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.
I hesitated before reading this book, because I didn’t like Legend as much as I wanted to. So, The Young Elites… I read it a year ago and read it a second time before starting the sequel The Rose Society. And I can tell you, this book was everything I hoped for and more.
It is a fast-paced adventure set in a world inspired by Renaissance Italy. Although I was surprised by the choice to tell the story using both first-person and third-person narrations, the characters drew me into the story so easily. I wanted to know about their struggles and fears and mechanisms to overcome their problems.
Once inside, there were so many things I liked about the universe created by Marie Lu. A disturbed and complex main character, engaging side characters, secret societies and a war to take over a throne. I. Enjoy. Every. Second. Of. It.
The setting was so easy to picture. I thought about Venice and Florence and Assassin’s Creed. The way the powers were explained was very interesting. Talking about energy and gemstones to understand how the characters’ emotions affected their powers helped me imagine their bonds. Of course, the lover of gemstones in me really enjoyed the way they were also used as keys and locks to secrets passageways… among other things.
In this world, the malfettos are the children who survived a terrible epidemic. Some of them were gifted or… cursed (it depends on how you see things), acquiring markings and powers that set them apart from the population. In Kenettra, the gifted – the Young Elites – are hunted by the Inquisition and killed. Among them, there is sixteen years-old Adelina Amouteru.
Adelina is a murderer, a malfetto and a lost girl. She is not your typical heroine.
Being in her head was challenging, painful and sad. Adelina faced so many things in her life that I understand where she’s coming from, and unfortunately with the things still happening to her… I think I know where she’s going. She had a really shitty childhood. A crual father, a dead mother, a complicated relationship with her sister… Adelina had it all. She survived the illness for the best and the worst. Her struggle with herself, her fears, her will to belong somewhere, somehow, was sometimes so powerful… I feared the loneliness bubble she started to build around herself. Adelina is volatile and fragile and passionated, but thirsty for powers too. And that’s what makes her dangerous. She wants to prove her worth, her power, her usefulness. She aches to be loved, and all her decisions to be so have terrible consequences. She lies, but doesn’t control how deep her lies burry her. She is driven by her emotions, acts first and doesn’t think ahead, fearing everyone might abandon her. I love origin stories and villains, and I think Adelina’s story has so much more epic surprises. I. Can’t. Wait.
The other characters are as much as complicated. Let’s do a head count. We have Enzo… the leader of the Dagger Society, the boy with a royal past, attracted to Adelina… then Teren… the disturbed Lead Inquisitor, madly in love with the Queen, ready to do anything to please her… and Raffaele… the beautiful consort. There are not black or white. They have loyalties and ideals and goals, and they are willing to do anything to protect or fulfill them. For romance lovers, don’t worry, there is one. A sublte and touching one. There is friendship too. A complex and fragile one. (Hello, Raffeale-Adelina lovers!!!)
The end was truly heartbreaking, but the epilogue is so promising that I’m trying my best not to listen to the sequel calling me while I’m writing this review.
Things I’d like to see in the sequel:
- more Teren
- more villainy
- more about the Queen (I want to understand why she does what she does. She seems interesting.)