Series: The Young Elites #1
Published by Putnam Juvenile on October 7, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Source: ARC borrowed thru Around the World ARC Tours
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.
~ I really liked Marie Lu’s Legend, but this worked even more for me. I loved the epic fantasy feel of these books, and all the many characters, especially since some of them are a little unbalanced.
~ The world that Lu has created is both familiar and not. It feels like it could be Italy after the plague, but filled with animals and magic that our world does not possess.
~ The Young Elites belongs mostly to Adelina, left a malfetto by a plague-like fever, she’s hated by the suspicious townfolk, and hated by her own father. Her life is dismal and agonizing, and there is so much self-loathing inside of her, that it’s a miracle she didn’t just catch on fire. Some chapters are from the povs of Enzo, Raffaele (love him!), and Teren.
~ Despite the darkness within Adelina, I’m able to connect with her right away. I have a thing for characters who suffer injustice, and I have to say, I really wanted Adelina’s father dead for all the awful things he did to her. I wanted Adelina to make the right choices, so I found myself yelling at her a lot when she made the wrong ones. 🙂 Sometimes I cheered her on though.
~ I don’t know if it’s because I got so inside of Adelina’s head or what, but it was hard to know how to feel about Violetta. Also maybe because in my family I’m the child that was loved the most (just kidding, brothers, in case you’re reading this!), so I can’t imagine how awful it would be to see my sibling get any and all of the positive love from a parent. It’s hard to judge Violetta for their father’s preference, but it’s a very human thing to do.
~ One of my favorite parts of this book was learning what each of the Young Elite’s talents were- I thought most of them were pretty creative and a lot more well defined than magical talents are in other books.
~ I loved the chemistry between Enzo and Adelina, although the entire time I was as unsure as Adelina how sincere it was on Enzo’s part. I’m a sucker for the “love someone against your will and better judgement” romances.
~ Enzo is very protective over his little group (despite his possible blindside when it comes to admitting Adelina into the group). And while vigilantism is never okay, kids, I’m kind of thrilled when Enzo gets revenge on a man who hurts Raffaele. Their relationship is going to launch a thousand slash fiction stories, I just know it.
~ I love how even though Raffaele, Enzo’s right hand man, is worried that Adelina won’t be good for the Young Elite’s secret group or for Enzo, he still tries to be a good friend to her. Plus, I just love his character. You’re not going to find many gorgeous gay characters working in brothels and helping to run shadowy organizations reading YA books. Of course, Lu’s society is made up of many unique characters, but it never feels forced or
~ Adelina does some crazy, messed up things, but I still was hooked on her character. I’d like her to find a way to embrace the darkness within without destroying all the goodness inside her. I’m kind of okay that she’s off the rails a bit though. I like my characters dark and complex.
~ Speaking of dark and complex, I wonder if Teren’s character is going to be a bit of a Warren type anti-hero… It’s too soon to tell, but he’s even more messed up then Adelina.
~ Brace yourselves, midnighters, because there are several surprises in store for you. Lu brings the shocks, and there was more than one death that had me picking my jaw up off the floor.
~ This book has filled that empty place in my heart that’s always left vacant for long stretches between Kristin Cashore’s novels.
~ I don’t quote from arc’s as a rule, simply because most of the publisher’s discourage it, but I will paraphrase a part of the novel that just really struck me. It’s in one of Adelina’s chapters and she’s thinking on the advice someone gave her that amounts to ” Just be true to yourself” or “Just be yourself”. And Adelina thinks that what people really mean when they say that is that they want you to be the version of yourself that they like best. Only Marie Lu puts it so much better than I can. But it literally made me stop and ponder that paragraph, and I took a pic of it just so I could remember it at a later date. It’s deep, ya’ll.
Adelina- our heroine (or is that anti-heroine?), damaged from illness and years of growing up with a demented father, she’s learning that there’s a lot more to her than she ever thought.
Enzo aka The Reaper- leader of a group of Young Elites called known as the Dagger Society, also he’s hot- and he’s a denied heir to the throne (which makes him hotter yet!)
Violetta- Adelina’s little sister, beautiful and kind, the favorite child of the girl’s abusive, demonic father.
Teren- high ranking Inquisitor, Queen favorite, and a little mad.
Raffaele aka The Messenger- I know I said Enzo was hot, but Raff (my own nickname for him) is the hottest of the hot. Plus he works in a brothel and has tons of charm. It’s impossible not to love him.
Giuletta- Queen since she had her brother declared unfit, very manipulative and plays Teren like a stringed instrument.
Maeve Jacqueline Kelly Corrigan- doesn’t show up until the last chapter, but I have a feeling she’s going to be super important in book 2!
The Other Members of The Dagger Society:
The Spider- he is NOT a fan of Adelina.
The Star Thief- loves horses, has the best nick name.
The Architect- his talent helps Adelina work on hers.
The Windwalker- out of all the Daggers, Adelina makes friends with her the quickest.
This is a tough one, but it’s a tie between when Raffaele was reading Adelina’s energy with the stones, because I loved what all the stones meant, and the very last chapter. I honestly can’t remember the last time a last chapter/epilogue had me screaming in frustration for the next book (especially since The Young Elites isn’t even out yet… I am so screwed with this wait).
Stop the Clock:
The Young Elites was a great read. I loved the world building, and the different character’s point of views. I loved the energy and chemistry between all the characters- Adelina and Enzo, Enzo and Raffaele, Teren and Adelina, Teren and Giuletta, Adelina and Spider, Adelina and Raffaele… pretty much anyone with anyone. Not romantic chemistry (except between Enzo and Adelina), just the complications and emotions that all of these characters have between them. So freaking good!
The Young Elites gets a Midnight Book rating of: