.”
The Young Elites has been on my TBR list for a long time, and is actually what prompted me to read Legend. While both of Marie Lu’s series are set in a dystopian society, The Young Elites is a darker story. It takes place after a pandemic that kills large percentages of the known population. Those who have survived were marked as different. Most have physical marks, but many are imbued with special “gifts.” These gifts take the form of various supernatural abilities. Adeline Amouteru is one of the survivors, and after being shunned for many years, she finds herself in a precarious situation.
Originally I thought this was a love triangle romance, but it’s not. Enzo, is a member of the Dagger Society that Adeline meets along the way. He wants to train her so that she can harness her powers, and learn to use them to an advantage. Teren is the leader of the Inquisition, and has his own reasons for wanting to bend Adeline to his will. Both male characters were very well written. I loved Enzo, but I never trusted him. He always seemed as if he had ulterior motives. As for Teren, he was horrid! I couldn’t stand him, and loved all of the fight scenes he was in. I kept hoping he’d die horrible. LOL! As for the romance, I thought it was built up very well, and I loved how black and white it wasn’t. The load of gray kept things interesting, and added a level of suspense.
As for the world building, this society is ruled by monarchies, and Adeline’s country is run by a bad king. He’s a drug womanizer who doesn’t take care of his people, and left many of them in poverty. His queen is the former King’s daughter. She believes she should be the ruler, and plots to do just that. We don’t learn too much about the Queen, so hopefully we’ll see more of her in the other novels. As of now, the main villain of this book is Teren, who does the Queen’s bidding. The other main population is filled with survivors of the Fever epidemic, and those that never contracted the disease. There’s a war brewing between these two groups of people, as the “normals” blame the survivors for everything that’s gone wrong in their society. The Young Elites are the top of the food chain, and act kind of like Robin Hood’s. Except they have their own mission besides saving other survivors.
“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.”
This story surprised me. It wasn’t as predictable as Lu’s Legend series, which I also loved, but held many surprises. Adelina was a great character, and she wasn’t who I thought she was. I can’t wait to see what she does in the sequel, The Rose Society, as this book ended on one hell of a cliffhanger. If I didn’t have so many unread books in my bedroom, I would’ve run out and bought it as soon as I finished the first book. It was that good! If you love dystopian stories with a dark atmosphere, shady characters, and political intrigue, then you definitely need to read The Young Elites.