The Young Elites by Marie Lu
Summary: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 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.