I am a 20 year-old college student majoring in Biochemistry, who loves to read and make book-related videos on my YouTube channel. :)
Series: The Young Elites #1
Publication: October 7, 2014 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
"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."
This book is one of my most highly anticipated books of the year, and it did not disappoint. I love it so so much.
What makes this book unique, is how dark and gritty it is. The main character, Adelina, went through unimaginable horrors before the book even begins. This leaves her with a deep-rooted darkness in her soul. Adelina is not the pure heroine of most YA books, she has so many issues to work through, and she has to find the strength to do this. It is a struggle for her throughout the story to find the goodness and strength within herself. She is pulled in many different directions, and it was a compelling adventure to read her story.
I also love the overall feel of this book. It is a fantasy, but has a historical feel to it. Like I said before, it's really dark. Even the setting and the world is not a happy place. It is on the brink of war and the people are unsettled. Malfettos (marked survivors of the blood fever) are being burned alive in the belief that they are Young Elites. The whole atmosphere is distressing.
There is also a focus on family. Adelina has a troubled family life and is pushed to drastic measures because of it. I like how her family bonds are explored in the story and they play a big role in Adelina's character development.
Adelina is such a rich character with faults and strengths. She stands out from all other characters I have read. She definitely brings an edge to the story and I would venture to say that her character MAKES the story. I love what Marie Lu did with her.
There is a little bit of a romance, but it definitely does not take center stage. I think it fit in with the story nicely and had purpose. In some books similar to this, the romance seems forced or out of place, but that is not the case with this one.
I do have to say that the world-building in this book is not very strong. I felt the same way with the Legend series. The world is cool and pretty, but I didn't feel captivated by it, and I didn't feel like it came to life. This could just be my experience, but I definitely think the story focuses on the plot and the characters instead of world-building.
There are changes in perspective, although they do add to the world building, they mostly further the plot and character development. The POV changes are a nice addition and they kept me on my toes.
With the way the book ended, I think the world will be expanded in the next books, and I love the direction the book takes at the end, I am seriously salivating for the next one!
This book has the same writing style as Lu's Legend trilogy, it's fast-paced and easy to imagine. The plot will keep you guessing and the characters will stealthily grab your heart.
I love how bold and abrasive this book is at times. This is a unique, intense, plot-focused fantasy, and I think many will fall in love with it!
* I received a hardcover copy of this book for free from Penguin in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own. *