The Young Elites by Marie Lu

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 am having some very mixed thoughts about this book. I previously read Legend by the same author and really enjoyed it. I had intended to finish that series before starting this newer series of hers, but I needed a Y-titled book for a challenge so here we are! It definitely seemed to suck me in and I had a hard time putting it aside. By the end though, I wasn’t as enraptured with it. I can’t (currently) pinpoint the reasons why my opinion changed, but maybe writing this review will help me figure it out! (or it’ll turn into a sloppy, sloppy mess of a review lol)

The Young Elites is about these kids who were changed by this fever. Those children who were affected had their  appearances change (either their hair or eye color or some would get new birthmarks of sorts) and there were a select few who got special powers. I really liked this premise. It definitely opened up so many options for each individual affected by this sickness. I kind of missed an explanation about the world they lived in, because all of a sudden there were three moons? There was definitely a little bit of room for some more world building. Thankfully that didn’t really detract from the story. It just left me a bit confused at times.

The book centers around the POVs of three specific characters: Adelina, Teren, and Enzo. Adelina is who we see most of the story through. She suffered through the sickness as a kid with her sister and seemed to only have had some physical changes. Then one night everything changes. While most kids who got the powers would… reveal?… their powers much earlier, she finally showcases a power – of deception and illusions. This is when she gets grouped with the Young Elites – those who survived the illness and had a power.

Her journey with the Young Elites is really what this book centers on. The bad guy is definitely Teren. As an Inquisitor, his job is hunt down the Young Elites. There is SO much more to him than you first realize though. I’m really curious to learn more about his motivations and his journey to see how he ends up the way he does. The lead of the Young Elites is Enzo. I wouldn’t necessarily say he’s a good guy in the typical sense, but he does have better/more morals than Teren. It’s hard to see if he truly has good intentions or if the choices he makes are purely selfish (which I kind of lean towards). I do have to say, it was super nice having these two guys that Adelina is torn between, but it NOT be a love triangle.

Overall this book is much darker than I would expect. I like that it was different though. Things weren’t tied up all neatly and it’s not the typical good versus evil. There’s more facets to it than just those two. I am interested in continuing the series because that ending and that epilogue got me hooked! I’m not sure how soon I’ll get to it, but one I definitely will try to get to.

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