A mostly Young Adult book review blog run by a mother and daughter team.
I’m a sucker for fantasy and ever since I read the description for author Marie Lu’s The Young Elites I knew that I had, had, had to check it out. I’ve read the first two novels in the author’sLegend trilogy and was blown away by how awesome they were. That being said I had some pretty high expectations for The Young Elitesand hoped with all of my heart that they would be met. I’m not surprised by saying that they were met a hundred percent.
The Young Elites takes place in Kenettra, a world divided into the Sunlands, Sealands and the Skylands. When the Blood Fever hits Kenettra, Adelina Amouteru, her sister and her mother are stricken by the illness. It claims the life of their mother as well as Adelina’s eye, but both of the sisters survive. Now aMalfetto, Adelina is nothing more than a burden on her family and there are rumors that Malfettos like her have survived the Fever and gained powers beyond their wildest imagination. These people are known as the Young Elites and are being hunted by the Inquisition Axis. When Adelina murders her father with the assistance of her strange abilities, the Inquisition prepares to burn her at the stake.
However the Young Elites save her life and take her to meet with the Dagger Society, a portion of the Young Elites that is dedicated to inducting people like Adelina into their ranks. There she meets the charming Raffaele and the Young Elite’s Malfetto leader and Prince of Kenettra, Enzo. But what once begins as an adventure meant to make Adelina a stronger version of herself and a weapon in every sense of the word turns into something else entirely. Her loyalties will be tested, loves will be put on the line, and inevitably nothing for Adelina will ever be the same.
The Young Elites reminded me a lot of Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy. While the plots are totally different and the fantasy realms they’re set in are nothing alike,The Young Elites’ Adelina reminded me a lot of Bardugo’s Alina Starkov. And that isn’t just because their names include some of the same constants and vowels. Adelina is introduced to us as the daughter to an abusive father who has been forced to grow a hardened skin because of her Malfetto status. She can be sadistic, she can be a naturally good person, and above all she’s a special snowflake. Adelina and Alina share the same way of thinking but unlike Alina, Adelina embraces the fact that she’s a special snowflake. And I adored that in spite of some of the after effects it has on her character.
Kenettra is a place that I totally want to live in and go to if it were ever possible. Author Marie Lu does an amazing job of describing this new world she’s built. I have a very clear, very vivid idea of exactly what Kenettra is supposed to look like. I’m a huge fan of world-building and love when an author can create an entire world and give it its own lore, beliefs, creatures and the like. Reading The Young Elites gives readers the opportunity to enter a world unlike any other and become completely immersed in it.
Don’t even get me started on Enzo and Raffaele. It is seldom that a novel can describe a character alone and have me falling in love with them. No further actions necessary. (I can be pretty vain when it comes to characters). Lu’s descriptions of Enzo and Raffaele are golden. They’re both physically gorgeous but as the novel progresses we find out that one of these boys is a total sweetheart and needs to be protected at all costs (Raffaele) and the other is a badass who could probably rip you in half if he so desired (Enzo). I liked that there wasn’t a love triangle and thank goodness because I was getting that vibe at first, and that both boys didn’t have their priorities set solely on romance.
Raffaele is a, for all intents and purposes, prostitute and Enzo is the big bad leader of the Young Elites. They’re close friends and Adelina’s presence doesn’t change that. Even when her romance with Enzo begins to bloom both characters motives don’t change. I’m thankful for getting to read a novel where love doesn’t suddenly warp everybody’s minds. I absolutely despise when characters are reduced to nothing all because of a little bit of love.
With an ending that left me dying for more, I would recommend The Young Elitesto any readers who want a novel that they will finish in one sitting. Any readers who want a novel that is action and fantasy and romance should also give this a read. And if knowing that I think this is one of the best novels released this year also piques your interest, then you should also give this a look.