The Young Elites Series: Review
As I did with the Shades of Magic series, I decided to review the entire The Young Elites series, by Marie Lu, as a whole. I initially wanted to review each installment separately, but they were so binge-able, that I finished all three books before I knew it! That alone should be a good indication of how I felt about this fantasy series, but read on for a spoiler-free review!
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.
I'm only going to post the summary of the first book, because the summaries of the next two contain spoilers for those who haven't been acquainted with Adelina and the Dagger Society yet. What do you think?
I was very intrigued by the summary of the first book. It sounded like a fantastical version of the TV show Heroes, or even X-men. I love reading about magic and unique powers, because I think this plot device gives their characters a lot of potential and depth. Unfortunately, I wasn't too impressed with the first book in the series, The Young Elites. The scope of the powers that these young adults have wasn't as expansive as I'd imagined and I had the same issues with Adelina that I had with Alina from the Grisha Trilogy. She was a bland, simplistic character that lacked a conviction that I could stand behind.
The Rose Society was a little better, and we get introduced to a slew of new, interesting characters, many of which I adore over Adelina. We learn a bit more about the interesting mythology behind this world in The Young Elites, and once that's explained, you get a better understanding of how each of our Young Elites are programmed, so to speak, based on what they align with. However, Adelina still gets very little character development, and by this point, I really could care less about her dark motivations and her even darker powers.
The Midnight Star is where things really kick up. I obviously won't talk too much about the plot points in this book, since it's a pretty epic conclusion to the series, and the one that I rate most highly out of all three. If you feel stuck reading the first or second book in The Young Elites series, like I did, I urge you to continue to the very end, because you'll be in for a few treats, including an emotional roller coaster and many wonderful plot twists.
Some things that I truly enjoyed about this series were its epic ball scenes. We don't meet very many Young Elites throughout the entire series, but what powers we are familiar with are executed with great style. In each book, we're treated to at least one massive battle scene that calls upon the elements, our Young Elites' wits, and challenges Adelina's faith in herself and her friendships.
I also enjoyed the little snippets before each chapter. Throughout the three, Lu includes snippets from ancient poems, folk tales, letters, and texts. There's no obvious thread that connects them together, but it was a nice way to get in some extra world-building.
Overall, I enjoyed this series for its imaginative storytelling and lush action scenes. My main complaint is how one dimensional Adelina was, in my personal opinion. Since she is our main character, it was just a struggle to get through the books knowing that for whatever reason, I had to continue this journey with this girl that I didn't trust. But, it was a good challenge for me to read alongside a protagonist that I didn't care for. It challenged my ideas of what a hero should be, and what a hero's sacrifices should look like.
I rate The Young Elites series 3.5/5 stars!