The Young Elites

20821111by Marie Lu
YA Fantasy
5 of 5 stars

This book blew me away! I would not change a thing about it – I loved it! Where do I even begin? This got bumped up on my TBR list because I happened to find an ARC (in the wild!) of the sequel, The Rose Society, and just knew I had to read these ASAP. I’ve heard good things about Marie Lu for years, and now I know they are completely deserved.

Adelina may seem like a typical protagonist – she has a dysfunctional (abusive) parent, a perfect little sister, and can’t wait to get away and earn her independence. She has some intense scars from the Blood Fever as well as her father, and it’s easy to root for her. In a society that hates malfettos (marked survivors), Adelina is definitely the underdog. But the best part is that she is not the hero. Adelina discovers she has tremendous powers of illusion, but that she can only feed her power with fear, bitterness, anger, and hatred. When the Young Elites’ Dagger Society saves/recruits her to the cause of restoring Enzo (another marked Blood Fever survivor) to the throne, she is caught up in court intrigue and espionage. But Adelina is tired of being used, and when her sister is kidnapped, she decides to burn everything in her path to save Violetta.

At this point, I was a bit disappointed that this series fell prey to what I call “the perfect little sister” trope. Beginning with Prim in The Hunger Games, every Strong Female Protagonist must have a Perfect Little Sister that illustrates the heroine’s flaws while also standing in as the only innocent person in the world, and the only thing in the world worth saving. She has no personality (except sweetness and light) and no purpose aside from being used to push our heroine into compromising situations or toward personal growth. It feels empty to me, as if without the younger sister, our heroine wouldn’t be empathetic or human, like she’s somehow deficient. All of that ranting to say: THIS book takes that trope, and twists it into something fresh and interesting, and THAT is when it won me over. Violetta is not just the Perfect Little Sister, and this fact sets up some amazing possibilities for this series and Adelina’s journey.

This is an excellent story about thwarted intentions and what brings out the darkness in all of us. I cannot wait for the sequel (I’ll be starting that as soon as this post is finished), but I have a feeling I’ll be just as eager for the third book.

If you’d like to see more reviews or buy a copy for yourself, The Young Elites is available on Goodreads and on Powell’s store website, here. Powell’s has several locations in Oregon, and is one of the largest independent bookstores in the country. Please consider supporting your local bookstore!

Similar reads:

  • The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski – An excellent blend of intrigue and espionage. Although there is no magic here, Kestrel must match wits with everyone she encounters. See my review here.
  • Clariel by Garth Nix – A prequel to the Abhorsen trilogy – Clariel struggles against the future her parents have laid out for her, and the call to powers unlike anything she’s ever known.
  • The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman – Lyra and Will find a knife of amazing power and struggle to use it for good, when both of their worlds have other plans for it.
  • Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo – Light and darkness battle in more ways than one in this trilogy, and it’s fantastic! See my review here.
  • Nevernight by Jay Kristoff – Mia Corvere is determined to survive initiation into the Red Church to become one of the best assassins in the land. Only then can she avenge her fallen family. See my review here.

11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. erinkbay
    Oct 08, 2015 @ 19:10:07

    Yay!!! I’m so glad you liked it!! Haha, CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT ENDING?? Anyways, jealous you got the sequel!!!! And OOH you should definitely read Legend!!! I love those books!!! More than The Young Elites, actually!!! 😉



  2. Amanda
    Oct 08, 2015 @ 19:15:33

    I will definitely have to check that series out – her writing is amazing!



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