The Young Elites by Marie Lu
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I wanted to enjoy The Young Elites. I wanted to thoroughly enjoy that story. In this case, I’m not saying that I had high expectations. I had reasonable expectations from the story and they were hardly satisfactory. The problem for me wasn’t the plot, but the characters.
The Young Elites have powers. They are kind of like X-Men in a fantasy world. In theory it is amazing. It is exciting, that a teenager could be so powerful because they survived a sickness. And like any group that has something that makes them other, they are aggressively pursued by everyone who is not a malfetto. This world of persecution is unfortunately only partially believable. We are only really granted three situations and it doesn’t quite paint a solid picture. Adelina is from a small town and it’s clear that her worth isn’t much in the town. Her father tried to sell her off illegally as a mistress just to get rid of her. Then there’s Fortuna Court, a place that is so invested in beauty that being a malfetto isn’t a curse. If one is beautiful, one can survive there and Adelina finds herself at ease. Then there’s the streets of Estenzia. While we did see Gemma, a young elite, lose the horse race, it was more Teren’s work than hatred of malfettos. Instead, we know only know of how intensely they are persecuted from Adelina’s initial arrest and Teren’s pursuit. Everything else is told to us and we are forced to believe. Considering that we are supposed to believe the whole world hates them, I need a little bit more than that.
Adelina is a young elite with the power to control illusions. She is a force to be reckoned with. Her powers allow her to create illusions that look real and confuse people about what is real and not for all their senses. Her problem is she is ruled by fear and anger. Boy, does she get angry a lot. However, I found Adelina to be terribly unbearable. She was harsh and one of the biggest hypocrites. She didn’t have cognizance of her own actions until well after they effected those around her. Now, I’m all for a girl to be tough and not necessarily likeable. Adelina has no redeeming qualities. Gosh, did I want to like her to considering she was strong and determined. I just could not connect to her.
In fact, aside from Rafaelle and Michel, none of the characters are particularly like able. As much as Adelina is frustrating, Enzo was even more frustrating. Violetta is a shell of kindness and nothing more. The novel is filled with all these characters that have the potential to be incredibly interesting. Their powers, their history, and their positions lead us to think that they would be more entertaining. Instead, they are angry and bitter with no real levels in between, which makes them feel like one note characters rather than real.
Thankfully, the plot of the story was interesting. Everything tied together nicely and the progression made sense. I was intrigued to find out how Adelina would acclimate to being part of a group that would kill her for not following orders while spying for the man in charge of hunting her kind.
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What did you think of the book.