This was a strange book.
Seriously, it was.
It had a different feel to it than any book I’ve read before, and even reviewing it feels different. It was really difficult to decide whether it crossed the line to four stars or stayed back at three, and honestly, if I wasn’t reading the sequel right now and enjoying it, I’d give it a three star rating, no recommendation, and call it a day.
But I’m finding that it’s worthwhile to read for the next installment. Even if my feelings for The Young Elites were…different.
★ ★ ★ ★
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.
“So. Tell me, little wolf. Do you want to punish those who have wronged you?”
I expected a lot from The Young Elites. Maybe it’s because Marie Lu is such a hyped-up author, maybe because it was the first fantasy book I’ve read in a while.
I regret to say it, but my expectations weren’t met.
The characters were well drawn, but their development felt too rushed. The side characters especially. I couldn’t get to know them well enough in the time frame given to empathize with them in the way the story demanded. There was a facet to them that was missing; something was off. The main characters, though, were developed fairly well and I appreciated the higher level of complexity they had as compared to the peripheral characters.
The worldbuilding was done well, though not brilliantly. I enjoyed the Venetian feel to it (which was different and unexpected!), but I wish it could’ve been explored more. So much could’ve been done with the culture Lu created that was left unexecuted. She had so much at her disposal, wasted.
I wasn’t a fan of how the book dealt with emotions. It was interesting to see how the main character coped with her experiences and how she developed positively/negatively from them, but I still wasn’t a fan as to the direction it was going. She herself was a little frustrating to read about more often than not, though now that I’m reading the next book, I can understand why. In any case, her part of the story was challenging to enjoy in this particular book. It feels like a villain origin story, so maybe I’ll find it more intriguing as time goes on.
The book was relatively well written, but it was nothing to write home about in the end. It made me feel nothing, and it’s hard to write about books like that. The fantasy element was very different and slightly weird to me, but it was still entertaining. I’ll be finishing up The Rose Society soon, so hopefully I will have more of a definite opinion by then! In the meantime, it gets the strange combination of four stars and no rec.
Is it okay for me to read?
Language • • • • •
Very infrequent cursing. Example: one or two uses of d**n, h**l, and b**t**d.
Violence • • • • •
Characters fight; some characters are killed. Action scenes are descriptive but never overly so.
Sensuality • • • • •
One make-out scene; a few characters are of dubious employment, though details are never given. Some innuendo.
Substances • • • • •
Characters drink (very) infrequently.
For more about my content ratings and what they mean, click here.