First Impression: I went into The Young Elites with very high expectations. It was probably a mistake, because I have been left with a feeling of deep disappointment. As a fan of Legend and Prodigy and the great characterization and world-building, I was hoping it would be great in this, too. It wasn’t. It all felt lacking.
The thing that made this novel tolerable and why it has three stars is because I loved Enzo.
I might budge up the rating to a 3.5 purely for the last 30% or so which was fantastic, even though I am mad how it ended. I might even consider reading the sequel because I’m intrigued by the epilogue. We’ll see.
Review: Adelina Amouteru survived the blood fever as a child, the one that crippled the nation. She was left scarred: her previously black hair turned silver, and she lost her left eye, now replaced with a jagged scar. Her father and others believe she is a malfetto, an abomination. Others who survived the blood fever are rumoured to have powers – they’re called The Young Elites. Adelina is brought under the wing of the Dagger Society but she is hunted still by the leader of the Inquisition, Teren. Adelina must fight for her family and to remain free.
When this first came out, I read reviews that said that Adelina was such a fantastic character because she was so morally grey. I love morally grey characters; where the lines between right and wrong blur. However, my main problem with Adelina was that there didn’t seem to be a reason. Her powers were fed by the darkness, and her father was cruel, but there was a violence in her that was actually rather disturbing. I don’t know where it came from? She’d had dangerous thoughts since she was a child. Half of the time she forgot she had a sister.
Nevertheless, I loved the concept of the plague and the survivors having powers, even if the world-building felt lacking.
I also loved Enzo, and Teren was a very compelling character. It was more the side-characters that pushed me to finish it, and they were done fantastically. And that epilogue has really intrigued me and I might have to pick up the sequel so that we can meet the new character.
Overall, disappointing and I was expecting much better but still a relatively good high fantasy that I would recommend to fans of Marie Lu.