The Young Elites (The Young Elites #1) by Marie Lu

4.5/5 Stars
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books
Published October 7, 2014

Synopsis: 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 abominations, ruining their family 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.

Oh Marie Lu, how you kill me. After reading the Legend trilogy, which to this day remains one of my favorite trilogies, I was very keen on continuing to read Marie Lu's writing. She, of course, did not disappoint. The Young Elites follows the story of a girl who is pretty dark and twisted, which isn't common in YA fiction and is quite saddening, because I find those stories to always be the most interesting. In a world of darkness and devastation, Marie Lu brings us through a journey of self understanding, trust, and hate.

This story begins with the heartbreaking story of Adelina Amouteru. The blood fever that swept the nation left her marked and feared, for many suspected the survivors to have unnatural abilities. Her father is harsh and cruel, branding her the family outcast. This thus leads Adelina to have very dark opinions about the world and people around her. She is twisted, but she is not iniquitous; she still has a sense of what is morally just, she just has a hard time of seeking out ways to go about it. Sometimes the darkness in her soul is too overbearing and she will isolate herself from her past and the present, but at times you can almost sense a subtle strand of hope. Although she has a dark past and certainly struggles from it, she does care for a select few characters, which is quite surprising. She made me feel sympathy, anger, love, and fear all at once. Adelina is a very multi-layered character, and probably one of the most complex ones I've ever read about.

Structurally speaking, this book was outstanding. The character development and world building were through the roof. Every description Marie Lu wrote, I saw. Every ounce of self reflection Adelina felt, I felt. I really enjoyed the concept of powers (The Dagger Society) and controlling them, plus the eagerness to gain more power. The plot of this story really pulled you along for a wild ride. There were times where you could not begin to guess which moral was the best to support, and there were times where you were dropped on your head due to new perspectives. Marie Lu is a wonderful writer and The Young Elites deserves all the hype it gets. Her detailed plot, dialogue, characters, and world will leave you intoxicated.

There are a lot of small things that went into the creation of this story that really made it a worthwhile read. For one, I really enjoyed the multiple point of views. I've stated in multiple reviews thus far that I am a sucker for multiple POVs, because we get the chance to see what each character is thinking and feeling. There is a large amount of raw emotion that comes from Adelina as she struggles to find herself, but I think that is something beautiful that comes from this plot. A central theme throughout this story is darkness, hate, and rage, which is interesting to dive into. Adelina moves through the day as a ticking-time bomb waiting to explode, and Marie Lu does an excellent job exploring the darkness that lurks beneath the surface.

Waiting on Wednesday: The Rose Society (The Young Elites #2)

Marie Lu