Review: The Young Elites by Marie Lu


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.


You did not beat me book. I have conquered you and I win.

It’s official: I found this book to be boring. I would rather eat a chainsaw than read this book again.

It’s been a really long time since I’ve dozed off while reading a book and I can honestly say that it was nice to have that feeling once again.

I discovered that this book wasn’t dystopian and I jumped on it. I was told that it was high fantasy. But then I read it. I think people are confusing this with high fantasy. It’s not really high fantasy. It’s a genre called Alternate history. This book in particular is an alternate history of Renaissance Italy which happens during the Black Death. You can kind of see it. There’s death. Scared people. We need to kill them! God is angry at us. You get the picture. But, luckily, it’s still related to high fantasy. Sort of.

By the way:  I cannot friggin’ stand dystopian Young Adult. It results in me getting hives. Covered in them. Not joking. Not happening. EVER. AGAIN.

I remember being a kid and diving into all the epic’s of fantasy. The swords. The wars. The Gary Stu heroes. The fate. Love. Magic. One dimensional female character’s. Ah the oldies. But I loved them. I read them. I adored the tropiness of it all.

Epic fantasy has changed. A lot. When I grew into teenage-hood, I hid in books during my high school years. When my friends dragged me to parties where I could barely hear the person next to me, I took out a book: It was always fantasy. I ignored the guy talking to me, completely. I had a beer in my hand and i was reading this dude completely being badass with a sword. A big fucking chunky book. A smile on my face.Best time ever.

As a teen, I raged that there were barely any high fantasy young adult novels. What existed? I will show you in the following image:

Sparkly!!!

Not what I had wished for. I WANTED DRAGONS DAMMIT! Fucking publishers.

Then, what do you know, a few years into college and what happens? High fantasy becomes a thing in YA.  Now you give me what I want once I’ve passed the age of pimples and grown ups throwing condoms all willy-nilly? As I said: fuck you publishers.

The reasons I did not like this book are:

-The memories. The damn damn transitions.

– The Slow pace

– The emotionless writing

– The boring MC (main character)

What the hell is with all the transitions a.k.a. the memories. It prevented me from getting to know the main character. It prevented character development. It caused a drag in the pacing. It resulted in me constantly dropping this book. It. Caused. So. Many. Damn. Problems.

I start the book and I get the introduction on the type of person the MC is. Her past. Her faults. Her independence. Her crimes. Then, I think “oh finally” the story is staring. Good. This is really really good. I’m enjoying this. YEAH! She’s so badass. Then the memories follow. Can you feel the dramatic music in the background? The memories continue and continue and continue and continue and continue and continue and continue and continue and continue and continue and continue and continue and continue and continue and continue and continue and continue and continue and continue and continue and continue and continue and continue and continue and continue. I angst over the memories because I care. It caused a lot of issues for me.

Normally I love transitions because they allow us to see us who the character was in the past in addition to allowing the author to show us the world, instead of just telling us by info-dumping. The problem in this book is that Lu was a little too zealous with transitions. I was only twenty percent in and she’d thrown me, at least, seven or more. I spent more time in the MC’s past, than I did in getting to know the story and the character. It was too much. Too many memories and transitions can cause the reader to disconnect with the character and the world. Why? Because it made me feel like I never really knew her. I never really felt like I engaged in the story, as a result.

I have a really short attention span. It’s so short. I’ll often doze off in conversations. Sometimes thinking about…more interesting things. I guess. Not sure why. I guess I just find it hard to pay attention. This book made my attention span non-existent. Let me tell you a story about my book experience:

Picks up book.

Thinks the heroine is really cool and badass.

Thinks there are too many transitions because there are.

Reads. Blah blah blah.

Asks herself “where’s the character development?”

Character does magicy shadow stuff with her powers. Woop-di-doo.

Drops book.

Does homework.

Does the laundry (I hate laundry).

Picks up book.Reads. Oh look, she made a rose with her powers. Neato.

Drops book.

Exams. Angsting over exams.

Thinks about book: “Why would the heroine think the love interest cares about her when they barely know each other?”

HMMMMM….

Picks up book.

Villain threatens MC. Sigh.

Drops book. Feeds dog. Watches horror film with a friend.

Picks up book. Oh it’s finally getting interesting. YAY.

Reads more than usual.

Drops book.

Looks at other books longingly.

Picks up book.

Pacing gets really slow.

Realizes the MC is boring. Only the elements about her are interesting. Huh.

Drops book.

Picks up a better book by famous fantasy author.

Picks book back up.

Dramatic fight between villain and love interest. Shit happens.

FEELS NOTHING.

End of story.

Part of the problem with the pacing, I believe, is that the writing is quite emotionless. I can’t even figure out why. It has no special spark that spoke to me. It was missing that unknown magic that a book has when I’m enjoying reading. It’s missing. I couldn’t connect to the character, the pacing dragged, and I felt nothing when a certain character gets hurt. This can all be directed back to the writing. It’s well written. But it’s missing something integral: emotion. The character talks about how she feels. But that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the actual writing itself. Not the characters. Not the feelings of the character. The writing.

I leave this review admitting that I am the misfit of reviewers: Not liking books everyone loves and leaving confused about it.

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4 thoughts on “Review: The Young Elites by Marie Lu

  1. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum says:

    I’ve actually seen mixed reviews for this one, so don’t worry you’re not the only one who felt tepid about this book! It’s probably a good thing I plan on getting this one from the library, I don’t mind waiting a bit on the hold list to read this.

    • Brigid says:

      All of my friends have loved it. So, chances are you will. It ended up being really boring for me. Almost formulaic in a way that became guaranteed for readers to love it. Oddly. But sometimes the book chemistry works, other times it doesn’t. This one did not work.

    • Brigid says:

      I didn’t. I had expected to. Because the Main Character had everything I usually love, and yet I couldn’t connect with her. It’s just one of those weird book chemistry mysteries, I guess.

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