If I hadn’t already been in love with Marie Lu, I certainly would be now. “The Young Elites” was simply outstanding. In the shelves of the ever so crowded section of YA, this book stands out among the rest. Original, well thought out, and incredibly thrilling and intense, these are just some of the few things it offers.
The story of The Young Elites was much darker than I anticipated. Adelina , the story’s protagonist, wasn’t afraid to bloody her hands when need be. She carried a lot a darkness in her soul. But who could blame her for it? When she was young, Adelina contracted a serious fever that many people all over had and was left with serious scars and only one eye. Due to this, her father treated her like utter trash, what they call a “malfetto”. She did not have a good home life. When Adelina finally had enough of her life and tried to escape, she ended up being found and being taken care of by the Young Elites. Like Adelina, the Young Elites were all survivors of the fever who were left with horrible scars, but they also were gifted with special powers. She soon found out she might have powers as well, but hers were different. Her powers were one of darkness and potential terror.
One of the things that really stood out to me was how this story was full of complex characters. There was no pure evil or pure good character. Adelina was the protagonist, but she could’ve been the antagonist at times if she wasn’t telling the story. Enzo, the leader of the Young Elites was said to be one of the good guys, but even he was no sweet thing. But, what I especially loved was Teren, the bad guy of the book. He was definitely horrible, but he wasn’t just “evil” for the sake of being evil. In fact, at times, I contemplated that maybe he wasn’t the true villain. Maybe it was someone else…
I also really loved the character relationships within this book. Adelina had an incredibly strong bond with her sister that I highly respected. Given that I have a younger sister, I always love books that showcase a realistic relationship between the two. I also loved Adelina’s friendship with Raffaelle, a courtesan. It was nice to see that not every friendship with a person of the opposite sex has to turn into romance. But, that being said, I did really like the development of Adelina and Enzo’s relationship. It was not too rushed and had just enough of them together to leave us wanting more, but not too many scenes so that it made me sick.
My only real complaints within this book are that I wished there was a little bit more backstory and worldbuilding. There was some, but not quite enough to leave me satisfied. Marie Lu had crafted such a wonderful world that i was sad that I didn’t get to know more about it. I also felt that there was a slight of uneven pacing. There was some times in the middle where not much was happening, yet near the end, there was almost too much happening for me to really grasp it. Not to mention this book had an awful cliffhanger. Of course.
Other than that, I absolutely loved this book. Adelina was a great protagonist that was definitely unique, and the story kept me on my toes the whole time. Definitely recommend. 🙂