Review: The Young Elites – Marie Lu

the young elitesAdelina 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.

Rating: 4/5

Yowza, that was a dark and vaguely disturbing read. But the madness? The madness is always more interesting.

The Young Elites proves that Marie Lu has a lot more up her sleeves – she’s no one-trick pony, and easily make the transition to other genres. This was a YA fantasy, deliciously dark and examining characters who really straddle the line between right and wrong.

Be true to yourself. But that’s something everyone says and no one means. No one wants you to be yourself. They want you to be the version of yourself that they like. 

While there are other narrative perspectives included alongside our MC, Adelina Amouteru, I didn’t find it jarring since there were only about 4 chapters in total that were from the view of other characters.

Our MC is a malfetto, an abomination, a survivor of the blood fever which left children with strange markings, and in some cases, even stranger powers. These powerful few come to be known as the Young Elites. Abused by her father, Adelina finally flees from home, straight into the arms of (quite literally, in fact) Enzo Valenciano, a member of the Dagger Society, a secret society of Young Elites that seeks out others like them before the government can get hold of them and kill them.

While in the company of the Daggers, they try to teach her to get a hold over her unpredictable powers. However, Adelina has a darkness inside of her, borne of years of hurt and anger, that makes it difficult for her to decide if she even wants to control these powers, and how she wants to use them.

Loyalties are unclear and constantly shifting, people are used as pawns in the political game for power, and death and pain are very very real.

A fantastic start to what promises to be an exciting, shocking but well crafted series.

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8 thoughts on “Review: The Young Elites – Marie Lu

  1. I’m so glad to see that you were able to enjoy this one, I haven’t picked up a book by Lu before, and with the mixed reviews I wasn’t quite sure, but this book sounds like it will keep you hooked! Great review! :)


    1. If you haven’t read Lu’s work, I’d suggest the Legend series – it’s a fabulous YA dystopia, and I enjoyed it so much.


  2. I really need to reread this one. I maybe read like 10 pages when I bought it, but the beginning didn’t grab me so I put it on hold and forgot I actually bought the book for a good amount of money (arghhh books why so expensiveeee). Haha! I actually really appreciate it that Marie Lu is trying out other genres and tones in her books. That’s the most effective way to grow as a writer, IMO.

    Faye at The Social Potato


    1. Totally agree – I like it when authors try new things, even if it subjects them to criticism – usually because fans are expecting more of the same. This book wasn’t without it’s flaws, but I tend to enjoy the dark and twisty…


  3. I really enjoyed this one too especially because it was so dark. I’m very curious to see where the sequel goes


    1. Ha yes. I have an idea related to the the person that died and a certain person’s ability to revive the dead, but I’m hoping she doesn’t go there.


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