Title The Young Elites
Author Maire Lu
Description from Amazon
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.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I read this book back in 2014 when it first came out. I’m not 100% sure what my initial thoughts back then were, but I do remember my motivation for reading it. I loved the Legend Series by Marie Lu. I was so sad when that series ended but then I discovered that she was working on something new. I had to read it. I definitely remember that.
Marie Lu’s editor/publisher always does a great job choosing cover art and fonts for her books. The Young Elites in particular has great shelf appeal. Simple and classic with the storm brewing the background and a sword as the “t” in “Elites”.
Teren Santoro – it’s very rare for me to have a villain as my favorite character but I wanted redemption for Teren so desperately. I wanted him to not be the villain. His story is so sad and he does pretty awful stuff, but I wanted so much more for him.
As a close second, I’d have to say Enzo. Enzo was so much more than Adelina deserved. She was kind of the worst. Side note, the end of this book literally destroyed me (and all of my hopes and dreams for Teren and Enzo).
Something I Was Crazy About
This setting is everything! It was Italian inspired and I loved it. The names, the architecture, the social structure. The setting was so amazing and I wanted the story to be so much better to match how amazing the setting was. Marie Lu is nothing if not an amazing creator of worlds.
I read this book five years ago and had absolutely no interest in reading the next two volumes. I will now, for the sake of completion. But, I think my lack of interest for 5 years speaks volumes about how much I liked the first story (pun intended).
I hated everything that happened in the end (except for what happens with Violetta). Violetta was a light in the darkness that was this book. Teren’s story made me terribly sad, Enzo’s destroyed me, and Adelina’s made me angry. Maybe I was too young to appreciate the value of an anti-hero in a novel, but I came away from this book not a fan of Adelina.
Recommendations for Further Reading
- The Kiss of Deception, The Heart of Betrayal, and The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson (aka The Remnant Chronicles) – these books and The Young Elites have a similar three narrator POV set up where you are not sure who is the villain and who are the heroes. In my opinion, The Remnant Chronicles is a much better series so if you liked The Young Elites even a little, definitely try these.
- Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean – Although I am not finished with this one yet, it’s giving me very similar vibes. This is definitely a gut feeling kind of recommendation, but I think my recommendations are usually pretty good.
- Legend, Prodigy, and Champion by Marie Lu – this is the series that made me fall in love with her writing style. Definitely check this series out if you liked the style of The Young Elites.