The Young Elites by Marie Lu

9780147511683WOW, I am in love!  With a book, no surprise.  Short Story Long recently reviewed The Young Elites, and at the end she said:

Recommendation: Buy. If you’re looking for a fantasy story about the villain, definitely try The Young Elites.

I didn’t KNOW I was looking for a fantasy story about the villain, but immediately I realized that of course I was.  And it was SO GOOD.  I enjoyed Marie Lu’s Legend trilogy, but honestly, I didn’t think it was extraordinarily memorable.  Not so with The Young Elites, which fascinated me from the first chapter all the way through the tantalizing epilogue.

Adelina is a mess.  Her mother died young, she suffered through a disease that left her with only one eye, and her father is incredibly abusive – verbally, mentally, and physically.  Her horrific childhood has understandably aligned her strongly to the emotions of fear and rage (which in this fantasy world means she gains power from them).  What made me fall in love with this book is how her past is not something that is easily overcome – instead, I mean, it kind of overcomes her.

The fantasy world is amazing and interesting and engrossing, but I was so especially enthralled by the psychological aspects of Adelina’s journey.  She loathes her father…but she still kind of hopes that someday he will love her.  She desperately wants to rise above his low opinion of her, but she finds a weird sort of solace in sinking to his low expectations.  She wants to be hopeful and trusting, but she is more comfortable with fear and anger, and hey, she can use them AGAINST other people before they’re used against her, so…that’s something new, huh?

Adelina’s not the only psychologically interesting character.  Enzo is a fascinating male lead – exiled prince seeking to reclaim his throne…but unlike most YA heroes, he has no problem murdering innocent people to get there.  But despite his ruthlessness, he seems to appreciate and value Adelina, though their relationship is nicely twisty.

And then there’s Rafaele, who is a more feminine Finnick (from The Hunger Games series) …as in they are both forced into prostitution but play it off like a choice.  He is polite, sweet, and so helpful…which makes him SUPER interesting when he promises to protect Adelina and then immediately tells Enzo to kill her.

Anyway, what I mean is, everyone is a mess!  They could very easily be described as awful people…and yet I love them!  We’re meant to root for them, even while their actions are questionable at best.  I love this kind of story that forces me outside a typical plot and makes me step into the shoes of people I would not want to interact with in real life.  Or maybe I would!  No.  Maybe?  

Book Jacket

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.

Release Date:  October 2014

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