(NOTE: This review is based on the ARC of the novel)
I figured since I’ve read Marie Lu’s Legend series, I could handle what was in store for me with her newest series, The Young Elites.
It goes to show how much I know!
Marie introduces us to a fantasy world that is dealing with the aftermath of a mass plague, in which a portion of the young people develop unique powers, varying from person to person. Not everyone has them, though, and of course, this causes fear and conflict within the country.
It’s not a wholly unique premise, as that pretty much describes the turmoil the mutants have to go through in X-Men, but the characters that Marie has created draw you into this world.
We see things through the eye (singular) of Adelina Amouteru (don’t ask me to pronounce, I do not know), a 16-year-old self-conscious girl with major familial and trust issues, but not without valid reason.
She joins up with a group of infamous characters that have big plans for their country, and she feels she might be able to fit in, but her trust issues come with a bit of psychological issues as well, and as she’s trying to find reason to trust this group, the group is also trying to find reason to trust her.
Adelina could help them, but it might be a dangerous route to have her join them.
As you read through, you want to root for Adelina, but at the same time, you know that there’s something not all good about her. I, too, found myself unsure of whether I could trust her to do the right thing and hoping that she would find out before something bad really happens.
It’s not as if the Elites that she’s with are all that great, either. They do what they can, or what they feel they can handle, but you might find yourself wondering if what they’re doing is the right thing or the safest thing for them.
I could say Adelina is a flawed, yet relatable, character, but really, none of the characters are wholesome. The “bad” are cruel. The “good” are calculating. Relatable at times, yes, but I would hope not completely so for the average human being.
The story was engaging and there are beautiful, beautiful characters to dwell on, (most likely it will be at least 2 characters, boys or girls, whatever your fancy). However, I did find myself shocked and hurt by the emotional toll the story takes. It was brutal for me. It was like looking at a horrible car crash, wanting to turn away and forget it all but at the same time looking at it intensely, not being able to pull your eyes away from the terrible image. That’s what reading this book felt like at times.
Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing is purely up to your tolerance level on such situations that I cannot explain at this moment due to spoilers.
Now, the problem with the first book of any series is that you end up having more questions than answers. And this does that. This is a common element, as that encourages us readers to come back for more. To find out the answers to our questions, and you will have questions after reading this book. So, yes, I’m hooked and now much wait the average time of about a year to a year and a half for the next book to taunt me yet again with more questions, and torture me with more pain. I’ll need the time.
Marie Lu’s transition from dystopian to fantasy makes it look quite easy, and maybe it is, but dang if she didn’t do it excellently. Maybe a slight factor to be aware of is that it is told in both first person and third person point-of-views, which can be a little confusing at first. I didn’t find it too distracting, and maybe for some of you, it might be easier for you to distinguish from whose point-of-view you’re reading it from.