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 don't want to go too much into the plot of the book, but the way Rick Riordan described it was so perfect, I just wanted to put it out there. He described The Young Elite was "X-Men meets the Spanish Inquisition" and I think it's perfect! It totally captures the barest essence of the book! :)
There were only couple of things that I found a little lacking. First of all, I didn't quite like the way the story was told in both first person and third person. Adelina's point-of-view was written in first person while every other point-of-view was written in third. Personally, I found it jarring. I would have much preferred that the book was completely written in third. The way Marie Lu wrote the third person was very engaging and I loved it. I've read some books written in third person where the character felt very distant to me, but this is not one of them! You get such a great sense of the character, even though the chapter may have been brief. While Adelina's first person was fun to read and I loved her character, I do wish it was written in third person, for the reasons above. I know The Young Elites isn't the only book to do this first/third person jump (i.e. Of Poseidon, which didn't bother me at all), but something about it just didn't sit right with me - I'm thinking maybe because it would switch from first to third more often than Of Poseidon. But, it's not a super huge deal, just my own preference really. :))
Another thing that wasn't the best was the world building. This is probably what I thought was the most lacking in the book. I never really got a good sense of the world Adelina lived in. The language was pretty contemporary for the most part with some more "fantasy" like words thrown in the mix like "Fortunata Court" or "Brothel" and I think that was a big part of why the book didn't feel super fantasy-y to me. To me, it almost had the same kind of feel as Legend when I read it -- which isn't bad, but it certainly doesn't come off as a fantasy.
That said, I really did love the book. I love the villain stories and I don't think that there are enough (I can't really think of any, but I would love to hear if anyone has a suggestion!!). This book strongly reminded me of Star Wars -the third one I think? -the one where Anakin turns into Darth Vader? I love the "descent into darkness" theme!!! The Young Elites is truly about Adeline battling her dark sides - her rage, her fury, her fear. And you can totally feel her anguish and sorrow in such an intense way and it really makes you feel for her even though she may not be considered the "best" heroine.
But the thing that made it for was the climax/ending. To be perfectly honest, for most of the book, I was just hovering at liking the book. I mean, it was definitely interesting and enjoyable, but that ending made me jump from like to love in an instant! Wow! What an ending! I never saw it coming!! It was so strong and so powerful that I had to stop for a minute to gather my thoughts and feelings before I could move on!! It was that good!! Kind of takes your breath away.
To be more accurate, I would say four and a half bookies. Like I said, the ending totally made it for me and despite the other issues I had with it, I love this book! Such a great book with intense feelings! I will definitely be reading the sequel, The Rose Society (How awesome is that title???) and I can't wait to see what happens to Adelina! Anyway, definitely give this a read if you like villain stories!
Erin @The Romance Bookie :)