September 18, 2014

ARC Review: The Young Elites by Marie Lu

at 9/18/2014 01:18:00 AM

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Legend series 

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.


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Marie Freakin' Lu. I absolutely love her and her books. This lovely lady is a local author and quite an artist. I managed to get a copy of her upcoming book, The Young Elites, at this year's San Diego Comic Con. This book is full of fantasy, hate, love, grief, betrayal, death, darkness, throne climbing and character growth. Set in the country of Kenettra, the story centers around several characters and shifts between first person and third person. Adelina Amouteru is a scarred (literally) young sixteen year old girl who is among the thousands of people who came down with a blood fever (of unknown origins) that spread across Kenettra. 

On Marie's website there's a mini blurb about TYE that's basically summarizes the entire story in a nutshell, "The Young Elites (available everywhere Oct. 7, 2014) is the origin story of a villain. It is set in an alternate fantasy version of Renaissance Italy. After the equivalent of the Black Death sweeps through the world, a few survivors come out of the illness with supernatural powers. The main character, Adelina, is essentially the teenage girl version of Darth Vader or Magneto—the story chronicles her downfall into darkness."

Despite the fact that Adelina is the proposed "villian," I couldn't help, but feel only empathy and heartache for her. As a female, she has no power over herself, which goes along with the time period of misogyny and male dominance. Adding to the mix, her only surviving parent is an abusive, cruel, and self-serving monster. There were so many times where I wanted to throttle her father. Adelina wasn't the only one who came down with the fever in her family. Her younger sister did as well and  unlike, Adelina, Violetta recovered without a scar to mar her beautiful features. There is some jumping to and fro between flashbacks, but at the current moment, the blood fever has passed through Delia, Adelina's hometown, and some survivors are rumored to have developed powers. In an era where religion reigns supreme, this does not bode well for the survivors, also known as malfetto, abominations. For those who do not follow this line of thinking, the survivors are known as the young elites.

Ever since she has recovered from the blood fever, her father has done everything imaginable to Adelina to bring out any powers she might have received from the blood fever. After eavesdropping on her father's private conversation with a mysterious stranger, Adelina packs up her few belongings and runs away from home. She doesn't make it far, when her father catches up with her. There's a struggle and she snaps. All of the stress, anger, and hatred boils up inside her and her power is finally reveal and leaves her father dead.  At the risk of sounding bloodthirsty, I cheered at this! I was glad that he was her first kill. Despite her godly powers, Adelina has a mortal heart and the guilt from her father's death is her constant companion. 

Caught by the palace guards and sentenced to be burned at the stake. Here we are introduced to Teren Santoro, the leader of the Inquisition Axis. Officially he works for the king, but he also has his own motives and ambitions. He definitely plays a key role in Adelina's fall into darkness throughout the story and we'll definitely see more of him in the future. Things look bad for Adelina, but she is rescued by a band of young elites and spirited away. She may have escaped the clutches of Teren for now, but she might have traded one prison sentence for another. The Dagger Society, as they are called are comprised of young elites from all walks of life and social classes. Their leader is Enzo Valenciano, also known as The Reaper. Charming, but calculating. He's not someone you mess with. Just like Teren, his motives are many and he won't hestitate to kill Adeline if she doesn't help further his cause. Under the watchful eyes of the Dagger Society, Adeline begins to train in fighting and exploring the limits of her powers, or rather the lack of them. As Adelina's story unfolds and entwines with those of Teren and Enzo, we'll see how much one can take before giving in to the darkness within.

Without going into too much detail, the cast of the Dagger Society are solid individuals with their own backstories that  will hopefully be revealed in the second book. There are other major players besides Teren and Enzo, however they were only briefly touched upon. The plot twist near the end put me through an emotional wringer. I hope it isn't permanent and that it will be fixed in book two, but we shall see what Marie has planned. In a Q & A during a signing, Marie stated that Magento was her favorite and this book definitely reflects that. This was another great addition to Marie's resume and a definite addition to my bookshelf. A solid 5 star rating. You did well, Marie. Now hurry up and write book two already. :)

5 stars!!!!

About the Author


I write young adult novels, and have a special love for dystopian books. Ironically, I was born in 1984. Before becoming a full-time writer, I was an Art Director at a video game company. Now I shuffle around at home and talk to myself a lot. :)

I graduated from the University of Southern California in '06 and currently live in LA, where I spend my time stuck on the freeways.


Connect with Marie: Blog  |  Twitter  | Goodreads  | Facebook  |  Deviantart

Giveaway

Up for grabs is a hardback copy of The Young Elites. It isn't officially on sale until October 7th, but I'm giving a copy away once it the date arrives. The book will be sent to you separately from the miscellaneous swag pack and SIGNED San Diego Comic Con bookplate by Marie herself. This giveaway ends on the 30th of September and for residents of the USA only. 


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Also be sure to enter my other giveaway for a kindle paperwhite!   http://bit.ly/1s7r3dI

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