banner ad
banner ad
banner ad

BOOK REVIEW: The Young Elites by Marie Lu

| 2 December 2015 | Reply

BOOK REVIEW: The Young Elites by Marie Lu

Penguin Books
October 2014
£7.99 GBP
Reviewed by Aly Locatelli




Everyone talked about these malfettos in hushed whispers; most feared them and called them demons. But I secretly held them in awe. People said they could conjure fire out of thin air. Could call the wind. Could control beasts. Could disappear. Could kill in the blink of an eye.

This book. Marie Lu’s “Legend” was not this reader’s cup of tea. It was predictable and unbelievable and the characters were the sort I would have relished beating with a shovel. Needless to say, I was weary going into The Young Elites, but man, it was totally worth it.

Adelina Amouteru survived the blood fever that swept over her country claiming countless victims, but like most survivors, she was left scarred, a malfetto. Missing an eye, Adelina was always treated differently than her sister, and her father was convinced that she was one of the Young Elites: survivors of the blood fever that came into terrifying powers.

One night, she overhears her father trying to sell her to a rich lord, someone who could reinstate their family’s name. Terrified and disgusted, Adelina flees, but does not count on her father following her. He dies in a freak accident, one that Adelina is sure she caused with her powers, and she is captured by the royal guards and sentenced to death.

But the Young Elites are always around, looking for new Elites to save and have join their Dagger Society. The Society’s only scope is to be rid of the current king and queen and reinstate the true prince (also a rumoured malfetto and Elite) to his rightful throne. Adelina is saved, and introduced to the Dagger Society, but years of bitterness and anger are bubbling to the surface.

Adelina may be the strongest Dagger yet, and quite possibly the most dangerous.

The only way to clamp down on my energy is to erase my emotions, and so I fold them each away, one by one. My sorrow turns to anger, then to ice-cold fury. My soul curls in one itself in defense. I am gone. I am truly gone.

I am not sorry.

I really cannot express how wonderful this book was. It is the sort of fantasy I love. Not “fantasy-lite” as many YA books this year were, The Young Elites is dark, guttural and incredibly soul-breaking. The characters are flawed, physically as well as emotionally; they make mistakes, turn on each other, and do not think twice before ending a life. They are not the Mary Sue heroines that we see so often — they are so monstrous that they are almost human.

Some hate us, think us outlaws to hang at the gallows.
Some fear us, think us demons to burn at the stake,
Some worship us, think us children of the gods.
But all know us.

Adelina is a character one can relate to easily: she was shunned most of her life, used by her peers and family, bullied into submission and taken for granted. She recognises kindness for what it really is:

No one ever gives my their kindness without hoping for something in exchange.

Are they any different? Are they all the same? They all want to use you, use you, use you until they get what they want, and then they will toss you aside.

Once rescued by the Dagger Society, she meets Enzo, otherwise known as The Reaper and is swept up into their dazzling, dangerous way of life. For a moment, she forgets who she is and all that she has suffered, but reality calls and suddenly she remembers.

I am Adelina Amouteru, the phantoms whispered to my father, speaking my most frightening thoughts in a chorus of voices, dripping with hatred. My hatred. I belong to no one. On this night, I swear to you that I will rise above everything you’ve ever taught me. I will become a force that this world has never known. I will come into such power that none will dare hurt me again.

I especially loved Lu’s world building. It had a very old Italian feel to it, with the use of latin and its masquerade festivals and the gorgeous character names. I adored the set up of the island of Kenettra, and the hints of mystery around some of the places mentioned and their royal families. The entire set up, not to mention the characters and plot, made this book haunting and beautiful.

“We are not supposed to exist, Adelina. We were never meant to be. We are mistakes.”

The Young Elites is dark, sexy, beautifully written and incredibly captivating and I urge any hardcore fantasy fan to pick it up. You will not be disappointed.

(The Young Elites is the first book in The Young Elites trilogy.)

Category: Book Reviews, Other Reviews

About the Author ()

21. A reader, a writer, a reviewer and a full-time sloth lover. I am addicted to coffee and my laptop, and love reading especially when it's rainy outside.

Leave a Reply

Please verify you\'re a real person: * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

banner ad
banner ad