Monday, November 17, 2014

The Young Elites by Marie Lu

Summary (from Goodreads):
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.

I’m a big Marie Lu fan. I loved the Legend Trilogy. It’s one of my all time favorite YA dystopias. When I heard a new book was in the works, I just about jumped for joy. Was this one as good as Legend? Not quite. Was it still a lot fun? Definitely.
I feel like everything I’ve been reading has been good, but nothing has been amazing in a while. I was kind of hoping for an amazing with this one, and got stuck with just another plain old good.
This book had a very French Revolution type vibe going for it. Though, the setting seemed more reminiscent of Venice, Italy. There seemed to be a lot of water and gondolas –not to mention giant, masked ball type celebrations. However, the Dagger Society felt a lot like the revolutionaries. They wanted the malfettos to be treated better, or at least equally to everyone else. All the plotting, spying, secret missions, royal politics, and training felt like revolutionary school for beginners. And all of this was super fun to read about.
Also, what’s not to like about a main character who’s missing one eye and has silver hair? She’s so not the typical hero. Yes, I felt bad for her. But, she had some dark mojo going on too. She thrived on people’s fear…And got a little too into the killing aspect of her job. However, I really couldn’t blame her. She got the short end of the stick on her childhood situation. Also, there was some seriously dark family drama going on with all the twisted flashbacks to the worst dad of the year. And the whole sister relationship aspect of the story was also really cool. I like stories where siblings are important and not just background noise.
So, why wasn’t this awesome sounding book amazing? I never really felt like I cared for any of the characters. I grew to love the main character and her sister. But everyone else? I could care less when death happened. I really was never afraid for the Dagger Society’s members. And I guess I wish I cared more for the people in here, particularly the romantic interest, who mostly just came off as a jerk to me.
I loved the plot. Lu knows how to write those suspenseful twists and turns. And wow, that ending was so good, and frankly a little unexpected. So, even though this wasn’t totally amazing, I still need book 2 now. Please. The story, the setting, the concept, the main character, and the revolutionary feel made this worth the read. I just wish I cared more about the characters. I give it 8/10.

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