Review: The Young Elites, Marie Lu

Sometimes, you find a book that takes you by surprise. Whether it’s because of the plot, the characters, the uniqueness of the story, the writing or just overall the rumors versus what you really feel while reading it… well, sometimes there are some books that make you wonder what the heck you just read. I’m glad to say that The Young Elites was that kind of book โ€“ in a positive, veeeeery dark way.

A WORLD FILLED WITH DARKNESS

โ€œSome hate us, think us outlaws to hang at the gallows.
Some fear us, think demons to burn at the stake,
Some worship us, think us children of the gods.
But all know us.โ€

๐Ÿ’ญ

When I picked up The Young Elites, I hadn’t read a fantasy / dystopian book in a long, long time. I’ll admit it: I had grown a bit tired of the genre, everything felt the same. Getting back into that genre with The Young Elites was a wise choice, however: the concept was intriguing and most of it all, the whole story kind of took my breath away, for many reasons.

In this dystopian world, a deadly illness spread over Adelina’s nation, leaving only some children to survive with strange markings. Malfettos. Hated by everyone, considered as evil and just plain wrong. Some of them have magical powers. Some others are just redeemed as useless. But everyone is afraid of them for sure. Basically, that’s the blurb, and a whole lot of other things are happening as we follow Adelina, our main character, through a crazy, dark, complex adventure in this world filled with magic, treason and more.

The Young Elites, as any fantasy and dystopian story, relies a lot of world-building and pacing to work. Right from the first pages, I found myself engrossed in the story, intrigued by the complexity of this world that feels a bit medieval. However, the strong suit here didn’t lie in the way the world was built or complex, even if it existed: it was the characters and their particular abilities that gave it three dimensions and really made it live in my mind.

 

EMOTIONS AND CHARACTERS AT THE HEART OF THE STORY

โ€œTo love is to be afraid. You are frightened, deathly terrified, that something will happen to those you love. Think of the possibilities. Does your heart clench with each thought? That, my friend, is love. And love enslaves us all, for you cannot have love without fear.โ€

๐Ÿ’ญ

You know me: I love my books filled with emotions. As emotions were roots to make powers grow in this story, I was HAPPY. I felt immersed in the story, in the characters’ emotions and dilemmas and managed to grow fond of many characters thanks to this connection I felt. Especially towards the main character, Adelina. From what I had heard, The Young Elites was, and is supposed to be a villain’s story. However, I found myself relating, feeling, hearing Adelina’s struggles through the book as her dark side takes over, as she loses herself in power, treason and as she tried and fights her inner demons…or not. From the beginning to the end of this book, Adelina grew, changed, gained power and strength a little more everyday. It was a journey I loved following right from the beginning.

The secondary characters aren’t left out, which I appreciated a lot. If the story is told mainly from Adelina’s point of view, I was glad to get a glimpse of some of the other characters’ minds, understand their trail of thoughts, their motives and everything else thanks to the diverse point of views. If I still enjoyed and looked forward to Adelina’s rest of the story, I was good and even satisfied, at times, to get some background from the other characters, to have a whole picture of the story and of what was really happening here.

โ€œHow many times have you been called an abomination?โ€ he whispers. โ€œA monster? Worthless?โ€
Too many times.โ€

Adelina’s group of โ€œfriendsโ€, let’s call them that way?! Were just as well fleshed-out as she was, even if I could have used more of them on page. I really liked how different they all felt, how, with simple descriptions, they stood off the page and left an imprint on my mind, something that doesn’t necessarily happens with secondary characters, so, yes.

Did I mention that there are sisters in this book?! NO? Well, I should have started by this. If there is something I love in all of my books, it’s siblings relationships and in The Young Elites, I’m getting one. It’s complex, it’s not necessarily a happy relationship at all times, but it’s strong and it jumps off the page and gave me emotions, which I LOVED.

OVERALL

Strong character, strong world-building and interesting writing that certainly made me feel things: The Young Elites had tons of potential for sure and was a strong beginning to a series I’m looking forward to discover more. I’m not really used to this kind of darkness in books and it’s not usually my scene, which is why I’m not really rating this 5 stars. If I loved the characters, the darkness, the setting and everything else, it was still…dark. And from what I’m getting โ€“ and the excerpt I read-, the second book is even darker. But there’s no way I’m giving up on this promising series now.

Final rating:ย  4 drops!

ย Do you want to read The Young Elites? Did you read the whole series? I heard it was DEVASTATING???ย  Share your thoughts in comments!


Marie Lu, The Young Elites, ย Published by G.P Putnam’s Sons Books For Young Readers, October 7th, 2014.

ย goodreads-badge-add-plus-fad3b68d35050280ea55d50f17c654b5

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. Adelinaโ€™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 familyโ€™s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the feverโ€™s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scarsโ€”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 itโ€™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 theyโ€™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 shouldnโ€™t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

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Book blogger, travel blogger, writer. ๐Ÿ“š |๐ŸŒ | ๐Ÿ’ž Writing & Communications Graduate. French. Living on love, wanderlust and ya books.

52 thoughts on “Review: The Young Elites, Marie Lu

  1. I binge read this whole series because it’s addictive. I LOVED THE FIRST BOOK and basically, I LOVE ENZO โค ENZO is everything and anything and MY SOUL! The Midnight star IS DEVASTATING, nothing will prepare you. the rose Society…I didn't like Adelina in it so…? It was very MEH

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OH I love Enzo so, SO MUCH, he is suuuch an awesome character. Also… I need to cry a bit now.
      I’m really curious to read the Midnight Star now, but I’m guessing I have to read the second book before ahah. I’m a bit nervous about it and about not liking it – but I’m guessing it was still okay if you wanted to finish the series? ๐Ÿ™‚
      Thank you so much for your sweet comment โค โค

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve read the first two books in this series, and to be honest I didn’t enjoy them very much? I liked aspects of the plot, but just didn’t care very much, and the story didn’t really surprise me. Still, I’m glad you enjoyed it, and Lu definitely is a god writer– I really liked the Legend books!

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    1. Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that, Shanti! You didn’t care for the characters, you mean?
      I’m glad you enjoyed the Legend series, I added it to my TBR and I’m very curious about it ๐Ÿ™‚
      Thank you so much for stopping by โค โค

      Liked by 1 person

  3. ASHDJFKALLD I’m so glad you liked this, Marie! Marie Lu is one of my favorite authors ever gaaah. โค The emotion in this book is so raw, I agree! And YES you could definitely relate to Adelina (well… at least a little ๐Ÿ˜› ) And I LOVE the sibling relationship! Violetta is amazing. โค (And yeah, TRS gets darker… and Adelina gets more annoying… but the end to the series is worth it, I promise!)

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    1. I’m glad to hear you saying it’s worth it, because I am getting SO nervous about getting TRS ahah. I will eventually, I’m just, scared haha ๐Ÿ™ˆ I can’t WAIT to read The Midnight Star though….. I like devastating books. I’m weird ahah.
      Thank you so much!!! โค

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes, it really was a unique story. I guess you have read all of her books, then? I recently added Legend to my TBR as well, it sounds very, very good ๐Ÿ™‚
      Thank you so much for stopping by! โค

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  4. Great review for this book Marie, and wow this sounds like an incredible read. I need to get around to The Young Elites as soon as possible, and luckily it’s a series I own so it’s on my this-year-to-read list! ๐Ÿ˜€
    The idea of children feared by the world with mysterious powers reminds me of The Darkest Minds series by Alexandra Bracken which is a favourite of mine, so even more excited to pick The Young Elites up now. Also I loved Legend so I need to get around to Lu’s second series before Warcross is released!
    It sounds incredible, and you’re review has made me so much more excited about this series! I’m really glad you enjoyed this book Marie. ๐Ÿ˜€ โค

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ohh thank you so much, Beth! I can’t wait for you to read it, I hope you’ll love it ๐Ÿ™‚
      Oh, I haven’t read The Darkest Minds! Bracken is the author who wrote Passenger, right? Would you recommend The Darkest Minds, then? ๐Ÿ™‚
      Thank you! โค

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s all right, and I really can’t wait until I get around to this one.
        Yep, Bracken wrote both Passenger and The Darkest Minds. I’d definitely recommend TDM, it’s a favourite series of mine but of her two series I did prefer Passenger.
        That’s all right! ๐Ÿ˜€ โค

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I’m so glad you loved the whole series! I can’t wait to read the second book -even if I am a bit nervous, I heard it wasn’t as good as the first one… YES, her characters are fantastic, loved them so much ๐Ÿ™‚
      Thank you, Anisha! โค

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  5. This is one of my favorite books so I am so glad you enjoyed it as much as I did. ๐Ÿ™‚ The characters are some complex and dark. I can’t wait to see what you think of the rest of the series. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! โค

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OH thank you so much, Zoe, I’m so glad you enjoyed this series! I’m eager to read the second book – also a bit nervous about it though. Hope I’ll enjoy it ๐Ÿ™‚
      Thank you so much for your sweet comment โค

      Like

    1. Oh thank you so much! I get it, whenever we love a world so much, it’s always hard to read the last book and know that, well…after that, we won’t get anything new. But well, there are always re-reads ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope you’ll enjoy it when you finally get around to reading it ๐Ÿ™‚

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  6. Awesome review, Marie! I love The Young Elites and I’m so glad you liked it! I was also getting a little tired of the Fantasy dystopia genre before I picked this up and this series was refreshing in a way because it’s so different from typical YA books. You’re right though, I’m also not used to my books being so dark which is why I also couldn’t give them five stars.

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  7. i’m glad you loved this book! I’ve read this book a long time ago and loved it. I haven’t finished the series yet but I’m planning to binge the whole trilogy sometime. Great Review btw! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  8. Lovely review, Marie! I haven’t read anything by Marie Lu yet (even though I’ve heard she’s amazing) and, like you, I haven’t read any fantasy / dystopian in a very long time but this one sounds very interesting. I might pick it up myself if I want a little break from contemporary ๐Ÿ™‚

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  9. I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed this Marie! Unfortunately I disliked this one ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I really wanted to love it; I still love the concept! I don’t really remember why I disliked it since it’s been a while since I read it, but I’m still sad that I did haha. Great review! ๐Ÿ™‚

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      1. I wish I’d remember! I think I was a bit bored? I never reviewed it woops. If I search ‘young elites’ on my blog I do mention in some wrap ups that it was slow, okay and put me in a reading slump? So I guess that was my major issue with it. I’m still bumped about it though, because I loved the concept! Maybe one day I’ll give it another try

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  10. This book sounds really amazing!! ๐Ÿ™‚ I think this is a book that I will enjoy a lot – I have read Marie Lu’s Legend trilogy and really liked it, plus I do tend to love darker books so there is that as well. I can’t wait to get my hands on this book. Great review Marie!! ๐Ÿ˜€ I’m glad to see that you enjoyed this book.

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  11. Amazing Review! I keep seeing this book and I keep putting it off trying it out, I once tried to read Legend years ago and struggled with it but it was back when I was in a serious reading slump so I think I need to give Marie Lu’s writing another shot. I feel like I haven’t read a dystopian in a while either, tons of fantasy but nothing dystopian persay. Except the re-reads for my dissertation last year ๐Ÿ™‚

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