Dark fantasy at it's finest: The Young Elites by Marie LuMonday, October 20, 2014
If anyone would ask me what I thought of Marie Lu's sexy new book The Young Elites, i'd reply with five words: dark fantasy at it's finest. I absolutely could not put this book down! It was like X-Men meets Game of Thrones meets Throne of Glass meets Cruel Beauty meets.. arrghh nevermind. Why don't I just give you five reasons why The Young Elites deserves that five-word praise? Here we go..
1. The Malfettos. A decade ago, a deadly illness called the Blood Fever swept through the nation, killing thousands of people. The few who survived the fever, mostly children, were left with strange scars that marked them as outcasts and bad luck to society. However, 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.
In an X-Men kind of universe, the Malfettos would be the mutants. Shunned by society and deemed as "bad luck" as an excuse to hide the king's negligence in ruling his kingdom, innocent malfettos have been killed left and right. That doesn't make them weaklings though- most of the Young Elites are pretty kick-ass! What I loved about the malfettos is that their origin was never fully explained and there's still so much secrecy surrounding the Young Elites.
2. Adelina Amouteru. Adelina -freakin- Amouteru. Don't let her regal name fool you because this girl has gone through hell and back, losing her mother to the Blood Fever and having to spend her whole life answering to her abusive and sadistic father's beck and call. Because of her harsh experiences, there is a great darkness inside Adelina that threatens to consume her and will not hesitate to kill. Adelina isn't the typical heroine protagonist- she's clearly drawn to evil and darkness, and her heart calls out for vengeance no matter what the means, but there's this tiny spark in her that tries to control the darkness. She's pretty bad-ass if I do say so myself.
“I am Adelina Amouteru. I belong to no one. On this night, I swear to you that I will rise above everything you’ve ever taught me. I will become a force that this world has never known. I will come into such power that none will dare hurt me again.”3. The Dagger Society. When the Inquisition held Adelina at the stake for the murder of her father, a group of Young Elites whisked in and saved her. Basically the X-Men of their world, The Dagger Society dedicate their lives to reinstating the rights of the malfettos and overthrowing the king and queen. Led by a sword-fighting fire wielder named Enzo Valenciano, the group sees murder as a means to an end and will kill anyone who gets in their way. I loved reading about them and their different abilities- there's Ezio with his ability to control fire, a male courtesan who can sense the abilities of other malfettos, a windwalker who can control air, a girl who can steal the will of any animal, a boy who can bend any object to his will, and one of the greatest fighters the world has ever seen.
Adelina trains to become on of the Daggers and this opens up whole different worlds for her, and in turn for us. Through the society, I was whisked to a world with flying manta rays in the sky, a beautiful pleasure court, underground tunnels, and devious plots.
4. The plot and world-building. Marie Lu packed everything into this book: darkness, family, magic, powers, action-packed swordfights, sexy romance, deception, betrayal; most of the plot is centered around political intrigue packed with a lot of players. I never knew what was going to happen next and I couldn't stop turning the pages. She weaved a whole new seamless world to perfectly back all of it up, too. I learned something new about their world as the story progresses, and it opens up a lot of roads leading to places outside Adelina's kingdom- places I can't wait to read more of.
5. The epilogue. THAT EPILOGUE. THAT SNEAKY SNEAKY CLIFF HANGER EPILOGUE. I can't say much without spoiling, but it's definitely a massive game-changer! A few hints? Princess. Different Kingdom. Prince. Underworld. Confused? I am too! And I need book two right this instant!
So yup, those are the five things that instantly made me Marie Lu's slave. Anything for book two. ANYTHING. Kidding aside, or not-so-kidding aside, The Young Elites isn't perfect, but it's a definite must-read for people looking for a dark fantasy with political intrigue and a fast paced adrenaline-filled plot.