Review of The Young Elites by Marie Lu

The Young Elites (The Young Elites, #1)The Young Elites
By: Marie Lu
Release Date: October 7th 2014
Publisher: Putnam Books for Young Readers
Format: Print ARC
Source: Won from The Midnight Garden

My Rating:

I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.

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.

It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

The Story:
This book was awash in darkness and hurt. Go into this one expecting a story full of action and characters that reside fully in the grey. There are no good or bad characters- everyone was squarely in the middle. I have only read the first book in the Legend series (though I own them all, thank you Stephanie!) and yet I was ecstatic about The Young Elites because of that amazing summary. I was beyond thrilled when I won a copy in a giveaway. This book did not disappoint.

Lu’s writing was incredibly easy to get immersed in and I was eager to learn more about the world she created. A horrible fever swept through the land killing many and marking the survivors with physical abnormalities and varying skills. I thought that the idea of an illness scarring its victims as well as ‘gifting’ them with powers was a wonderful concept. I loved that it was as much a curse as a gift and the details Lu gave into the powers and where they derived from. We get just enough details to give the powers credibility and interest but I can’t help but be excited to see even more about them in the next books.

The book set a moderate pace with areas of action as well as flash backs to the main character’s past. I thought these were perfectly done and gave me insight into her character and the world. I really enjoyed the scenes focusing on Adelina’s training and her honing her skill of illusion. They were written clearly and were very easy to picture how her magic worked. That says a lot because it would have been very easy for her illusion ability to become very confusing in a less skilled author’s hands.

The Characters:
To me, the characters were the strongest element in The Young Elites. I found Lu’s main character, Adelina, to be so damaged though relatable. She had lived through so much at an early age which gave her a darkness but also a strength that really made reading about her a pleasure. I loved that she struggled with her inner darkness. I felt that this gave her the potential to grow and develop. I loved her progression through this first book but I’m most excited to see what happens next.

Enzo was swoon-worthy with a side of tension. I wasn’t a hundred percent sure of his motivations in the beginning. I thought that Lu’s representation of an elite group of teens with abnormalities was right on and intensely compelling. The fact that she made their ‘gifts’ derive from a life threatening illness was timely as well as unique. Because each character was affected differently it created an intriguing secondary cast.

Final Thoughts:
I think Marie Lu has created a surprisingly unique storyline and characters based on a somewhat typical trope (teens with remarkable powers) I felt that this novel was incredibly strong and was delightfully dark. The way Lu ended this novel gives me utmost confidence that this series will be amazing.


  1. says

    Yay 😀 Amazing review Kristen. <3 I'm so glad you enjoyed this book. I'm planning on reading it next. Which I have been planning for days now :p just taking me forever to get started, lol. BUT SOON. I think. Maybe. I'm just not feeling like reading :p but anyway. I cannot wait to get to know these awesome characters 😀 So glad you loved them. <3 thank you for sharing sweetie 🙂

  2. says

    Lovely review, Kristen!! I was a bit on the fence as to if I should buy this book or not, your review has swayed me 😉 I love that this book is dark and has immersive writing 🙂 I love characters who have room to develop and grow in a series, it makes things so much more realistic and who doesn’t love some good character growth?! Ooh Enzo sounds quite swoon-worthy. Can’t wait to read this. Thanks for the great review!!

    • says

      Thank you Rachel! Will you let me know what you think after you read it? I think it’ll be a really amazing series. I’m so happy my review helped you make the decision to read this. That is always the highlight of doing this blog when someone tells me that. Thank you!

  3. says

    You are welcome! 🙂

    I think what impressed me most about The Young Elites is that it is SO different from the Legend books. The story seems deeper, and I think the characters may be more complex (from what I remember). But for whatever reason, I still liked Legend better.

    If you haven’t done so, read Marie’s acknowledgements about how she chose to focus on Adelina. Very interesting!

    • says

      I really, really must reread Legend and then read the other two books. I need to take some time and push aside the reviews books to make time for these epic books. I’ve heard nothing but amazing things and after reading TYE I want to read them even more. I did read the acknowledgements! I always check those out 🙂 Good to see you Stephanie…I MISS YOU

  4. says

    So I pretty much agree 100% with everything you’ve said. YOU’VE CAPTURED MY THOUGHTS 😀 This was just brilliant. It left me reading way into the a.m. (which definitely had it’s repercussions on the rest of my day but lol, no regrets). The characters was definitely where Lu one me over. I love characters who linger in the grey area. There’s nothing I love more. And to have them so intricate, and relatable just added to my fixation. Enzo was an amazing character. THAT TENSION. I won’t ever get over it. the wait for book two D;

    Fantastic review, Kristen! x

    • says

      You’re review was so beautifully done! You were able to say it all perfectly. I loved the darkness and tension and I can’t wait for book 2. The LOOOONG wait will be painful.

  5. says

    I’m kinda scared to read this because I’m not a fan of “dark” books with characters that you may or may not like (I know, I’m weird), but I’ve heard great things! It just might be one of those books I wait for book 2 so I can read them back to back. 😛
    Lovely review, lady!

    • says

      I would say waiting for book 2 wouldn’t be a bad idea because the ending left me really wanting to read what was next. I don’t like waiting. The characters are dark, especially the mc. I’ll be so curious to see how she changes further in the series and to see your thoughts.

  6. says

    Glad to hear you enjoyed this! I finally got to reading Legend and I really enjoyed it, so I’m hoping this one is awesome too because fantasy, can’t resist! I’m also happy to hear the characters really carried the book well, Awesome review, Kristen!

    • says

      I have only read the first book of the Legend series and it was ages ago. I fully intend to do a reread and then progress with the series. I hope you love it Cyn

  7. says

    Even if I really ejoyed the Legend trilogy, I have had a few doubts about this book, but the more reviews I read, the more I feel like I’m totally missing out! Except for the ending, I’ve heard about a crushing and unexpecting ending, and I feel like I should wait till book 2 comes out before reading this to save me from another crazy cliffy!
    Great review Kristen!

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