Review: The Young Elites by Marie Lu

About the book:

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.

Cover of Marie Lu's The Young Elites

Linked to Goodreads, because there doesn’t appear to be a Kindle version???

Review by Katy Haye:

I was a bit disappointed, to be honest. I was misled by the cover, I’ll admit. I’d seen this in the bookshop and for some reason it told me “teen crime-fighting gang in space” (yeah, yeah, clearly I was in my own world that day). If I’d known it was a fantasy world based on Renaissance Italy I’d have been on it like a knife.

Instead, it took until my reading challenge reached Y for me to pick it up. And the world was sumptuous and lovely, but the book just didn’t delight me the way I expected.

I struggled with the present tense writing, which didn’t help. I started fine, and then at a chapter change I suddenly noticed that it was present tense, and after that I couldn’t stop noticing. I don’t mind any tense in particular, but my rule for a book is that you should slip through the words and land in the story. I kept getting pulled out of the story by the present tense which made it difficult to engage with it.

The biggest problem was that The Young Elites didn’t feel like anything particularly special or different. A disease has wiped out a chunk of the population and left the surviving teens with remarkable abilities, fine so far. But then our heroine is the most remarkable of them all, with abilities that could destroy everything. Ho hum. (And again, I know, I know there are only seven plots and there’s nothing new in the world – but don’t make me think of that while I’m reading.)

But – BUT – then the ending was breathtaking. So many twists and turns, and Marie Lu broke narrative rules in a way that made my heart sing. That pushed it up from a 3* to a 4* book.

I won’t particularly watch out for the sequel, but I’ll take a look if it crosses my path.

Katy Haye, is reading (and reviewing) her way through the alphabet during 2017. She’s on the home straight now. Tune back next week for a review of her Z book, Z (The Abilities Series) by Lizzy Gomez.

When not reading, Katy writes speculative YA fiction. She’s just released a steampunk short, The Replacement Princess, which is available on all formats for FREE.

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