The Young Elites by Marie Lu | Rating: ★★★★☆
"I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside. It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt."
Marie Lu brings us a thoroughly engaging novel, the first in a planned series, that is dark, unique and powerful. It's a thrilling and heart pounding story, the perfect addition to a young adults library. Fans of Marie Lu's other works won't be disappointed and I recommend it regardless of whether you've picked up her past releases. The Young Elites is worth a second glance and will keep your turning until the final pages. It is not to be missed.
First, you should know, that our leading lady (who is one of the most interesting characters I've read in recent releases) has gone through quite a lot of horrors and unfortunate events in her life. This is including her survival of a disease that destroyed, killed, many - Adelina may have survived this blood fever that hit her people, but she certainly isn't untouched. Not only has her mind become darkened by mistreatment that followed her recovery, she's just overall conflicted in many parts of her life. These events, these terrors, have left more than few marks on her and she has quite a dark, calculating side that is incredibly interesting to read. Adeline is the character you've been waiting for, someone that thoroughly intrigues you and captivates your attention the moment you greet her and watch her struggle with, well, everything.
Survivors of the blood fever, the Malfettos, have a varying appearance and skills due to this illness that frightens the people in this fantasy land. It sets them apart in more ways than one. And we know well that those who are different, those who could threaten the power, are treated poorly.
Many are being killed out of fear. And this is just the beginning of it all.
When Adelina escapes a horrible fate, leaving behind her sister, she is thrust into a whole new world with people like herself. It's dangerous, it's intriguing, it's a constant struggle for our girl between what is good and what is bad -- it's an experience in which she begins to embrace parts of herself, she begins to discover things she may not like. And the situations she ends up in, in the process are tricky and life threatening -- I can't say much without spoiling the novel itself.
There are elements of love and friendship and topics which balance out the darkness. But these plots, these relationships, do not take up your time or drown the story, rather they balance it all out. Marie Lu perfectly constructs these things, meshing them into the story without making them seem out of place and it's, of course, interesting to watch unfold.
Everything about the world we are presented with is terrifying and unfamiliar, but oh so fascinating. There could have been more done to build onto this world, but for the most part Marie Lu creates a vivid story for our imaginations to take on. Adelina's world is on the brink of a war and death is constantly in the background, making each twist and turn more important than the last. Overall, I really loved this book and would recommend it to anyone who loves action-packed, fantasy novels.