The Young Elites

The Young Elites

The Young Elites

by Marie Lu

Series: "The Young Elites" #1
Genre: YA Fantasy
Published: October 7th, 2014
by Putnam Juvenile




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. 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.

But she soon discovers she has powers unlike anything anyone has ever seen; 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...


Some hate us, think us outlaws to hang at the gallows.
Some fear us, think us demons to burn at the stake.
Some worship us, think us children of the gods.
But all know us.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect of Marie Lu’s The Young Elites, but I was intrigued enough by the premise to give it a try.

I’ll admit that while I liked her Legend series decently enough, it didn’t exactly grasp me or wow me in the way I wished it would; which probably explains my tentativeness for reading this. However, I can confidently say that Marie has grown an incredible amount as a writer between the course of these two series, and that here she is a force to be reckoned with.

Our story is set in the aftermath of an epidemic that, a decade ago, killed the majority of the population. Those who survived – the children specifically – emerged with strange markings and otherworldly powers. Though their identities remain a secret, these children have formed a society called the Young Elites – and try to hide from the government who believes them to be abominations.

Our protagonist, Adelina Amounteru, is one of these gifted children; but she has been sentenced to execution. Moments before her execution, however, she is saved by the Young Elites and is invited to join their group. But can she trust them?

The thing that really made this book shine is Adelina herself.

I am Adelina Amouteru. I belong to no one. On this night, I swear to you that I will rise above everything you’ve ever taught me. I will become a force that this world has never known. I will come into such power that none will dare hurt me again.

Adelina is not your typical YA heroine. She’s not especially kickass or fierce. She’s not even especially likeable. Rather, she’s almost an antihero.

As I stare silently back, I feel something powerful stir inside me—a buried fire, subdued during childhood and long forgotten. I have lived all my life in the shadow of my father and my sister. Now that I’m standing in the sun for the first time, I dare to think differently.

The broken butterfly has been made whole.

She does bad things, and she has flaws. She has a harbored darkness and a need for vengeance inside her that I found intriguing. Yet, her motivations make sense, and the psychological study placed upon her really makes her feel incredibly real. And isn’t that more interesting to read about than a character who’s absolutely perfect?

Fantasy is a hit-or-miss genre with me, and I’d definitely say this was a hit. If you felt mediocre about Legend like I did and are wondering whether the read is worth it, I’d definitely say it is.


47 thoughts on “The Young Elites

  1. It is kind of funny because it seems those that loved her first series only just liked this and those that only liked her first, loved this.

    So interesting! I haven’t read anything by her yet but I do really want to read this (and her others). Great review!

  2. YAY! I’M SO GLAD THAT YOU ENJOYED THIS ONE, ZOE <3 I was like you, in that I didn't enjoy Legend all too much but I ended up loving this one, despite my hesitation. I really felt like Lu matured in between the course of her last series and this one. I loved Adelina's characterisation. Her flaws were so intriguing.Honestly, the cast was a standout for me. Fabulous review, Zoe! <33 x

    1. THANK YOU JESS! It was actually your review that really got me wanting to read this more than anything. 😉 And I completely agree. While Legend was a decent enough read, I got the sense of “same old, same old”, you know? It made me so incredibly happy to see how much her writing improved. Thank you!

  3. The quotes totally remind me of Celaena’s mindset from Heir of Fire, in a good way! I really like a heroine like that. Fantasy is a favorite genre of mine so I can see myself easily falling in love with this one too 😀 Great review, Zoe!

    1. It is! I’d actually say she’s “eviler” than Celaena, but I’m interesting in seeing what you think. I can’t wait to see what you think though Alise – especially if you love fantasy so much!

  4. Hmmmm verrrrry interesting! But awesome review Zoe, your review is pushing me to read her series now! Well, I haven’t read anything by Marie Lu yet, so I was debating whether to read Legend before the Young Elites, but I guess it doesn’t really matter huh?

    I think I’ll really like Adelina, she sounds like a cool character.:D 😀

    1. YEAH! Glad to hear it Val! 😀 It definitely doesn’t matter which series you read first, but I’d probably go with Legend so you can see the improvement in her writing. But of course it’s up to you! 😀

  5. Oooh, so glad you enjoyed this one, Zoe! I feel the same way as you re: the Legend series, and hence am a bit hesitant to read this one. However, I’ve been seeing some really positive reviews for it, so am looking forward to getting my hands on a copy. 🙂

    1. If you felt the same way about the Legend series as I did (kind of a case of the same old, same old with that series); than I really am interested in seeing what you think of this, as, IMO, it’s much better. 😀

  6. I liked Adelina even though you are right, she is not very likable. But after her hellish life, it makes sense, and it works in the book. I liked Legend, though I thought the books got better as they went along, and this book was definitely stronger than Legend (even though Legend was certainly not so dark). Great review!

    1. It made sense, she was developed well, and it worked for the book. That’s pretty much all that matters, right? 😉 And I definitely agree that this was infinitely better than Legend! 😀 Thank you!

  7. I’m reading this next. Oh gosh, I want to start it right now. I loved her Legend series, well book one I did, the rest were okay… ish. But this sounds brilliant. The antihero, it’s not something we see much in YA. I love that Adelina has flaws, she’s not all that likable and isn’t that balls to the wall girl that YA favours lately. Incredible review Zoe, you’ve kept me totally guessing and I need more! <3

    1. If you liked Legend, I cannot imagine what you’ll think of this because The Young Elites is infinitely better than Legend, so if you’re already a fan of that series you’ll definitely love this one Kelly! 😀 And I love that Adelina has flaws too! 😀 It makes her so much more realistic + relatable! Thank you!

  8. YESS. I’m so excited to read this book! I have it on my Kindle but I haven’t been reading as fast I used to so it’s still there… However the quotes just make the book all the more exciting and knowing that Adelina is the anti-hero is so original!

    I haven’t finished the Legend series, so I can’t say I’m completely used to Marie Lu’s writing. Can’t wait to see how this goes for me. Great review, Zoe! <3

    1. I know, right? 😀 It’s always nice to read about a protagonist who is realistically flawed, you know? 😀 I’m interested in seeing how this goes for you though Marianne! Definitely let me know when you finish. 😉

  9. Eeeeh I want to read this so badly. Mostly especially after I found out it was more by the POV of villains. I LOVE VILLAINS. okay. That sounded bad. But, eh, no regrets, I totally do (Slytherin here) and I didn’t particularly adore Legend either. In fact, I gave it 3-stars and never read the rest. I have half a mind to finish it, but honest, there’s many other series I’d rather read first. SO YES. THIS IS ON MY WISH LIST. ^-^

    1. Cait…I can just tell you’re going to love this one! 😉 I was a bit mediocre about Legend too, but this is SO much better. Definitely looking forward to seeing what you think!

  10. I love the fact that Adelina is an antihero, we definitely do not get enough of that these days. And I’m with you Zoe, I would rather read about a complex and flawed character than just another Mary Sue. I haven’t read Legend yet, so I’m not sure whether I should pick that one up first just so I can see Marie’s writing improve. Hmmm, dilemmas, dilemmas 😛

    1. I so agree Joy! 😀 It’s always nice to read about heroes who are realistically flawed, you know? And hm…that’s definitely a difficult decision! 😉

  11. Woot Woot! So glad you liked it too. I haven’t read her Legend series so I wasn’t sure what to expect from her. But you’re right, Adelina’s bitterness won me over. and the sexiness and hotness of it all. Marie Lu’s writing is so so good in here. Great review, Zoe!! 😉

    1. Thanks Paula! So glad you liked it too – it was absolutely fantastic, right? 😀 And yes! Marie Lu is such a fantastic writer!

  12. oh i was SMITTEN by Legend! it flew by so fast that i felt like i was watching an action-packed movie. loved it and i’m super excited to read the rest of her books!! so glad that you enjoyed this despite having qualms about legend. the dark, sinister aspect of the young elites really appeals me, and adelina will be such a complex character to get to know. EXCITED!!

    great to have you back, Zoe =)

    1. I definitely agree it was action-packed! 😉 And I’m so glad I enjoyed it too! It’s always a great thing when an author can go back and write a new book that is superior to the last. 🙂 I can’t wait to see what you think! And thank you! 😉

  13. Wow sounds like a very interesting book, Zoe! I’m a fan of fantasy novels, and I’d sure want to find out what this is about. I like the idea! It sounds very mysterious, especially with the survivors who have strange markings and stuff.

    The protagonist, Adelina, sounds mysterious as well! That’s pretty cool!

    I really want to read this!! Thanks for the review, Zoe 😀

    1. It’s definitely an awesome start to the series Jillian, so I can’t wait to see what you think! And no problem – thank you for the lovely comment!

  14. Ah, see I definitely felt mediocre about Legend. Actually, I felt more than mediocre about it. I did not approve of it at all.

    BUT THANK GOD SOMEONE ELSE WHO DIDN’T LIKE IT LOVES THIS BOOK. Because I want to read this so bad, but all the other positive reviews have been from people who adored Legend, so I kind of figured it wouldn’t be my cup of tea. Apparently I was wrong.

    In this case, I love being wrong 😀

    1. Legend was just a case of same old, same old, you know? It was good, but there wasn’t anything especially great about it, you know? Anyhow, I am really looking forward to seeing what you think of this – it’s so much better than Legend IMO. 😀

  15. Haven’t read Legend yet, so wouldn’t know about that, but a character like that is definitely more interesting to read about, it’s what I love about Celaena. Fantasy’s a hit or miss with me too, which is why I don’t read it much (though Throne of Glass did get me back into it) so REALLY looking forward to reading it now. 🙂 I’ve only read a few reviews, which had mixed feelings, so yay for a more positive one!

  16. I expected this to be another futuristic dystopian, but I loved the medieval setting. This book was nothing like I expected and I really liked it. Yeah I thought she was sort of the villain, which was strange and surprising and I ended up liking her. I didn’t like the sister plot line (where she doesn’t trust her) but I’m glad that was resolved. I have no clue what the sequel will be like, but I needs it!

  17. I haven’t read anything by Marie Lu yet, so don’t have anything to compare with. But I love the sound of a antihero!! Those type of characters are so much more interesting and complex than just naive innocent protagonists. Will have to grad this one on my next library visit 🙂

    1. Antiheroes are always so interesting, right? I too love their complexity – it makes them so much more real. 🙂 Looking forward to seeing what you think!

  18. Oh, goodness. This book arrived in the mail today (a Christmas present from Kayla @ The Thousand Lives!), and I am so very keen.

    I ADORED the Legend series – Champion in fact being one of my all time favourite books, so I am just so excited to read this series. I have a feeling that I will love it.

    I really like the sound of an almost anti-heroine MC. That’s never been done before!

    As always, lovely review, Zoe ^.^ <3

  19. I have to admit, I was left feeling underwhelmed. I didn’t really like any of the characters in this, I couldn’t connect to any of them. I just… I don’t know. It didn’t work for me. I quite liked the Legend series, but it’s not a favourite or anything. I have to admit that the epilogue was so good in this, I really didn’t like much of the book but the epilogue worked for me. It actually made me want to continue the series, it introduces a character that I feel I could love.

  20. I’ve been going back and forth. I’m interested in this. I’m not interested in this. I am interested in this. I’m not. I wasn’t a fan of Legend so that leaves me weary, but if you like it then I trust your judgement. Lovely review, Z <33

    P.S. Were you in a play recently? If so yay, congrats! If you're going to be, then break a leg 😉

  21. I recently started this on audio, but I’m not sure if it’s for me. I struggle a lot with fantasy books. I was considering putting it aside for me, but you’re definitely pushing me to give it another chance. 🙂 Glad you enjoyed it so much. Great review!

  22. I’ve never read anything by Marie Lu but this honestly seems like a great time to start. The Young Elites premise is appealing to me and I’ve already read so many positive reviews for it. I’m glad that it ended up being an quality reading experience for you too 🙂

    Adelina Amouteru sounds like one heck of a main character. I do love antiheroes, they make me think so much more. I also feel like they’re more realistic, there’s always grey areas and I find them fascinating when explored through antiheroes.

    Lovely review girl <33 I miss reading your concise and informational reviews. This one has just moved up higher on my TBR (:

  23. This sounds like an absolutely stunning book, I love how you described the main character as an anti-hero and I like that about her. I loved the quote you provided too, it is so powerful! I really enjoyed the Legend series, so I think I’d love this one as well.

    Really lovely review Zoe! <3

  24. Yess to your review! I actually really liked this book, although I did love Legend a lot more 🙂 the ending practically killed me of The Young Elites.. I can’t wait for the rest of the books in the series – wonderful review <3

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