★★★★ · book review

The Young Elites by Marie Lu

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Publisher: Putnam
Genre: YA Fantasy
Edition: Audiobook/hardcover
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5)

I picked this book up as part of a audiobook group and instantly fell in love with the narration and the characters of this book. Also it is great to hear the names pronounced properly… you don’t want to know how many times I mess up names in fantasy books.

I didn’t know much about this book before I picked it up besides knowing it has some rave reviews, it has people with superpowers, and a pretty awesome and mysterious cover. To say the least I was super intrigued by this book and I certainly wasn’t let down. This book is not your typical YA fantasy, it does not contain your typical female protagonist, and it most certainly does not fall prey to the current tropes in fantasy. You don’t really see many dark protagonist/ anti-hero books out there in the young adult realm so when you find one it is kind of shocking.

“You have goodness in your heart,” he says. “But your darkness overwhelms it all; your desire to hurt, destroy, and avenge is more powerful than your desire to love, help, and light the way.”

Adelina Amouteru is such an interesting and complex character. She is gritty and angry and her narrative is both fascinating and infuriating because you are in her head but at the same time you have your own thoughts and feeling coursing through your synapses and you probably aren’t thinking like her. It is jarring to listen to her first person narrative and be so lost in her head because of how dark and extreme her thoughts usually are. You begin to question the things she questions and it is a sign of spectacular writing when you find yourself getting lost in the mind of a character. It is so hard to like her because of this because Adelina makes some intense decisions and because she is so dark you almost want to root for everyone except her. I also find myself hoping for her redemption but at the same time I feel like she is doomed, and this is my constant battle throughout the entire book.

Enzo and Raffaele are my favorite characters because of their passionate, caring nature and ability to lead. Enzo is a strong, intelligent killer and Raffaele is a calm and calculating consort with abilities that reminds me of Jasper from Twilight. They both want to help Adelina grow her powers but they also wary of her abilities, Raffaele especially. I liked how their narratives as well as Teren’s was in third person which allowed us to see outside of Adelina’s perspective while still only really living in her thoughts.

Marie definitely has a way with words and has crafted a wonderfully cinematic story with just words. I love the occasional epigraphs and the insight they give into the world and it’s histories. As I listened to the story I could visualize what was happening. I felt like I could reach out and grasp Adelina’s energy and pull the strings. I felt like I could see the objects she was creating while practicing her talent. This story has tons of action, heartrending twists and turns, and beautiful prose.

“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.”

I can highly recommend this book to any fantasy lover as well as anyone who is tired of the light and fluffy protagonists and wants a darker main character. I can now understand the love that is out there for Marie Lu’s writing and I definitely plan on continuing the series and I most certainly need to dust off my copies of the Legend trilogy and FINALLY read it!

Have you read The Young Elites? What did you think?

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