“Everyone has darkness inside them, however hidden.”
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.
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The characters alone make this novel extraordinary, and it’s not because they have power or special abilities but because they are well written and beautifully crafted. Marie Lu did a great job in all them, making every characters stand out in their own rights. Even technically only one person (Adelina) takes the central story, the surrounding characters also has their own intriguing personalities which makes them equally appealing and their stories worth following. At first I thought I’m just stepping inside the familiar world of fantasy novels but meeting Marie Lu’s characters is nothing familiar. They are the kind of characters you can’t easily labeled and I like all of them for that.
Adelina Amouteru fascinates me right from the start of this novel. I easily feel her struggles and longing to be love by her father. I understand her hatred to the world who mocked her for being a malfetto, and I salute her for trying to fight for her freedom and future. But Adelina is far from innocent, she not all good. She has a dark side that needs to be tame or control. Her ambitions and cravings for power and revenge makes her character darker. Even she, herself questions her own moral. She’s both good and bad, fearful and strong, loving and hateful, all things that makes her more intriguing and fascinating. She’s definitely one of the most complex characters I have ever met in YA fictions. A character like her is one of the reason why I love reading fantasy novels so much. She’s far from perfect but her character is so rich and well developed that I can’t help but admire Marie Lu for weaving someone like Adelina.
“I’m not proud to admit it, but I’ve always liked her helplessness. It made me feel powerful. In those small moments, I was the better one.”
Another intriguing character from the story is Enzo Valenciano. He is the prince of Kenettra but his rights to the throne was taken away from him after being cast as malfetto. He leads the Dagger Society – a group of young Elites who work hard to hone their special abilities so they can keep all malfettos safe and to get back the throne to the rightful prince. Enzo is an easy to like character inspite of being cold, ruthless, and complicated. Like Adelina, Enzo has both dark and good side. When he save Adelina from the Inquisition Axis, he did it for his own gain as he wants to use Adelina’s power to get what he wants. Enzo mostly wants what is right for his poeple, but only if it is in his best interest.
Teren Santoro the leader of Inquisition Axis is the only one that can easily labeled as the bad guy in the story. But somehow I find him more than that just the bad guy. He is a worshiper lover, and being that makes him do anything for the sake of love. I had an inkling and hopes for his character, that maybe Mari Lu is weaving a bigger role for this guy and justifications for his bad sides.
“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.”
Then we have Raffaele Laurent Bessette one of the members of the Dagger Society who is so much trusted by Enzo because of his ability. We only get a part of his perspective but there’s more to him than what he allows everyone to see. Enzo maybe the Dagger Society’s leader but Raffaele holds a much bigger role without even trying to get the title of the leader. His words are so much powerful – they can make Adelina feel loved and at the same time can request to end her life.
The others characters are also intriguing but these four I mentioned are really the one who got my full interest. They fascinate me to the point that I want to sit down and to talk to each one of them to have a peek of their thoughts. If only this novel have a companion novel where all my questions for these characters can be answer.
“Be true to yourself. 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.”
Overall, Marie Lu plotted a well crafted story in The Young Elite, from her intriguing characters, well developed world, and well plotted story line. The Young Elites is a very good example why I love fantasy novels, it’s dark, gritty, full of magic, actions, surprises and lots of possibilities. Looking forward reading the next installment of this highly intriguing fantasy series.
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