Monday, June 15, 2015

*Book Review* The Young Elites by Marie Lu (Young Adult Fantasy)

Series: The Young Elites # 1
Publisher: G.P. Putnam & Sons BYR
Released: October 7, 2014
Source: Library Loan
Format: Hardcover, 355 pages
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Magic

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.

Once Marie Lu's Legend trilogy ended, and it was announced that she was returning with a new series called The Young Elites, I was eager to see if she could continue her magical world building with strong heroes and heroines. If this book is any indication, the answer is yes, yes she can. The Young Elites is more of a high fantasy novel with magic than a dystopian story. There is even a nifty little map in front of the book to help readers understand Lu's world she is portraying. Let's talk about the three main characters of The Young Adults.

First up is Sixteen-year-old Adelina Amouteru who is pretty much the main character of the story. Adelina is a survivor of the blood fever that claimed her mother's life, and thousands of others. Even though she survived, she was left permanently scared. She lost her left eye, her hair changed colors, her skin was marked with molted patterns, and her father turned his attention to her younger sister Violetta. In this world, being scarred or different puts you into a class of citizens known as the "malfetto." 

Malfettos are feared, hated, shunned, despised and hunted down like animals because there are those who believe the malfetto are demons with unnatural abilities like creating fire, wind, or making oneself impervious to harm. They are also known as the Young Elites because of their abilities. After escaping her father's home, she ends up killing him with powers that have remained dominant until now. She is quickly captured, and imprisoned by Inquisitors. On her execution day, Adelina is helped by a Young Elite called The Reaper. After being rescued, Adelina must pass a series of tests designed by Enzo before she can even being considered as part of the Young Elite.

Adelina has a darkness within her that is ready to be unleashed on those that push her too far. Her abilities include creating illusions, and forcing people to feel emotions like fear. There is a whole lot more to say about Adelina. I do like the fact that Lu decided to go really dark with her character. I don't care that Adelina killed her own father. He actually had it coming. I don't agree with others when they say she has no justification for her anger or her actions. Of course she does! Adelina's issues are never truly resolved in this installment, but that's too be expected. We can't wrap up everything in the first installment.   

Enzo Valenciano is the crown prince who lost his position to his older sister Giuletta once he was exposed to the blood fever and survived. He is also known as the Reaper. His abilities are fiery. He is part of a group known as the Dagger Society. He, along with Raffaela, Dante, Michel, Lucent, and Gemma want what everyone else wants. They want freedom to live as they are. They want to remove the King from power, and put Enzo in his place. Enzo introduces Adelina to the world of the Dagger Society and takes a chance that her abilities will come in handy. Enzo is loyal to his group. If someone treats them badly, they end up buried six feet underground.

Master Teren Santoro is the Lead Inquisitor of Kenettra. He hates the malfetto, even though he is one. He continually tries to cleanse them from Kenettra society, often times having public executions, and burnings. He works closely with the Queen of Kenettra, who just happens to be Enzo's older sister Giulietta. The same Giulietta who stripped Enzo of his crown. Teren worships the ground that the queen walks on. He is madly, and deeply obsessive with the malfetto. Teren takes Adelina's sister Violetta hostage, hoping that he can use her to track down and eliminate the Young Elite's. Adelina finds herself between a rock and a hard place. It's either her sisters life, or the group of individuals who come to accept who she is.

I do like the feel of this story. There is a definitely Renaissance Italy feel to the characters names, the fashions, and the bling. What romance there is in this book, isn't forced, or in your face, or instantaneous. It happens because two people are longing for something new and different. They have both been put through the spin cycle one too many times, and have lots of baggage to deal with. Trust Lu to throw some much needed suspense and mystery into the story. 

Next up in series: The Rose Society, releasing October 15, 2015. 

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