Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Young Elites by Marie Lu

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.

It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

Rating: 2.5/5 Stars

I read this for Popsugar's 2016 reading challenge: A bestselling Young Adult

The Young Elites promised to be a book I would love. It tells the story of Adelina, a sixteen year-old girl survivor of a fever that killed her mother and left her scarred, turning her into a Malfetto along with thousands of other children. People fear malfettos, thinking them to be omens of bad luck and even possessors of great powers. Adelina has lived under the care of her abusive father and she never thought much about herself until her powers manifest and she discovers that there is something dark and twisted inside her, ready to take revenge on those who wronged her. It is the story of a person becoming a villain, of being swallowed whole by darkness. Combine that with intrigue, fantasy and a dash of romance and The Young Elites should have been one of my favourite reads!

And yet… all I can think about this book is:

Don’t get me wrong, this book is not bad I just… feel nothing towards it.

I started reading this as a part of Popsugar’s reading challenge and because I had been looking forward to try this one for a while now. I got up to 52% in less than a day, something not very common for me since I’m a slow reader. However, and even though I had gotten that far, I still didn’t have a sense of what the story was about. I didn’t care about Adelina (although I did relate to her at some points) nor did any of the secondary characters left an impression on me. At the end of the day, I finished this book not because I wanted to see what would happen, but rather because I wanted to get it over with, and that was probably because I wasn’t as invested in the story as I should have been.

I didn’t care about these characters, or their stories and I’m still trying to figure out why.

Adelina and her journey towards darkness was by far the best part of the book. I relished those moments in which darkness and rage consumed her, only to leave her confused and sorry when it went away. Her confusion and horror were understandable, and it was fascinating to see how she started to justify herself, how her insecurities, her fears and ambitions drove her to do things she never thought she was capable of, and even get to enjoy doing them.
Probably one of the most interesting aspects about Adelina is that, even though she has been physically and mentally abused, she also plays the victim card very often something that not many authors tend to do. Now, I’m not saying that she should just “get over it”, she went through a lot of horrors from her father’s treatment so it’s not as if I’m saying she should shrug it off and move on, her anger and sadness is justified. However, Adelina is very self-absorbed. She’s the kind of person who, in their minds, you are either with them or against them. It’s always interesting to read about people who think so little and yet so high of themselves, and Adelina didn’t seek out darkness because it was her only choice but rather because she enjoyed it. Her ambition and desire to be loved “with no strings attached” came to a point when she would judge every little thing as an act against her, even if she herself had caused it. The author did a good job, I think, of portraying those thoughts in Adelina, her desire to be liked conflicting with her need to stand up for herself and not be someone else to please others.

The romance:

Yeah… I wasn’t a fan of that either. I understand why it was necessary since it showed Adelina bonding with someone who was similar to her, and cared for her at the same time that tried to use her. However I just… I didn’t care about them together or just Enzo, the crown Prince and a powerful Young Elite. He was looking to restore his rightful claim to the throne that was taken away by his older sister. He is the leader of the Dagger Society, and takes a particular interest in Adelina and her powers.
Besides him, the secondary characters were no better. It was strange because, even though the book spends a lot of time doing nothing, it doesn’t focus on the characters either so, unless they mentioned which power they had, I had no idea of who was who. They had little traits such as one being the “nice” other being the “dick” and then a hue of nothingness for the other secondary characters.
I didn’t have feelings for these people, or their relationships. Whenever Adelina and Enzo shared a “romantic” moment all I could do was read with mild boredom, and it was supposed to be hot I mean, he controlled fire y’all!

Same happened with her sister, I know that they cared for one another, I just didn’t feel it. Although her sister did turn out to be a more interesting character than she seemed, her character still was kiddy pool-deep.

The pace:

Honestly, it wasn't great. We would get this super action-packed scene... and then nothing. The pages went on and on with nothing happening and no idea of what the plot was.

The ending was interesting, probably the best part of the novel but it didn’t leave me wanting more. I might read it to know how it all follows up, but so far I don’t have the dire need to order The Rose Society.

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