Sunday, 28 September 2014

The Young Elites by Marie Lu: Review

Title: The Young Elites #1
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: Putnam Books for Young Readers
Buy This Book: Amazon / Book Depository
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 rumoured 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 wish I'd been given this advise.
The Young Elites is pretty hard for me to review, I find it difficult to explain my feelings and why this book didn't work for me. I really enjoyed Marie Lu's Legend series, so I was really excited to get my hands on The Young Elites. The cover was gorgeous, the plot summary had me beyond intrigued and I felt this was going to be a phenomenal book. I read the book and can't help but feel quite disappointed, and also pretty certain I won't be continuing this series. Have no fear though, if you're excited for this book then I'd still recommend it. It's not poorly written and does have a brilliant premise, there are just reasons why it didn't work for me personally.

My main issue with The Young Elites is the same issue I had with Cruel Beauty, and one that makes it impossible for me to enjoy either book. There are almost no likeable characters. There was literally only one character in the whole of The Young Elites who I really loved. And I am afraid even that will be ruined for me if I continue this series. I just can't deal with characters who are impossible to like. If I don't like a character then I don't root for the character, I don't really care what happens to them. I spend most of my time just wanting to reach into my book and hurt them. This was the case with almost every character in this book.


Adelina is the main character of the book and I'm pretty certain that I despise her. She definitely reminds me of Nyx from Cruel Beauty, especially when it comes to her relationship with her sister. Adelina is a malfetto, one of the children left marked by the blood fever that swept across their nation. As a melfetto, she is feared, hated and treated like an outcast. Her sister was left unmarked by the disease and is still treated well by their father. I lost count of how many times the book references the darkness inside Adelina. She's basically filled with a general bitterness, hatred and rage. Yes, okay, she has her reasons but I never felt they fully justified how she acts or who she's become.

Teren is just a total psycho and he requires a considerably large amount of psychiatric help. He just comes across as the worlds biggest hypocrite or someone who is totally delusional. I think he's probably both. So, nope, didn't like him. Enzo is a character that I feel I am supposed to really like, but I never particularly warmed to. The only character I loved was Raffaele, who's one of the Young Elites and works in a brothel as a prostitute. Loved him! He seemed sweet and kind, but also was able to see the evil in people and the need for them to be destroyed. This boy understood how I felt, this book needed much more Raffaele.
My reaction to nearly every character.

I don't feel ridiculously let down by this book or anything. I still feel like Marie Lu did a brilliant job, I am just one of those people who requires my main character to be likeable. This book has a lot to offer, I feel it's a book the majority of people will love. So I hope my review doesn't put anyone off, it's just the Disney child in me who still craves sunshine, rainbows and happy ever afters. I can definitely see this book being one of those that everyone else loves. And then there's me, the odd one out. I am just not a fan of the anti-hero main characters.

I found the idea of the Young Elites and their powers quite fascinating. I was excited to learn more about them and their abilities, but then it never really happens. We learn the basics of their abilities as far as: Oh, that's Windwalker and they can do whatever wind can. Okay, thanks for that, the name had me confused for a second and I thought he could breathe fire! I never felt like powers were ever fully explained and we never get any explanation as to how the blood fever suddenly gave people individual powers. Even Adelina's powers confused me for quite some time, for so long it seemed like the worlds most pointless and unhelpful power. It took almost the entire book for her powers to really be explained.

There is a romance in the book, it's a very not-romance romance.  It just does not work. It left me a bit confused, I didn't really see where it was coming from or where the hell it was going. I also didn't really like that Adelina's sexual desire is seen as being part of her evil side. It's like a really intense form of slut shaming or something.

The beginning of the book really gripped me and had me turning the pages to see what would happen next. The middle is when the pace falters and my interest waned a lot. It just slowed down too much and didn't really interest me. The last 20% of the book really started to redeem it. The action picked back up and I wasn't exactly sure where the story was going. One event that happened at the end really had me confused, I was left confused as to how and where the story would continue next. The epilogue was amazing because it introduced a character that I already love. That almost grabs me enough to make me want to continue this story and see where the story will go in book two.


3/5 Butterflies

I feel this is going to be one of those books that everyone loves but me. I don't have a burning hatred for it, I just thought it was an okay read. It didn't excite me enough to make me want to continue the series. I prefer characters who are likeable, I really couldn't get behind the anti-hero that is Adelina. I am also curious as to where the story will go next. The epilogue did work to pique my interest, the introduction of a new character that I feel I could really come to love. I just don't feel that's enough to make me pick up the next book. I enjoyed the beginning and end of the book, but the middle part really drags. I couldn't connect or like any of the characters, which is a huge problem for me and not something I can get past. The strange thing is that I would still recommend this book, but probably to people who can deal better with characters that are not likeable.




*I received a copy of this novel from the author/publisher/publicist via Edelweiss in exchange for a free and honest review and received no monetary compensation for this review.

28 comments:

  1. The "meh" books really bother me sometimes because...because it's hard to find exact emotions about them! I flail and rage very well, but feeling meh is not fun at all. *nods* I'm totally a minority here, but I didn't actually like Legend at all. So I was hoping this would be a really good one, because I'm such the odd fish not being a huge fan of Marie Lu. I WANT TO BE. Still going to read this one, but, hehe, I have yet to get my hands on it anyway. *eyeballs the library*

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    1. Maybe you'll end up loving it. It kind of feels like everyone else did. I just didn't connect to the main character and that always ruins a book for me. I need to feel something, anything for them or it's not going to work.

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  2. I'm alright with not liking any character in particular. What truly does bother me is when I FEEL nothing for the characters, you know? Like I'm apathetic. That just kills a book for me. I'm weary about the slut-shaming though...But I love anti-heroes so I'll definitely still give this a go. Fantastic review!

    Jess @ My Reading Dress

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    1. EXACTLY! I felt nothing for them. I didn't really care what happened to them one way or the other. It was really disappointing and just didn't work for me.

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  3. Ooooh, that's a bit of a shame it wasn't 'WOW' amazing. I was going to buy it for my brother - I think I still will. I've heard it's kinda like The Young World by Chris Weitz, is that true?

    "I couldn't connect or like any of the characters, which is a huge problem for me and not something I can get past."
    *inhaaaaale* awww man, I know you're exact feeling. Sadly I felt like that about Throne of Glass, which is why I couldn't finish it.
    "I feel this is going to be one of those books that everyone loves but me."
    Same again. (LOL.)

    Agreed on the slut shaming thing. Of course it could be read as positive or negative but a solely negative view gives people warped ideas. I remember that when I read YA/teen books the most, at secondary school, I was so impressionable. Anyway, I think I would still like to give Marie Lu a try. I've wanted to read Legend for some time now.
    Thanks for sharing!

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    1. I don't know. I have The Young World but haven't read that yet. I really hope they're not alike. I just found the whole book very underwhelming.

      Haha! Well then I seriously feel your pain for Throne of Glass. If your experience of it was like my experience with this, I can completely understand why you had to DNF. I wish I had DNF this.

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  4. Oh disappointing. I need to like at least...someone. Have read a couple and I just couldn't stand any of them or see wanting to be around them in real life and it was such a turn off reading-wise.

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    1. It just puts me off the whole book and ruins the reading experience for me. I like to like the characters in my books.

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  5. I haven't read anything by Marie Lu, not even the Legend series! This is actually on my TBR list, but it sucks that you didn't like it. I know what it feels like to need to like someone, especially if it's the main character. Without one, I don't know who I'd root for.... Great review, anyhow! :)

    -Kimi at Geeky Chiquitas

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    1. Thank you! I struggled so much with this book, it wasn't an enjoyable reading experience for me at all.

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  6. This is kind of how I felt with Shadow and Bone/ Siege and Storm. Although I just felt indifferent towards the characters. It sucks that none of these characters were enjoyable for you. Don't you just hate when the epilogue makes the next one sound like it's going to be freaking amazing and you have to have it, but you just don't want to. Maybe you can just find out what happens in the next one haha.

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    1. I know. That epilogue annoyed me so much because it made the sequel sound so good. It introduced a character I could totally root for. I don't know, I'm so torn now. Might wait for sequel reviews before I decide.

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  7. It's a shame this wasn't as good as you were expecting. Now I know to lower my expectations! But if I'm being honest they were never really high in the first place; I haven't read any other books by Marie Lu before, so I don't know what to expect from her writing. Thanks for the review; I probably won't be in any hurry to pick this one up.

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    1. I know so many others loved it though, so I feel kind of bad that I've put you off. It just didn't work for me, I don't like characters that I can't like. I can like a character even if they are evil, sometimes it's fun to root for a baddie. But the ones in this just didn't work for me at all.

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  8. Oh... This is the first negative review that I've seen for this book! I think I'll read it just the same because it's been on my wishlist forever! Thanks for the review! Looking forward to more by you :)
    Book Maniac Reviews

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    1. I'm the total odd one out, I know. I just can't help myself, none of these characters worked for me. I can like an evil character, but these just didn't have anything about them that I could like.

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  9. It really is hard to love a story when you can't connect with the characters, that connection is so important. Sorry this wasn't a better read for you, especially considering you loved her other series so much.

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    1. I have gone past the point of disappointment now. I just won't continue the series and I'll hope the next series she does after this is more for me.

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  10. Disney child. Lol. Totally understand.
    I'm definitely excited to get my hands on this one. I binged the Legend trilogy last year and loved it.
    I can understand having a hard time relating to a book when you hate everyone. It can definitely make it hard to actually finish the book. Or just care. Totally sucks.
    Hopefully that doesn't bother me. I really really want to love The Young Elites.
    Happy reading!
    Brittany @ This is the Story of My(Reading) Life

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    1. That was my issue, I just didn't care. I wasn't invested in anyone, so I wasn't really bothered about where the story went or what the characters went through. I hope you end up absolutely loving it though, I really wish I had.

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  11. Too bad this one didn't work for you, but I loved the Legend series so much I'm definitely reading this one. I totally understand why you wouldn't like it if you didn't like the characters. A lot of people didn't like June, although I did. And that's weird about her sexual desire being seen as evil…what???? That's concerning. I'm intrigued though by your description of the epilogue. Thanks for the honest review! ~Pam

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    1. It just came across like they were saying her sexual desire had something to do with the darkness in her. It was very weird to me but I don't know. The epilogue was the best part of the book. That actually made me want to continue, which frustrates me.

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  12. I haven't read any books by Marie Lu so I would definitely end up reading her Legend series before I tried any more of her books! It's a shame because I don't think I will like this. I am a very character driven person when it comes to novels, and no character relation means no me feeling very happy. I will have to think about it!

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    1. I feel like the odd one out though because everyone else seemed to love it. I've not been having the best luck with books lately, maybe I'm in a reading slump. It just didn't work for me, especially the characters.

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  13. Thanks for a wonderfully honest review, Charnell - and for the advice to lower my expectations! I must admit however, my expectations aren't all that high. I've read Legend, Prodigy and half of Champion, and while they were enjoyable, I didn't LOVE them like so many other people did. Hence, I love the premise of The Young Elites, but I wasn't DYING with EXCITEMENT for it like so many others.

    It's a shame you didn't like any of the characters - I might lower this one on my TBR.

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    1. I know so many others who have loved it, so I definitely feel like the odd one out. But it just didn't work for me, I didn't like the characters. I really struggle to enjoy a book if I can't fall in love with the characters.

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  14. I'm really excited to read this, I held off on downloading it for Kindle because I need that book on my shelf. I have heard that The Young Elites is quite dark so I think I'm already expecting unlikeable characters. Raffaele sounds awesome, I can't wait to read about him.

    Rosie @ www.eatreadglam.com

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    1. I really hope you love the book then, I think maybe my expectations were a bit too high and I wasn't completely ready for the dark aspect of the book.

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