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The Young Elites

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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.

355 pages, Hardcover

First published October 7, 2014

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About the author

Marie Lu

47 books134k followers
[Note: Many apologies, but I'm woefully bad at checking my Goodreads emails! If you'd like to send a note/msg, please catch me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Marie_Lu . Thanks!]

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.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 15,038 reviews
October 18, 2014
I know who you really are. Who will ever want you, Adelina?

My fury heightens. Everyone. They will cower at my feet, and I will make them bleed.

Two words. Fuck, yeah!

I don't even know how to describe this book. Maybe William Shakespeare's Mistborn? It is not without its flaws, but the love of a book, much like the love of a human, is completely chemistry-based, and for me, this book just clicked. Every so often, the planets align, and Khanh completely loves a book. It happens!

This book has so many elements that I love. A very light romance. A dark, physically-scarred main character. A beautiful (and completely platonic) friendship between the main female character and a male courtesan. A complex "villain". And a plot to take over the kingdom.

Can I get a "Fuck, yeah?"

The Summary:
You tried to escape from me, he says, but I found you. You have lost and I have won. I tell him that I’m glad he’s dead. I tell him to go away. But he stays.
It doesn’t matter, anyway. I’m going to die tomorrow morning
Adelina Amouteru is a murderer, justified. Adelina has a shitty life. She is like Cinderella, without the stepmother, but with a father like hers, who needs a wicked stepmother? There is only one word to describe daddy, and that word is motherfucking asshole. Ok, make that two words. Whatever.

Anyway, it is a pretty shitty life mainly because not so long ago, this fever thing swept through her country, killing massive amounts of people, leaving the rest physically scarred. Adelina herself is not exempt. Not only that, there is the mental scarring, the stigma of being a malfetto . Malfettos are feared, hated, shunned. Their very existence puts shame onto a family name. Adelina's family, formerly wealthy and respected, now suffers from her disgrace. Because she lived. And sadly, her fate is far better than some...there have been rumors that the malfetto are cursed, as such, they have been badly persecuted.

It could be worse for Adelina, but not by much. Her dad hates her. Her sister is blissfully under her dad's thumb. And now her dad is going to sell her off to be a nasty old man's wife. What's a girl to do? Run away! And when daddy catches her and cruelly forces her hand? Kill him!
I am Adelina Amouteru, the phantoms whispered to my father, speaking my most frightening thoughts in a chorus of voices, dripping with hatred. My hatred. 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.
And that, my friends, is how Adelina becomes a murderer. Totally justified. You go, girl! Way to self-defense!

Only she is caught. Sadface. And she is sentenced to be executed. Even more sadface. Only at the last minute (it's always the last minute, isn't it?!) she is saved. Not that she needed much saving. I mean, look at this shit. Girl's got it under control, yo! Then she faints. Totally excusable, I mean, look at that shit.
And just like that, the black clouds twist—they scatter into a swarm of a million moving flecks that swirl across the sky and then dive down, down, down at the crowd. A nightmare of locusts. They descend on us with merciless efficiency, their buzzing drowning out the people’s cries.
That takes a lot of energy. Maybe an entire package of Oreo's worth of energy. Can't blame a girl for fainting after that.

Next thing Adelina knows, she wakes up in this totally plush place, handsome stranger rescuer dude is there, and he's in a Super Secret Special Society called The Young Elites. Only it's not just ANYONE. This guy, Enzo is the crown prince!
The word was that he had nearly died from the blood fever. He came out of it marked instead. Unfit to be heir to the throne. Enzo’s older sister stripped Enzo of his crown and banished him permanently from the palace, never again to set foot near the royal family.
Kind of. Not really. That's because, he, too, is a malfetto, and since the public has been told that malfettoes are BAD EVIL NO GOOD, it would be kind of problematic to put one of those people on the throne, right? So his uncle, the King...is not fond of the prince, to put it lightly.

And now the prince wants his throne back. WHAT DO??! TAKE OVER THE WORLD. Or the country, at least. Baby steps! Today, the country. Tomorrow, the universe.

So the malfettoes are a potentially powerful bunch. The trouble is that malfettoes are aplenty, but only a few of them have special powers. Is Adelina one of the select ones? Yes. But can she actually control her abilities? Can she pass the Young Elites' test?

The price for failure is high.
If for some reason I can’t control my abilities, they won’t just cast me out of the Dagger Society. I know too much. A weak link in a world that wants us dead. That weak link could be me.
If I cannot pass their tests, then they will do to me what they must have done with the boy who could not control the rain. They will kill me.
The Setting: I do believe the best word for this setting is plush. It has a very Renaissance Italy feel to it, and there is plenty of bling. The main character is rescued from a somewhat poor existence and boosted into the lap of luxury. The setting is oftentimes luxurious. There are secret lairs. And there are pretty pretty dresses and I DON'T EVEN CARE. I loved it all.

The Characters: How do I love them? Let me count the ways. There are no heroes and heroines in this book, only anti-heroes, and I'll be damned if I didn't love them.

As I stare silently back, I feel something powerful stir inside me—a buried fire, subdued during childhood and long forgotten. I have lived all my life in the shadow of my father and my sister. Now that I’m standing in the sun for the first time, I dare to think differently.
The broken butterfly has been made whole.
I love a strong, dark, bitter, angry character (who's not afraid to kill), and I can only describe Adelina as totally kick-ass. She has a darkness inside her that I love, and she is physically scarred, which I also love. Adelina is missing an eye. She is good-looking, but the book never makes it overwhelming. She has doubts, she has fears. She is haunted by the ghost of her own guilt.
I do this because I love you, my father’s ghost whispers. You may not understand it right now, but it is for your own good. You are a monster. I still love you. I will set you right.
She has worries about her own self-worth.
They are only good to me because they need me. Just like Enzo. Kindness with strings attached. Would they have befriended me if I were worthless?
She is not afraid to get revenge. Adelina is no pussy-ass weakling female character, and that is the most important thing. I also absolutely love her relationship with her sister.

“I will take back my throne soon,” Enzo whispers. “And malfettos will no longer live in fear.”
The man with the plan. The Boy Who Would Be King. He wants his birthright, and he'll go through anything to get it. Adelina be damned. His romance with her...is it a romance?
“She is nothing to me,” he snaps with a careless gesture of one hand. “Nothing more than a Dagger recruit. Just part of our plans.” The ice in his voice hits me hard. Nothing more. A rip appears on my heart.
Is it love, or manipulation? There is only one goal here. Enzo may have a noble purpose...but he is no saint. He can kill with the best of them, and don't you dare cross his friend.
The next morning, Inquisitors find Count Maurizio Saldana’s dismembered body nailed to his front door, his mouth suspended in a scream, his corpse burned black beyond recognition.

He kneels on the floor. Lifts the whip. Holds his breath. Then he snaps the whip over his head. The blades rake deep into the flesh of his back, ripping jagged lines across his skin. He lets out a strangled gasp as pain floods him, robbing him of his breath.
I am a deformed creature, he mouths silently, repeating the words he once said as a twelve-year-old boy, an Inquisitorin-training, kneeling before the sixteen-year-old Princess Giulietta.
Mad, obsessive, worshipful love. Teren is alternately a pitiful and terrifying creature. He has been in love with beautiful young queen all his life, he is utterly devoted to her. He will do anything for her, including find and destroy Adelina Amouteru, using any tactic possible, however dirty.
“You have three days,” he says in a low voice. “If you go back on your word again, I will shoot an arrow through your sister’s neck and out the back of her skull. She’ll be lucky if that’s the first thing I do.” He smiles, his teeth flashing in the night.
Talk about evil! Talk about madness for love. Talk about a low-sense of self-worth! Enzo, the evil guard, is the "villain," of this book, if it has one. He is so filled with self-loathing.

Rafaelle: Probably my favorite character, to be honest. How rare is it that one finds a beautiful amale character in a platonic, true friendship with a female character. And beautiful he is.
Daaaaaamn, son!
His hair, black and shining, drapes across one of his shoulders in a loose, silken braid. His olive skin is smooth, flawless, glowing. The faint musk of night lilies envelops him in a veil, intoxicating, promising something forbidden.
I like him because he's pretty. I like him because he is a male courtesan. I like him because he wants a better life, and he has a kind, gentle heart. Beautiful boy!

This book. Can I get a FUCK YEAH?

Profile Image for Emily May.
1,993 reviews298k followers
August 12, 2016

Want to know what happens when Marie Lu does darker and sexier?

Then read this book.

Contrary to what I first believed, this book is not dystopian or post-apocalyptic, but is actually a dark fantasy set in a bleak world full of magic, complex villains and princes looking to reclaim their throne. And it's damn good.

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of a blood fever that swept through her nation when she was a child. The fever left only a few survivors and those survivors remained permanently scarred with strange markings on their bodies. But some of them were left with something else... strange abilities that made them powerful, dangerous and feared. These people are called The Young Elites. Adelina discovers her own unique abilities in unfortunate circumstances and is propelled into a world where everyone, it seems, is an enemy.

I absolutely loved Adelina.

“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.”

She's spent her whole life being abused by her father, feeling unloved and worthless. And she has a complex relationship with her sister - while she loves her dearly, she's always been jealous of the way their father was affectionate towards her. Her life moves from one hurdle to the next; when she finally unleashes the power she needs to stand up to her father, this makes her an enemy of society.

Enter the Young Elites.

There are so many fascinating characters in this novel. Obviously readers will love the extremely sexy (but not sexually graphic) scenes between Adelina and Enzo, the leader of the Elites, but there are many other interesting dynamics going on. I especially loved the relationship between Adeline and Raffaele; it's so rare to see a platonic relationship between a young male and female told well, particularly when the guy is described as "beautiful".

But I think the thing I like best about this book is how no one is simply good or bad, everything is much more complicated and interesting than that. Adelina is allowed to have her own dark, twisted thoughts. She's not a hero. She's broken, selfish and even a little wicked at times:

“In spite of everything, I feel a strange sense of glee.
All this chaos is of my own creation.”

And every few chapters, the evil Teren is given his own perspective for several pages that gives us insight into why he behaves the way he does. I never liked him, of course, but I did feel a strange sense of sympathy for him. Aren't complex villains just one of the best things ever?

So Adelina gets caught between two powerful groups of people who could each make her life hell, simply take it away from her, or hurt the sister she loves. She must learn fast, keep secrets and trust no one... it's a wild, breathless journey that had me thanking the god of literature that this is going to be a series. I can't wait to see what happens next.

“Everyone has darkness inside them, however hidden.”

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Profile Image for Christine Riccio.
Author 4 books101k followers
March 4, 2015
I grew to enjoy this book! At first I was hesitant, but the darkness of the characters eventually sucked me in and I will definitely be reading book 2. Here's my full review/discussion/booktalk: http://youtu.be/JMy_wjZDV7E
Profile Image for Angelica.
814 reviews1,155 followers
April 18, 2020
This was... disappointing?

It feels weird writing this negative review when everyone I know is absolutely raving about it. It makes me feel like maybe, I missed something. I even debated rounding up the rating or letting go of some of my issues with the novel but that would just wouldn't be me.

So, here's the honesty.

I went into this book with the highest of all the hopes. I finished it feeling entirely unfulfilled.

First let me say that this was a very interesting book to read after reading Vicious by V.E. Schwab.

In both books, everyone has their own morally ambiguous motives and everyone is determined to achieve their sometimes destructive goals.

Just like Vicious, this book follows the lives of characters that have gained natural powers through sickness and death. Some see their characters as holy, some see them as things that must be destroyed.

There are characters in both books that fill the same positions. For example, in both, there is a man hunting down the protagonists, in hopes to kill them all. This man does this because he believes it is the will of God. This man, Eli in Vicious and Teren in TYE, even has the same power in both books!

There are a lot of other minor similarities that I'm not going to go into because despite what they had in common, I consider these to be very different books. It's just that unfortunately, having read them back to back, probably caused me to not enjoy this one quite as much.

At least, that's the excuse I'm giving this book.

My main issue with this novel was that I simply didn't care all that much about it. I didn't care much for the characters, which all blended in my mind after a while. I didn't care for the plot, which stalled in the middle and made the pacing feel off. I didn't care for the world-building which was just a renaissance painting world with superpowers. I just didn't care.

I would put this book down and forget to pick it back up. I wouldn't feel any desire to truly get back into it. I felt pretty meh about the whole reading experience.

I feel like I wanted more than I got. I wanted more because I expected more. That said, I really liked the end, and not because it was over! I liked it because it was everything I had expected the entire novel to be.

In the end, despite my disappointment, I am actually looking forward to the sequel.
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.6k followers
February 22, 2020
i love marie lu, so i had no idea i could love her more than i already did. but i honestly think this is my favourite book (and potentially series) she has written. its dark, twisted, powerful, and it surprised me in so many ways.

her other two series have either a sci-fi or dystopian feel to them, with both taking place in the future. so assumed this would be similar - imagine my intrigue when i realised the story takes place in renaissance italy?! i am totally on board with that. i just wish there was more world-building. its pretty basic, with only short references to the blood fever here and there. i really wanted more exploration within the setting because i find it so interesting.

but even though the world building is a little weak, the character development is amazing! everyone is just so complex - its refreshing to read about characters with so much depth to them. and gahhh. im so in love with enzo. <3 also, i will say that i dont quite like adelina. i just cant quite connect with her, but i think thats why im so excited to see how her character develops. my lack of attachment makes it easy for me to be okay with the direction her story arc is taking. its going to be so much fun to watch her take down everything and everyone in her way. i really hope the story gets much darker in the next books, because i am ready for a bloodbath of revenge. so bring it on!

4.5 stars
Profile Image for Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥.
547 reviews34.7k followers
March 18, 2018
”His words remind me of the strange whispers that have accompanied my illusions – something dark and vengeful, tempting and powerful. A weight presses on my chest. I am afraid. Intrigued.”

As it seems 2018 is not only the year in which I’ll finally finish a few series I’ve been reading for years, but also the year in which I hand out my v-card to new authors I’ve never read before. *lol*

Last week it was Holly Black’s “The Darkest Part of the Forest” this week its Marie Lu’s “The Young Elites” and after reading both books I can say that I regret nothing! XD
I really liked this book, yet to write a decent review somehow seems to be so very difficult. I don’t know why I feel this way but I think it might be the same problem I had with Maas’s “Throne of Glass”. You just feel that it’s a debut novel and there were some flaws that make it kind of hard to write an elaborate review. Does that even make sense? No? For me neither! *lol*

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I loved the characters! They were so grey and complex and I would have loved to dive a little deeper into their thoughts. But unfortunately Adelina’s POV was the only one that actually ran like a golden thread through the story. Sure, we got a little glimpse at Enzo’s, Teren’s and Raffaele’s POV as well, but overall I really would have enjoyed to read a little more of them. I think in some way those brief and few chapters only made me even more curious about them and left me kind of unsatisfied which is actually sad, because there was so much potential in those characters!!! XD I really hope Marie Lu tackles that in the second book and gives us more insight into their lives and backstories!

”Something blackens your heart, something deep and bitter. It has festered inside you for years, nurtured and encouraged. I’ve never felt anything like it.”

I think another thing I missed and which wasn’t all too clearly portrayed was the world in which they live. I mean yes, we are informed that there are Malfettos and Elites and at the beginning of the book we even have a map, when it came down to describing their environment I could never really grasp the idea though. The picture of the Fortunata Court is still vague in my head and I’m afraid it will only get even vaguer the more time passes after finishing the book. *lol* That’s just my subtle opinion though so don’t let that keep you from reading “The Young Elites” because I’m sure it will get better with every book that’s following! ;-)

”I will be whispered about. I will have enemies lurking in every shadow.
Let them talk. Let their fear of me grow. I welcome it.”

Well, and last but not least I have to point out the romance and diversity! *LOL* We don’t only have people of every skin colour and with obvious flaws or different appearances but we also seem to have a nice LGBTQ representation!!! Which of course, was enough to make yours truly a more than just happy woman! <333 Haha!

And speaking of which: Is it just me or does anyone else ship Enzo and Raffaele?! I mean I know we’re obviously supposed to ship Adelina and Enzo but I really didn’t feel anything between them… Not at all! Their scenes seemed to be so forced and if anything their ambitions seemed to be the main reason they were so drawn to each other. Enzo and Raffaele on the other hand?! Gosh you could feel their chemistry in every single line. They had about two moments but boy were they more intense than the ones with Adelina. *LOL* There was not even the slightest hint at a romance between those two boys but for me they somehow worked better than the official love interest?! I guess that’s again something that doesn’t make sense, but it is the way it is. XD

Also I think this is the right moment to mention that I absolutely love and adore Raffaele! <333 He’s the secret star of the show and I loved the dynamics between him and the other characters. Especially Adelina and Enzo of course! ;-P I really hope to see even more of him in the next book and hopefully his POV will be represented again as well. =)

Did I miss anything? Yes, Teren!!! I hate him… strongly, deeply, intensely!*lol* But he’s an awesome villain and I can’t wait to see what happened to him that changed him so profoundly! I’m sure there’s so much more than initially meets the eye and I can’t wait to read about his past! I already know this is going to be more than just interesting. =)))

”The rush of darkness through me is intoxicating and irresistible, and I find myself embracing it, letting it cover my insides like ink. Such power over these little masses. I love it.”

The bottom line:

I loved to read “The Young Elites” and I can’t wait to read “The Rose Society”! Especially because the prologue was so freaking intriguing!!! That was a nice move Marie Lu, to introduce new characters at the end of the book. ;-P AND I’m really curious about:

All things considered: Happy Reading! I’m sure you won’t regret it! XD
Profile Image for Kayla Dawn.
291 reviews903 followers
January 8, 2020
Still waiting for a hyped ya series that won't disappoint me..

I seriously don't get why people say the protagonist is an anti hero. She literally is a typical ya fantasy protagonist that tries too hard to be dark and twisted. It's hella annoying.
The other characters were pretty boring and I can't even remember their names lol.
There wasn't much backstory to any of them except for the main character. I hope there will be more in the second & third book.

The plot itself wasn't very original, there just wasn't anything new about it.
Additionally, I can't get into details because of spoilers, but there was a plot point which I generally dislike a lot. That's not necessarily a bad thing about the book, only a personal preference.

This still gets 2* because I really enjoyed the writing style. The descriptions of the town, the clothes, the illusions, etc. were very detailed without being boring. It was really easy to picture the scenes inside of my head. Probs to Marie Lu.
Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
851 reviews3,882 followers
February 15, 2021

Edit 03/23 : There's no denying that I was disappointed in The Young Elites, but I thought I'd point that I absolutely loved The Rose Society, its sequel. So, you know, fellow minority readers - I hope it will be the same for you^^

My review of book 2 : The Rose Society ★★★★★


Hey YOU! BOOK! You pretended to be right up my alley! You said I will love you! You said you were dark and captivating!

The truth is, after getting off to a flying start, the tension loosened more and more, making the next 300 pages a real core to read for me. When I first met Adelina, I was ecstatic : because of the darkness that seemed to lie in her heart, she appeared to be the kind of morally ambiguous character I could root for.

Too bad the whole book turned out to be completely anticlimactic : I. WAS. BORED.

I don't like Mari Lu's writing : I wouldn't be able to point what was wrong, exactly, but I kept feeling that something wasn't quite right with it. Frankly, I think that the present tense throws me off guard. And her sentences seemed... weird to me sometimes, bugging me so much that I had to reread them. It didn't flow smoothly. Not in my opinion anyway.

✘ Let's forget the fact that there's barely any world-building, except a re-creation of the Renaissance Italy with the black plague as an explication to the Young Elites new powers. Frankly, I'm okay with authors using real settings to create their fantasy world (take Mark Lawrence for example, whose Broken Empire is nothing more than Europe after an atomic war). However, if Mark Lawrence plays with this real background, letting the reader know where his inspiration lies, Mari Lu merely uses entire settings without never acknowledging what she borrowed. Changing names isn't enough. Is it high fantasy? No. It's alternate history with fantastic elements.

The pacing was uneven a big fail : after a strong beginning which put my feelings all over the place, nothing really happens during several chapters.... until we start a new cycle again : an amazing scene and then boring pages during which I don't really know what to think. Like, the consort pages. What's the point?

While I desperately wanted to feel something, to feel captivated, I was drowned in descriptions of clothes and other useless details. For real, how many times do I have to read the word velvet? Huh? Take Gabriele I meant Raphaele, and yes, I can confuse a character's name AND having read the book. Please. Don't be ridiculous. for example. I don't need to know everything he's wearing every day. Call me shallow, but I don't care.

This book is... putdownable. Is that a thing? (apparently, no, but I'll make it a thing, because I can) Indeed I kept feeling distracted during my read and before I could think more about it I was doing something else entirely (laundry, watching TV, just name it). As far as my investment in the story is concerned, it's a big huge fail for me.

✘ But my biggest disappointment is Adelina. I expected dark. I expected complex. That's absolutely not what I got. Let's get this straight : I love antiheroes. I have no problem to adore characters who are complete little shit and who embrace evil as a living. I crave them, for crying out loud, because good (haha) antiheroes are rare and complicated to create : how to make the readers root for a character whose actions disgust and disturb them? I have no clue, but when it's well-done, it's amazing. Adelina... wasn't quite like that. She is NOT an antihero but spends her time whining about events that aren't even her fault. Okay, okaaaay, she thinks about killing people and keeps telling us that there's a darkness inside her but frankly? BRING IT, GIRL. Stop whining and show me that there's more to you than your internal confusion. I was ready to accept EVERYTHING from her : jealousy, selfishness, murder instincts, betrayal, everything. What I got is a lot of TELLING but not near enough SHOWING to make me care about her. I didn't.

And you know what happens when I don't care about the characters?

It becomes a core to finish.

I didn't feel anything towards Enzo as well except during his first apparition (what? I'm an Assassin's Creed whore and my eyes sparkle at the mention of daggers, don't mind me).

✘ To be frank, during most of the book I got the impression that the characters were... wandering... to go.... somewhere... I think... It lacked directions and the plot was almost non-existent, except for the betrayal trope I see in every Fantasy YA book I read these days. Look, it was a trope I used to love, and I still do, when it's executed properly, when it's more than an easy way to bring angst in a story. Sadly, in my opinion it belonged to the second category : I simply COULDN'T FEEL Adelina's struggles. Oh, she tells us. Well, she tells us a lot of things. But to me neither Teren nor Violetta felt like real characters, therefore I was never moved by this situation. Heavy sigh.

The ending, though? It was good. It was everything I wanted from the book. It came... too late. How am I supposed to savor epic scenes if I haven't given a fuck about the characters for pages and pages? Why using most of the book as a set-up for a shocking ending? It feels just... cheap to me. A genuinely great ending won't make me forget that I was bored to death during 300 pages. Nope. Sorry.

This book didn't quite give me what it was telling me.

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Profile Image for Mizuki.
3,000 reviews1,208 followers
July 26, 2016
What you need to know about The Young Elites, by Maire Lu:

(1) This is not a story about a grey character, nor a dark character, nor an anti hero, it's a story about a needy, confused, selfish and scared little girl screwing up, using her superhuman power in all the wrong ways, making bad decisions and letting her fear get the better of her.

Well... Raffaele or maybe Teren come close to being grey characters, but Adelina, a grey character she is not.

(2) Our main characters: The Young Elites (TYE for short) are rather goofy as a group of rebels.

They don't seem to know much about planning, running a tight operation and public relations when overthrowing the king and seizing the throne are concerned.

I mean, it isn't a game, it's a dangerous power struggle and lives would be at stake, but most of those Young Elites have been so careless and they suck so much at running their operations.

I mean, throughout a whole book I didn't see those Young Elites bothering themselves to do anything for PR, they don't do a thing to save the discriminated melfettos, they don't send any message or propaganda to neither the general public nor their foes, they don't address and engage with their followers and supporters in secret meetings(there's one single meeting in the book, but still) ...in fact those Young Elites are simply there and carrying out some mission/stunts (e.g. breaking a prisoner out from the burning stake, killing some Inquisitors and blowing up ships on a festival), and supposedly these are enough for them to gain support from citizens and nobles alike.

I don't know...the citizens are just expected to cheer for TYE when they assassinate the king and seize power? Can thing really be that simple? I mean, even Al Qaeda and ISIS need to send out messages to their supporters and the general public in some way in order to solidify their support and threaten their foes!

Not to mention, those Elites also allow a newcomer whom they haven't yet known for sure they can trust to see all six of them in person, they also allow said newcomer to spend time in their major hideout without much checking, also no one is there to keep an eye on said newcomer. *sighs*

To be fair, there're a few characters who seem to be using their brains: Raffaele, Teren or maybe the queen, but surely not Adelina and Enzo, our MCs.

However, even Teren doesn't seem to be all that smart when he requests his spy to meet him right at the Inquisition Tower, and said spy also walks right to the front door of the Tower for this 'secret meeting'. LOL

(3) This book reads like a badly written Japanese action and adventure manga--with no depth.

No one is allowed to be bad looking or ordinary looking, all of the Elites are handsome/beautiful or at least attractive looking (there even are Marie Lu's hand drawn artworks to show for those characters' beauty), despite the scars and marking they are supposed to carry. *rolls eyes*

There're a few action scenes which are supposed to look cool and exciting, but there is still no depth in TYE's missions and the story shows no in depth political or social textures of this fictional society.

(4) The heroine is an Angsty Sue.

Definition here: http://www.springhole.net/writing/mar...

I mean, Adelina really has all the reasons in the world to be bitter and selfish and uncaring! Her suffering is so great so there is a great big dangerous darkness in her! Because her father abused her as a child and said father only loved her younger sister but not her! Poor thing!

Okay, she makes it sound like everyone else is having everything handed to them on a sliver plate.

I mean, it must be a cake walk for Raffaele to be raised as a consort and started serving clients sexually since the tender age of 17.

I mean, it must be an easy breeze for the Spider to nearly die on the battlefield.

I mean, Adelina's younger sister Violetta is so lucky to be raised by an abusive father who supposed to 'adore' her and she also had to watch Adelina suffered through the years and nearly burnt at the stake.

I mean, life must be so sweet for the Star Thief to be hated and yelled at for her marking, despite being a noble.

I mean, it must be no big deal when Enzo for being a melfetto.

I mean, life must be easy for those other melfetto (who are without superhuman power) when they get dragged from their homes, driven out of towns and burnt at the stakes.

(5) The story is filled with justifications that don't work.

In short, being mistreated by a father during childhood cannot cover up all Adelina's bad decisions and terrible actions.

(6) YA romance happens when everyone is on a dangerous mission

To me, the romantic storyline between Adelina and Enzo is annoying and forced, it might be the matter of personal taste, but still.

I mean, Enzo is no fitting rebel leader when he ignores his trusted advisers' warning and keeps excusing Adelina's behaviors because Judging from what I can see, I'm damn sure a guy like Enzo wouldn't survive a week in the world of, for example, A Game of Thrones.

(7) The writing is as emotional as a piece of rock

It's nothing new, the Legend trilogy by the same author was written in the exact same bland, emotionless way. However, this problem is doubly annoying in TYE with Maire Lu keeps bothering me, in every single chapter, with all the big talks about the 'lurking horrible darkness' inside Adelina and 'the terrible fear and fury' she is supposedly experiencing.

To be frank, I can't feel a damn thing.

(8)The only good things I can say about this book are...

(i) Unlike many pointless YA novels, the story of TYE at least is set to go to a certain direction...with the speed of a snail, and how the story is excised is very damn frustrating.

(ii) The final showdown scene is decently written.

(9) The ending sucks

In the end, after

Therefore, I'm very shocked to see a highly popular GR reviewer referred this book as William Shakespeare's Mistborn, this book is neither. The plots and the character setting of TYE do look like Mistborn, but Mistborn is a superior book on so many levels.*facepalms*

(Link: http://vampirekiki.deviantart.com/art...)

Extra: Updated Reading progress@26/12/2015

Today, 18 pages into the story, I found something in this book which looks REALLY STUPID to me :

The book's title.

According to Marie Lu, the most feared and hated plague survivors with fearsome supernatural power are called The Young Elites, the 'elites' as in 'the best of the youths', you know?

Oh bitch please. Who would call the most feared and hated and supposedly DANGEROUS outcasts in their society The Young Elites? Miss Marie Lu, who are you trying to kid here?

another reviewer, Paige, pointed out the problem in her review:

English major problems: you get hung up on stuff like this because Words Mean Things. The villains calling them Young Elites is like everyone in the US government suddenly deciding Al Qaeda and ISIS will now be referred to as Servants of Allah. They sound like far less violent groups, right? EXACTLY.

Now I remember, judging from Lu's previous Legend trilogy and now THIS, I have a feeling that Lu is never an author who has the guts to let her beloved characters suffer and be humiliated for real. So even the 'outcasts' in her stories have to enjoy a glorified title or be viewed as a hero (e.g. Day from Legend).

I am not amused.

Like I'd already mentioned before, Marie Lu is one of those authors whose name is on my blacklist.


(Link: http://j-rockbrazildownloads.blogspot...)

And judging from the premise, The Young Elites seems like it's Legend all over again. For example:

(1) Deadly virus/disease plaguing the country? Check.

(2) A heroine who's supposed to be smart and badass, but this time instead of an American name now she goes by with an Italian-sounding name? Check.

(3) A bunch of Super Special Teenagers with Super Special Power trying to take down the evil government because they're just oh-so special? Check.

(4) Of course the heroine, at one point of the story, will join those Super Special Teenagers because she's just that special. I'll bet my good money on that.

I'm going to keep my distance with this book and its sequels.
Profile Image for the burning dreamer..
266 reviews556 followers
November 15, 2016
I've never had such mixed feelings about a book before.

Bloody hell.

Pros: it's in the POV of an innocent victim-turned-antihero-turned-villian, which is something you just don't get enough of in the young adult realm (or at least that I've come across). And Marie Lu isn't afraid to take bold decisions here, oh yes.

Cons: the writing. It feels lifeless, like a fellow classmate reading out a scene from your school literature book; you're hearing it, you're understanding it, but you're not really feeling it. And if a story's missing that vital component, then you might as well just be scanning ink printed over pages.

NONETHELESS, I'm eager to see what becomes of Adelina and her gradual road to evil...or will she?

Book Song: Exhile by Eastghost.
Profile Image for Shelby *trains flying monkeys*.
1,606 reviews5,989 followers
November 26, 2014

*Gets into left lane*

I think someone switched my copy of this book with someone else's. I just can't read this mess. I'm about halfway through it and nothing has happened, well except me sleeping. No awesome world building, MC who got on my nerves..the list goes on.

I will give Marie Lu another chance though, cuz I do like her.
Profile Image for ✨    jami   ✨.
681 reviews3,951 followers
July 4, 2017
“Some hate us, think us outlaws to hang at the gallows.
Some fear us, think us demons to burn at the stake.
Some worship us, think us children of the gods.
But all know us.

HOLY SHIT this book was that fucking good y'all

im so damn SHOOK

This is the first book I've read in AGES where I've been genuinely thrilled about the plot ? where I've been so excited to know what happens next. I couldn't put this down ?? I'm so happy ??

everything about it is just .... amazing. the story, the complex characters, the world, the plot, the action, THE FACT IT'S A VILLAINS JOURNEY !!! the anti-hero's and general greyness of the characters, PLOT TWISTS, oh and it's super diverse and aaaaaaaaaaahhh


~ ~ ~ ~ ~~ ~ ~ ~

DAYS have passed since I wrote this mess of a post-reading review on this book and my thoughts have not changed !!. I'm still so shook

Since 2017 began I haven't loved anything I read. I mean it was okay, but there were no books which made my heart rush, which had me DYING to know the end. This book did. I was doing that thing where you peek at the end of the chapter because you must know (anD THEN SPOIL YOURSELF), and I stayed up sooo late to finish it. It was so damn exciting, I was completely hooked on this book, seriously, un-put-down-able.

I mean ? How could it not be.

Kids with superpowers ? Check.
Unstable government that must be overthrown by the rebellion ? Check.
A squad of friends ? Check.
A cast of anti-hero's who do bad things for the ''greater good'' ? Check.


“I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside. It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.”

NOTE ABOUT THIS BOOK: absolutely none of these characters are good people. Even the ones I thought were decent turned out to be shit. there some serious villainous mfs over here.

The characters were the absolute highlight !! Each was incredible complex and nuanced, each was built up on those murky grey lines, every single character had aspects of their personality that made them the anti-hero, but every single one thought themselves the hero. I adored this characterisation, on a character level but also as a depiction of humanity. We aren't all good or all bad, we're all somewhere in the middle.

The beautiful thing about this villainy though is that it isn't in your face - it's perfectly, gorgeously subtle. It's just a lie here and there, it's people pretending and hiding their true thoughts, it's gently befriending someone just to use them. The thing that had me so SHOOK was even I was convinced, even me, who got to see from multiple points of view thought some things that turned out to be fake were real. I was also caught up in the lies and the manipulation.

I LOVED that the main character is a girl who just got pushed a little too far. A girl who's been abused and manipulated and shunned and who is now getting back, who's rising above it, who's been turned hard and cruel by the world. Adelina is an incredible interesting character with many nuances and complexities AND I CAN'T WAIT FOR HER TO RISE IN THE ROSE SOCIETY.

“I hereby pledge to serve the Dagger Society, to strike fear into the hearts of those who rule Kenettra, to take by death what belong to us, and to make the power of our Elites known to every man, woman, and child. Should I break my vow, let the dagger take from me what I took from the dagger.”

Other good points


Many, many people of colour !!!!! lgbt rep !!!!! characters with physical flaws which they use to their advantage !!!!!

Soo twisty turny, !! never guessed where it was going next and reveals and plot points which genuinely shocked me.

good romance !! not too much of it but an interesting romance and one which, like the characters, is complex, built upon ambition and lust for power (perhaps) more then love.

AWESOME super powers !! I'm always like, super powers are boring sometimes because there's no diversity in the powers but nooo I really liked these ones !

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Honestly, this book was just super intense and fun !! Gave me lots of six of crows vibes and overrall was just really good. I was so, so engaged and immersed with this world and these characters I've literally been dreaming about how good it's gonna be when I can start Rose Society I LOVE THIS
September 5, 2019

„Some hate us, think us outlaws to hang at the gallows.
Some fear us, think demons to burn at the stake,
Some worship us, think us children of the gods.
But all know us.”

Story ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Did you ever wished that there was a story about a character so filled with darkness, that she easily could be the villain?
Always mistreated, mistrusted and hated Adelina lives a horrible life with her father and sister.
He hates her because she is a malfetto, a survivor of the blood fever left with a marking on her face - the loss of an eye - and silver hair. And malfettos bring bad luck.
Day per day she is treated badly and her thoughts are unkind to herself until darkness fills her up. Until one night her father does something horrible and Adelina runs away.
Adelina thinks she is alone, but that’s not true. There are others like her, other Malfettos left with markings and powers.
They’re called the Young Elite and they’re here to bring chaos and justice.
I loved loved loved this story.
There was so much action, darkness and affection.
There was betrayal and love and fear.
I was immediately sucked into the story.
It was so interesting and addictive.

Characters ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I’m always very much in love with the „bad“ characters in nearly every story. They always turn out to be the most interesting ones.
In this story that even applied to our main character Adelina. She was really insecure in the beginning, filled with fear and the feeling of helplessness.
But when her powers start to appear and she learns to control them a bit she becomes more confident, strong and badass.
The more her character grew, the more I fell in love with her. She was such an interesting and entertaining character.
And her look - it was so awesome! Silver hair and just one eyes plus marking?
That’s such a really special look.
Definitely a nice change to the always perfect main characters in other stories.
Next to Adelina there’s Teren who’s probably a crazy masochist with crazy fanatic thoughts. He is so so violent and really really weird.
I didn’t like him (even though he’s kind of the villain in the story?), but I felt like he was still created perfectly fitting for the role in this series.
Enzo is another main character I liked, but not like I loved Adelina. He was a really silent and serious character, only a few words and conversations escaped him, but he had something appealing about him.
He seemed like a lost man trying to fight his way back. I really liked that about him.

World ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
This book is filled with perfect world building in my opinion. It was filled with a problematic reign and hungry citizens in the streets.
It was filled with young people called malfettos being mistreated and killed.
And a group of them who wants to fight back, to regain control.
The country seemed inspired by Italy a bit, but had also own additions.
The thing I love the most about the story was the powers the malfettos gained after their fell ill with the blood fever.
There was fire, wind, control over fire, over things and sounds. And there were also illusions, that mixed with the reality so well.
There was the darkness in Adelina that fed her powers and made her stronger and more dangerous.
All in all I loved the world building in this one and the Epilogue made me want to read the rest of the series immediately.

Relationships ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
There was a tension between two characters in this story and I felt it from the beginning.
In some way it was really predictable, but it was still sweet and lit up the darkness of the whole story a bit.
Reading about them made me smile, because finally, finally Adelina got some love, something that wasn’t filled with darkness, fear or hate. Something nice.
But there were always Adelina’s insecure thoughts, the whispers of her father in her ear that made her be suspicious and so so sad.

Writing style ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I really fell in love with Marie Lus writing with this book. I probably should’ve read the Legend series first, but I kind of wanted to start this one, because I heard the characters are really dark. And I was not disappointed.
Profile Image for Natalie Monroe.
595 reviews3,587 followers
March 24, 2017
Recipe for a awesome YA Fantasy (Young Elites style)

You will require:

-3/4 of a cup of cultured flour

-1/2 cup watery religion

-a dash of magic

-500 grams of Anti-heroine, dark and bitter

-2 teaspoons of Estranged Prince (fiery brand)

-1 package of Interesting Side Characters mix

-3 diverse eggs, separated amongst LGBT free-range, POC jumbo, and disabled cage-free.

-a pinch of death


In a bowl, mix cultured flour and watery religion together to create a rich dough of world-building. After the mixture thickens, add in the dash of magic.

Leave dough to congeal overnight, then add in Anti-heroine, Estranged Prince, and Interesting Side Characters. Mix the above with diverse eggs and set automatic egg-beater to its highest setting.

Oil a pan and pour Young Elites mixture in. Add a pinch of death and bake in the oven at 350°.

Serve hot with a side of Reader's tears.

My review of The Rose Society
My review of The Midnight Star
Profile Image for Lauren.
Author 45 books119k followers
November 4, 2014
THE YOUNG ELITES by Marie Lu does something remarkable: take old tropes and archetypes but put fresh, unique spins on them. Reading this made me feel like I was in a world that was already familiar, but then she'd sweep the rug out from underneath me and change things completely!

Adelina Amouterou is a malfetto; meaning, she is marked and ostracized by her community for surviving a virus that made so many others perish before her. She is marked in more ways than one– she lost her eye to the virus, and her hair turned shock white. I love that Adelina is a flawed protagonist, not just because she lacks stereotypical beauty, but because she has a darkness inside of her that almost makes her an anti-hero. We want her to succeed even when her motives are questionable, because know society's flagrant disrespect and her father's abuse are what makes her vengeful– and when she learns that she has powers inside of her that can wreak havoc on the world that has spurned her, we find ourselves afraid for her and for the world itself if she succeeds.

THE YOUNG ELITES felt both epic in scope (a grand conspiracy, a secret society of warriors, a leader with a hidden secret) but full of specific, almost poetic detail. Marie's background as a designer definitely comes through in her prose. A beautiful book with a totally unexpected ending (that crushed me, thanks Marie!) I know this will be one we'll all be talking about for years to come.
Profile Image for Zainab.
384 reviews530 followers
August 9, 2022
In the good years, they wine and dine, laugh and love.
In the bad years, they draw their swords and
slit each other’s throat.

My first Marie Lu book and it did not disappoint. This book was straight up badass. From the plot to the characters, everything was perfect. It really does not deserve anything less than five stars.
It also reminded me of Six Of Crows but if you're planning on reading it don't think it'd be exactly like SOC just that it also has super cool immoralistic group of kids doing.... stuff.
Profile Image for Wendy Darling.
1,636 reviews34k followers
September 4, 2014
3.5 stars Surprisingly dark, with a sister dynamic similar to Cruel Beauty's and a feel similar to that of Masque of the Red Death's. I admit that the middle lagged a bit for me, I didn't love the multiple POV structure, and there is a LOT of activity going on in Adelina's heart (many references to energy spiking in it, her feelings, etc), but I quite like this world the author has created, and am intrigued to see where the story goes next.

One thing the blurbs don't tell you that you find out in the first chapter: she only has one eye! Which is kind of cool.

Fantastic beginning and ending, btw. That ending tips the star rating up.

Review to come.
757 reviews2,349 followers
July 15, 2017
*Minor spoilers ahead*

Okay, this book is literally nothing like the Legend series. This is so much more brutal, intriguing, heartbreaking and crazy.

(i've been dying to do this)
Prince Enzo Prince Zuko who is a malfetto a bender with the power of fire with the ability to control fire and is exiled from the palace and throne and is banished from the Fire Nation. He was obviously my favorite.


Adelina is such a badass character, but sadly I couldn't really care for her. She had a rough childhood where her mother died and she was abused and treated worse than an animal for being a malfetto, people with the power of gods and bodies marked with scars. Her father wanted to use and loved her sister more than her. However, she was sort of Mary Sue. She has uncontrollable, dangerous power. She's so beautiful and the men always want her. She's sooooo fricin powerful and blah, bye.

However, her character development is A+. Since I've already read the next book,

The romance between Adelina and Enzo felt so forced. It was insta love and there was literally no chemistry between them. This book could seriously have done without the gross romance or at least let it be developed??

Overall, this was such an action packed and intriguing read!

Buddy read with the awesome Emma (who i'll tag soon). I've heard sooo many amazing things about this trilogy and I hope it's as awesome as Legend!
Profile Image for Mikee (ReadWithMikee).
203 reviews1,312 followers
April 14, 2017
❝The darkness bows to me, eager for my embrace. I close my eye, open my heart to the feeling, and soak in the delight of vengeance.❞

When I first joined Goodreads, The Young Elites was one of the first books I tried to read. But after reading the first 50 pages or so, I DNFed it because I was completely creeped out by Adelina's one eye malfetto flaw. XD Plus, I honestly couldn't get into the story. As The Young Elites became more popular, everyone praised this book and series to no end. Everyone was excited over The Rose Society and I was indifferent because I never really liked the first book.

But after seeing the cover for The Midnight Star, I just knew that I had give this series another try. Now here I am jumping onto The Young Elites bandwagon and praising this book like there's no tomorrow. :P

I absolutely loved the concept of The Young Elites and the different powers and abilities that each Elite has. I am so intrigued by Adelina and her thirst for power. I really enjoy peeking into the mind of a much darker character that comes off as a villain. I understand Adelina's anger and her reasons for doing what she has to do. I'm curious as to how this character turns out in the end and whether or not her thirst for vengeance will make her rise to the top or bring about her downfall.

Violetta turned out to be my favorite character in this book along with Raffaele! Violetta came off as helpless and cowardly to me in the beginning but after finding out about the truth, my whole opinion of her changed. I really can't wait to see more of her hopefully in the next book. And as for Raffaele, I love everything about him and I'm honestly glad that he's the new leader of the Daggers members.

Overall, I'm disappointed in myself for putting this book down too soon because I missed out on such a great storyline of intriguing characters! Now I can't wait to start The Rose Society and see where our characters go. :)
Profile Image for Kainat 《HUFFLEPUFF & PROUD》.
293 reviews724 followers
August 7, 2016

"Some hate us,

think us outlaws to hang at the gallows.

Some fear us,

think us demons to burn at the stake.

Some worship us,

think us children of the gods.

But all know us.

They call us the Young Elites."

Teren, man, you got issues.. man,... you need to get your shit together!
Adelina, my sweet, sweet Adelina! Only god knows what's gonna happen to you now.
Raffaele, dude, how dare you! I expected more from you.
Enzo, my baby, Enzo! I guess, i knew it was gonna happen, it's just the way it went down left me hollow.
Violetta; yeah, she's got to go!
And who is this Maeve? I already like her and her brother! YEAH, LET'S WAKE UP ALL MONSTERS!

"His chest presses against my shoulder and side; his gloved hand covers mine. A surge of passion cuts through my darkness, and the color of the smoke around us changes from black to red."

^^Shipping them so hard right now! No, no, don't get me wrong, Teren is still my favorite character, that does not mean i ship him with the MC. People often just assume that both are the same, it might be for some readers but not for me. I almost never ship my favorite character with the "the girl".

Adrian in VA is my favorite character, but my ship has always been Rose and Dimitri.
Dorian; FC. Ship; Calaena/Chaol. (ToG)
Warner; FC. Ship; Adam/Juliette. (Shatter Me)
Ronan; FC. Ship; Ronan/Adam! (TRC) <-These two are exceptional. SHH.

Profile Image for P .
691 reviews327 followers
February 7, 2017
“Everyone has darkness inside them, however hidden.”

When a story isn't told by a hero who goes save the world at all costs and goodness can't conquer darkness, so the hero falls to his knees and his story doesn't end well. This is what I want to say about my expereince with this shocking Young Elites series. I am being in awe right now for Lu. I can't believe that she wrote such an amazing story like this among many typical YA books out there. She didn't even try to make her story feel good for everyone. The book itself is unique, dark and wicked. Lu kept pushing me further with her characters and broke my heart beyond repair with the ending. I'm emotinally struck I can't even sit still.

“I am tired of losing. I am tired of being used, hurt and tossed aside. It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt. My turn.”

The Young Elites was hard to get into at first; the protagonist, Adelina Amouteru, is not a villain by nature, she's turned into one after her father pushes her too far, it might be hard for many readers to get attached to her character. To be honest, I didn't enjoy some parts of this book because it was cliché and it would have been better if it had been cut out. I went too far in Adelina's mind that I knew her secrets, pain and things she kept inside, yet I felt like everything the author showed us was repeated and sometimes I got bored.

“No one wants you to be yourself. They want you to be the version of yourself that they like.”

Anyway, I think it's fair to give this book 4 stars, even though it deserves 3.5 stars in my opinion. The ending saves it all, I like the way Lu introduced me to a new character and made me look forward to the next installment. The world I've seen in this book is just the tip of the iceberg, the path Adelina chooses at the end will lead her to somewhere I can't predict, and I'm so lucky that I bought the whole series, otherwise I'll be suffering now.

Oh I almost forgot to say this, I have one little problem with Adelina, her voice when she narrates the story is flat, I felt no emotions in it at all. I hope it gets better in The Rose Society, right ?

Profile Image for l..
491 reviews2,137 followers
January 6, 2022
one of those rare novels that you want to re-read even before you’ve finished them …

“Dark thoughts swim in the far corners of my mind. Something is alive in those whispers, clawing for my attention, beckoning me deeper into the shadows.”
Profile Image for Ryan.
51 reviews375 followers
September 15, 2016
"But that's something everyone says and no one means. No one wants you to be yourself. They want you to be the version of yourself that they like."

If you go into this book expecting a hero with nothing but good in her heart, put this book down right now, and go read Harry Potter, or something. This is a book about an anti-hero, a villain, a girl who has been stepped on, used, and manipulated. This is a book about people with an un-tamable hunger for power. This is a book about revenge.


"Such power over these little masses. I love it."

I love anti-heroes. I love villains. Villains sometimes end up being my favourite characters because of how complex and interesting they are. So what did I do when I heard our MC was an anti-hero, written by Marie Lu?


"Sorry, always sorry. What in the world can you buy with an apology?"

If you're sick of "the chosen one" trope, or the main character who's flawless in every way, *cough*you know who I'm talking about*cough*, then give this book a shot. I wasn't disappointed.

I mean, honestly. If I had to sum The Young Elites up in one gif, it would probably be:


Yes, this book did take me ages to finish, I will admit that. It was slow at times, and I was preparing to give this 3 stars until I got to the ending, and completely lost my shit.


"To love is to be afraid. You are frightened, deathly terrified, that something will happen to the ones you love. Think of the possibilities. Does your heart clench with each thought? That, my friend, is love. And love enslaves us all, for you cannot have love without fear."

I am convinced that Marie Lu's writing might actually be witchcraft. How can she create such despicable characters who have done such terrible things, and still manage to make me love them?


"...I will do everything in my power to destroy all who stand in my way."


Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to buy a copy of The Rose Society ASAP.

"My sorrow turns into anger, then to ice-cold fury. My soul curls in on itself in defense. I am gone. I am truly gone.

I am not sorry."
Profile Image for Andreea Pop.
321 reviews2,235 followers
March 31, 2015
This book wrecked me.

The Young Elites is nothing like I expected. Familiar with Marie Lu's style and a die-hard fan of the Legend series, I thought this new story will be along the same lines as Lu's prior works: action-packed, romantic, funny -- you know the drill. Only set in a fantasy world, of course, but nonetheless still cute on a basic level.

That... Was a mistake, because The Young Elites is so far from cute you cannot imagine. Eons away from cute. Zero cuteness.

“A newborn babe takes its first breath / and creates a storm that rains down death.”

You wanna know how TYE truly is? It's edgy. It's dark. Thrilling. Awfully intense. Depression-inducing. Dare I say it, even sexy -- in no way romantic. But, most important of all, it's different and realistic in terms of characters.

For once in my lifetime as a book addict, the book I read follows a heroine that has such great potential, but one that will inevitably step into the darkness. Meet Adelina Amouteru, a 16 year old girl that survived the fever which decimated the population. There were no adult survivors and the children that were affected ended up gaining unusual marks -- and some even dangerous powers. They were called malfettos and hated by most people, being treated as the gods' abominations and associated with bad fortune. That's another aspect I loved: the fact that the "special" ones aren't treated as kings and queens like in most books. They're cursed and killed without a second thought and it all makes for a fresh change in the sea of ever-glorifying the gifted characters (see Victoria Aveyard's Red Queen, Leigh Bardugo's The Grisha Trilogy and Josephine Angelini’s Trial by Fire).

“The gods gave us powers, Adelina, because we are born to rule.”

Back to our main character. Adelina has no apparent powers until she triggers them on a fateful night, trying to escape her father and accidently killing him. She discovers she has the power of illusion and that she could very well be considered a young elite – a malfetto with abilities. In spite of fleeing her father’s estate, she is captured by the Inquisition Axis, the “police force” of this world, and is awaiting to be executed, only to be saved at the last moment (I know, I know) by a group of elites lead by an infamous malfetto – The Reaper. Adelina is taken under their wing and she finally finds out more about her inheritance, her limits and her saviors.

It might seem strange for you, especially if you read this book, but I completely loved Adelina and I sort of… clicked with her. She’s so ambitious and stubborn and I admired her desire for revenge, even if her decisions weren’t always the best. Forced to betray a lot of those close to her heart and abandoned in the end as well, she delves in a world of darkness and self-destruction that could’ve been avoyded if only someone had paid more attention to her insecurities. I actually cried a couple of times for the things she had to go through, because the heartbreak she must’ve constantly felt was saddening to no end.

“Be true to yourself, Violetta once told me when I was trying in vain to win Father over. But that’s something everyone says and no one means. No one wants you to be yourself. They want you to be the version of yourself that they like.”

She truly cared about The Dagger Society – the bunch of young elites that saved her – and she was able to create wonderful altough fragile friendships with some of them. Unfortunately, the losses, the unimaginable power awaiting at the top of her fingers, the self-loathing and the deep fear of never belonging will take their toll on her. Add those to the overwhelming pull to hate and fear and her dark past when she met no acceptance and you’ll create a lonely, broken, desperate monster. She’s the Darkling’s female version and she’ll become a true and great villain -- her transformation will be amazing to watch (damn, I sound evil).

“It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.
My turn.
“You’re making a mistake,” I say. My voice emerges flat and cold. The voice of someone new. “By not killing me now.”

Moving on from our anti-heroine, the rest of this literary cast is as mesmerizing as Adelina. No one is innocent, no one is honest and everyone has their own dark secrets. Firstly, The Reaper, aka Enzo. I adored him. It might have been for his emo personality and his overall badassery or for the fact that he’s pretty bruised up on the inside, but Enzo’s strong and intense existence won me over. Also, he might as well be the only one that put his faith in Adelina. Plus, he’s quite smoking hot – literally and not literally.

“Don’t cry,” he says, his voice firm. “You are stronger than that.”

Then there’s Rafaelle, a courtesan who became Adelina’s best friend, but who didn’t return the feeling as honestly. I wasn’t exactly his fan, contrary to the fact that his character combined seduction, loyalty (for Enzo) and a cunning mind. He would’ve been perfect if not for his double-faced behaviour that helped Adelina’s downfall from humanity.

Teren Santoro, the most intriguing character of all. Hypocrite, manipulated and a naïve lovesick puppy, he’s the leader of the Inquisition Axis and the one in charge to capture her back. His hate for malfettos of any kind runs deep and he resembles a madman, ready to do whatever it is in his power to bring them all down, especially the young elites. But Teren’s not exactly a villain, nor is he an innocent puppet. He’s a combination of the two and when you find out his background and how he ended up being so hateful, you cannot help pity him. I seriously hope he’ll realise his worth in the next installments.

Adelina’s sister, Violetta, was a big surprise and I was glad she was on Adelina’s side, despite the few big secrets she kept hidden. The rest of The Dagger Society’s members – Gemma, Michel, Lucent, Spider – were interesting and I would’ve liked to know them better. Oh, and I hated the Queen.

One of my friends, upon reading the synopsis, decided TYE is sort of like Shatter Me with a fantasy twist. I guess you could say that. I guess you could also say that it's a bit similar to Shadow & Bone. Or, as I did, you could get The Winner's Curse vibes for no reason at all -- I still don't know what triggered them. What I'm trying to say is that Marie Lu created a story that, if dissected, would probably ring a bell with tons of other famous fantasy books, but if analyzed as a whole, then you cannot help calling it an original idea. It's bits and pieces that trigger a small deja-vu, but the fact that the author managed to put them head to head and develop them with her own brilliant ideas only increased my love for this women's talent.

“When the world was young, the gods and goddesses birthed the angels, Joy and Greed, Beauty and Empathy and Sorrow, Fear and Fury, sparks of humanity. To feel emotion, therefore, to be human, is to be a child of the gods.”

Marie Lu deserves a standing ovation for another gorgeously-written novel. While Legend will always have a special place in my heart, TYE brings a mean game as a last effort to change my 2014's best reads hierarchy -- and I think it succeeded in entering my top 5 from this year. Nothing is flawless, so I do have some minor complaints. Firstly, the world-building isn't exactly the main element of the story and I would've loved to see it a bit extended. On the other hand, I have a feeling my wish will come true in the next installments. Secondly, as much as I'd like to overlook its existence, some predictability was present in the plot. Still, it did not interfere with my overall enjoyment of the book.

Let's talk a bit about the last third of the book that was, hands-down, the best part of the entire novel. It was the climatic ending I was hoping for, full of sacrifice, loss, humanity and power. I honestly didn't think that the author would take such a risky path, but I guess it was a success considering Adelina's villainess only increased -- despite my very very broken heart.

Anyway, I want the sequel. Or maybe I want a re-written version of this one. No no no, I still have hope that Lu will sew my broken heart back. Somehow. If not, I'm gonna curse that freaking epilogue to the moon and back, because that last pages filled my heart with hope and excitement, but weariness as well. Also, I realized that Adelina's story is just a small part of the malfettos' universe and I can't wait to discover it all. *bring on the awesomeness*

This book completely and utterly wrecked me and I'm half excited to continue my journey with Adelina, and half scared to experience the same level of anguish and sadness all over again. All I know is there is still a lot -- like A LOT -- of time until I get my hands on the next volume.

“To love is to be afraid. You are frightened, deathly terrified, that something will happen to those you love. Think of the possibilities. Does your heart clench with each thought? That, my friend, is love. And love enslaves us all, for you cannot have love without fear.”

From the Italian spin on world-building, to the constant rush, overwhelming feelings and original characters, The Young Elites blew away my expectations and delivered a story I honestly fell in love with. Not exactly perfect, but amazing in its own way. It was badass, it was gruesome, it was violent and it was the foundation for a new hit trilogy. My dark self was joyous at such a compelling read. Verdict? I loved it and I recommend you grab it next time you're at a bookstore.

Profile Image for ☆☽Erica☾☆.
200 reviews675 followers
March 23, 2016
Meh. okay.
I'm not exactly in this book's fanclub. I'm not in its hateclub though either, so there's that.

The plot was interesting enough- a plague runs through the world and tons of people are affected, some survive and are graced with powers. All of the people with powers are around 17 years old- per usual. Because for some reason any adults that got it didn't survive.

Are you surprised?!?!

Yeah, me neither.

Our main character is one of the magical teenagers. Her name is Adelina and she has the power to create illusions. Basically the whole gist of her characterization is that she has inner darkness. I really did like that she was kind of an anti-hero instead of the usual pure, kindhearted female mcs and also that she was missing an eye. That was a cool physical quirk for her to have, but besides that we are constantly told how pretty she is soooooo the author clearly didn't totally commit to her not being a feminine ideal. Also she is supposedly super evil because she has negative thoughts about hurting people after she's been abused her whole life????? But honestly that seems like a pretty natural reaction to abuse... Anyways, I thought her powers were really cool, but that her personality was not really cool. Not feelin it. She was quite whiny and pathetic. I understand that she hates herself, but her whole personality was just that she has lots of hate inside her and hates herself for that. Sooooo idk... :/

There are no gray areas in this book. Everyone is just good or just bad. The nuance is lost here. I was not impressed by the characters at all. They all felt pretty bland and flat.

This whole thing was just was average for me. In addition to its averageness, I personally hate plot lines that revolve around misunderstandings. I don't mind when it's a lie that someone is not saying OTHER than the main mc, or if the reader doesn't know this misunderstanding at all. But when I actively have to listen to deceit and misleading while knowing the truth, it irritates me. Just a personal preference though.

Also, the romance felt very unreal and insta-loveish. Did these people actually have a full conversation at all? No, not really. Did their body heat create the "chemistry" between them because they were both hot and they trained together? Yes, most likely.

So if you're interested in a decent YA fantasy with a focus on evil-ish characters, this would be a good choice for you.

Profile Image for Anja H..
760 reviews459 followers
April 5, 2016

"Everyone has darkness inside them, however hidden."

This book was absolutely perfect and exactly what I needed right now. I've been in some kind of readers' slump these days, but then I discovered this book and BOOOM I'm back om track baby!

I've felt so many emotions while reading this. I really felt Adelina's pain and loneliness. I felt happy when she was happy and was scared when she was scared. And that ending... oh the tearssss! I never expected and ending like that to be honest, it left me heartbroken and I still haven't fully processed everything that happened, but I loved everything about this book anyway and I wouldn't change a thing! I'm sure everything will turn out okay for everyone in the end.
This was just such an emotional rollercoaster, involving just the right ratio of action and adventure.

I loved every single character. Adelina was a really refreshing heroine. She isn't your typical goody two-shoes at all. She could fend for herself and I loved that she had some darkness in her, it makes her different from every other female lead I've encountered. Everyone betrayed her but she's still going strong!
Enzo was absolutely lovely as well. He also had a dark side, which made him perfect for Adelina in my opinion, and he became yet another one of my book boyfriends in no time!
Violetta seemed like the perfect little sister at first, but she also became pretty badass in the end and I loved it.
The rest of the Dagger Society's members were all different and likable as well. I can't wait to know more about them and I hope they'll still play a huge role in the next book.
And Teren, oh Teren... I'm still conflicted about him. I do like him, but up till now he just seems to be the Queen's doormat. I hope he'll turn out to be something more in the end!

Marie Lu has quickly become one of my favorite authors ever. After reading the Legend series first, and now this one, she can really do no wrong in my opinion. Whatever book she'll release next, I'm gonna read it anyway!
I can't wait to start reading the next book because I can't wait to see how Adelina's adventure continues!
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