The Young Elites – Marie Lu

One thing you should probably know about me is that I have a slight obsession of wanting to pick up books that look brand new at the library.  You know, those books whose covers aren’t falling apart and are free of dog-eared pages.  I’ll read the back of the book of course but I can usually convince myself that the book is worth reading (I think I need help).  The good thing about this weird obsession is that I end up reading up books that I wouldn’t have otherwise picked up and given a chance.  The Young Elites is definitely one of those books.

What The Book Is About

The Young Elites is the first book of a fantasy-based series by Marie Lu and explores the impact of a blood fever that takes over much of the country.  Some die of the fever, but the children that survive the fever are left with markings on their bodies that classify them as malfettos – basically the outcasts of the country.  There are also some survivors that have been left with special powers which makes them elites.  The main character, Adelina, discovers her powers and finds that she’s alone in a world where everyone seems to be her enemy.  She comes across two characters, Enzo and Teren, both of whom are children of the blood fever but are essentially on opposite sides.  Enzo is the leader of The Daggers a group of elites that want to overthrow Enzo’s sister so that Enzo can take his rightful place on the throne.  Teren is the lead of the inquisitors (the army of royal family) who again has powers of his own but has decided to take part in the hunt of killing all malfettos and elites.  In their constant struggle for power, Adelina finds herself caught in the middle and being used by both sides to the point where she’s not sure who she can trust.

My Thoughts

I’ve never really gotten into the fantasy genre but this one piqued my interest enough to give it a shot.  From reading the back cover, it gave off a dystopian vibe and I figured that I enjoyed The Hunger Games so this book might be worth a shot.  What I read was really nothing like that.  Yes, there’s an element of a dystopian society but the focus was much more on the character of Adelina and her struggle to determine her place.  I have to admit, I’m not sure this was the best book in this genre to start with.  From what I’ve read online, it sounds like Marie Lu’s Legend trilogy was amazing whereas the Young Elites was a more darker fantasy.  I found it hard to get into this book and I’d say it took me until the half way mark to start gaining more interest.  I think the book ended well enough to make a reader  want to read the second installment of the series but I can’t say that I was left hanging so much that I’d be a rush to read it.
I found Adelina’s character to be dark for a protagonist and to be completely honest, I really didn’t like her for much of the book. Her father basically despises her because she’s a malfetto but in the end, you can tell she’s really craving acceptance and in that search for it, she ends up being used by people who, on the surface, seem to want to help her find her way.

Overall, I found the premise of the book interesting but just felt that the story took too long to develop and with a protagonist that I found annoying most of the time, perhaps this series may not be for me.  I may just give Marie Lu’s Legend trilogy a shot and see if that’s better.  From what I’ve read it’s a much easier read to get into and hooks you right away – definitely my kind of book!



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