The Young Elites

Last year I read Marie Lu’s debut, Legend, and the following two novels in that trilogy, Prodigy and Champion. Learning she had a new book coming out, with the name The Young Elites, made me interested to say the least since I really liked both her distinct writing and the stories she created. I hoped, but wondered, if this new story could be as good as the one involving Day and June. I was both slightly surprised and satisfied when I opened this one up.

Ten years ago the Blood fever swept down the land and many people got sick and died. Of the children who survived, a lot was scarred one way or the other. They’re called malfetto’s and no one in the society likes them. Both Adelina, her sister Violetta and their mother got sick. Out of the three, their mother was the only one who died. Violetta didn’t get any scars at all, but Adelina did and she’s the malfetto of the family. It’s believed that certain malfetto’s have strange powers and can do things no normal person can. Though her father has spent many years trying to lure such power out of Adelina, none has ever shown up. Until now.

This is something quite different from Lu’s earlier three books, but just as good. She has the ability to give all of her characters very distinct voices, which I noticed when reading Legend. Here, we get the majority of the story told to us by Adelina, but some parts are seen by two other important characters; Enzo and Teren. They’re all so unique and far from every author out there can create such believable people, which only goes to show how good Lu’s writing is.

I thought the story was great through and through. It’s really about a girl who has spent her whole life being used and hurt by other people and one day she discovers a gift she didn’t know she had. And all of a sudden she can give back to all those who has wronged her in the past, and all those who tries to cross her path now. I like the idea of that and it’s clear quite early that this isn’t the story of a heroine – it’s the story of a villain. That made me like the novel even more.

Adelina is later recruited by a team of malfetto’s who all have powers of their own; they belong to a group of people called The Young Elites. Adelina is happy to finally have found a place where she belongs, but it doesn’t take long before the people around her to realize that her power is stronger than theirs. Her power is darker than theirs. And her power might be the thing that destroys them all.

You get to see her struggle to fit in, with her family, with The Young Elites and then with herself. Trying to understand who she is. The hate she feels is so deep it darkens everything around her. Her heart, her soul, her ability to make decisions. She’s very egoistic in a world that’s never cared for her. Adelina grows throughout the book, but I’m not sure if it’s in a good or bad way. She gets stronger and colder and even though she tries to do the right thing it somehow turns out badly anyway. She’s a villain in every sense, and maybe the one she’ll ruin the most is herself. Adelina is a great read though, there are other wonderful characters and events along the way, but Adelina carries us there. I had so much fun following her way of thought.

This is certainly different, both from what I’m used to read (were everyone’s the hero whereas here everyone is a villain) and from the Legend trilogy. This will also be a series of three and I’m very curious of what’s going to happen to Adelina in the second installment (The Rose Society – out in October). One thing is for certain, though. Marie Lu certainly brought her A-game to this one. Excellent.