January 2, 2015

Review: The Young Elites by Marie Lu

Be true to yourself. But that's something everyone says and no one means. No one wants you to be yourself. They want you to be the version of yourself that they like.
The Book Rest - Review for The Young Elites by Marie Lu
Title: The Young Elites
Author: Marie Lu
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Rating: A
Recommended For: Fans of Shatter Me, Divergent, Legend
Source: Library

One-sentence review: A fast-paced, action-packed adventure that's difficult to put down and has the perfect mix of everything any YA fantasy lover will enjoy with especially complex characterization.

TBR It: Goodreads
Buy It: Amazon

I've been kind of out of the circle of books lately, so when I found out Marie Lu was releasing the first book in a series I was shocked, elated and grateful that I didn't have to wait long to read it! I put other books on hold to start this book and it did not disappoint.

In true Lu fashion, once The Young Elites starts moving forward, it doesn't lose its speed. As a survivor of the blood fever that affected her nation when she was a child, heroine Adelina is a malfetto and an abomination to her father. Some survivors are rumored to have obtained strange powers through the sickness and Adelina's father will do whatever it takes to provoke anything out of her that will bring him a profit. Adelina's father is not the only one who doesn't like malfettos; the government is also trying to eliminate any of these Young Elites lest they threaten the Inquisition Axis' power. A secret group of Young Elites known as The Dagger Society wants to do just that and when Adelina is thrown in their midst she must decide who the enemy is, it may even be herself. 

This story is primarily narrated by Adelina but also devotes chapters to third-person omniscient perspectives focused on other main characters. At first I wasn't sure about this, but as the book progressed it really helped with dramatic irony and for the reader to know other important things behind-the-scenes. So much happens in this book and it's difficult to know who to trust, so gaining those perspectives made it more interesting to follow instead of being too cryptic. 

Adelina is one of the most fascinating and painful characters I've read in YA fantasy/dystopia. When we meet her she has been so abused and wrecked by her father's resentment toward her that his hostile anger has festered and become part of who she is. She isn't the good/brave/pure Katniss Everdeen and she isn't the treated-like-a-monster-but-really-sweet Juliette from Shatter Me. Adelina has horrible feelings, terrible thoughts and has repressed everything inside. She is realistic and that's why I love her. I think anyone who was abused in any degree by a parent or caretaker can relate to being so affected as Adelina. Furthermore, Lu does an excellent job of allowing the reader a glimpse into her pain and anger but still maintaining her as a heroine we want to get behind. 

The other characters are just as vivid and definitely meet Adelina's match for adventurous cat-and-mouse games and emotional sparring. I especially enjoyed Raffaele and his dynamic between both Adelina and Enzo respectively. Raffaele has a gift of altering emotions and feeling ones energy change so it's not always easy to determine if he is affecting any conversation. Furthermore, he is the best character to utilize knowing his perspective and makes him more complex. 

The end of this book blew me away almost more than I wanted. I'm not sure what direction Lu will take this story, but whenever the next installment is available I'll be ready!

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