The Young Elites is the first book in Marie Lu’s second series, with her first being the Legend series. You can check out my review of Champion, the last book in the Legend trilogy here. The Young Elites is based on the premise of a group of people who gained special powers from a fever that swept through the land several years ago. I really liked this idea and the different reactions from different parts of the world towards these powers.
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.
The Young Elites is set in a fantasy world that is well thought out with differing climates and relationships between the countries. Most of the book takes part on the island of Kenettra, but hopefully the next book will take us to some different areas that had been mentioned. The only flaw I could find with the world Marie Lu had created was with the distances. Kenettra seemed to be a large island, and it was surrounded with a vast seas. However countries over this vast sea seemed to be regular visitors and the trip seemed short.
I had mixed feelings about most of the characters. A lot of them made questionable choices and it was hard to tell who you were meant to be routing for. All of the characters had their own agendas, and like in the real world they all made some bad decisions. I liked the idea of Adeline being imperfect and almost a villain, however in practice it just seemed like she had no idea what she wanted. I disliked the romance that developed between Adeline and one of the male characters. I feel like it didn’t add to the plot at all, but possibly it will become important in the second novel.
The plot of the novel was lacking. It was pretty similar to a lot of other fantasy novels with a power struggle and attempts to take over the kingdom. There were a few twists along the way that made it interesting, but personally I think the premise of the book could have been used in a different way to create a more original plot. I did like how most of the conflict came from misunderstandings and secrets that had been kept from the main characters along with how to start with we were given a very zoomed in perceptive of what was happening, and as we zoomed out we were able to see the influence on other areas.
I liked how many characters there were, and how complex they were. I loved the idea of this novel however the middle didn’t keep my interest. I mean rocks that glow in response to certain emotions…? That got ridiculous. Despite the negatives, I am looking forward to reading the sequel. Overall I give it a 3 out of 5. Have you read The Young Elites? If so, what did you think?