The Young Elites Series
Author: Marie Lu
The Young Elites
The Rose Society
The Midnight Star (expected in 2016)
Published by: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Goodreads Summary for The Young Elites (Book 1):
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.
Uh! This series is hard for me to review. I really like Marie Lu as an author. She creates interesting worlds with engaging conflicts, and fun characters. I devoured her Legend series. Truth: I had no intention of continuing this series after book one. The Young Elites felt disjointed, like Lu wasn’t really sure who her characters were, especially Adelina. Actually, it wasn’t until Lu introduces Maeve’s story during the epilogue of the book when I thought: now THIS is interesting…a little late for a book to spark my interest. After finishing the book, I also learned that Lu was herself trying to figure out who Adelina was and where her story was going while writing the book. She said it was really hard for her to write Young Elites, until she realized she was telling a villain’s story. This made more sense to me, and helped me put some of Adelina’s actions into perspective. She’s a villain, not a good girl. Do I want to read a story about a villain? It’s hard for me to invest in a character when I’m not supposed to route for her. Anyway, when I saw The Rose Society available at the library I decided to give it a try.
Again, Lu kept it action pact with engaging conflicts and characters. People who used to be on the same side are now enemies, new characters are introduced, and Adelina draws more on her dark power and reasoning. She’s selfish, and tragically lied to and tricked by the power she’s come to rely on with abandon. Violetta, her sister, is a bright spot of love and support, but even that is tenuous. Magiano (which is really close to Maggiano – a large Italian restaurant in Chicago, so his name kept sounding like lasagna) can also be a source of light for Adelina, but she can’t allow herself to become vulnerable. I’m also not sure why Magiano is attracted to Adelina, or cares for her. Sure, she challenges him and might be more of his equal than anyone, but WHY? She’s angry and narrow-minded. Maeve is a little disappointing to me too, maybe because the most interesting thing about her happened in the epilogue of the first book.
In the end, I felt confused and depressed. No one is happy and everyone’s defeated (even though someone wins). How is a story going to end when the main character is an antagonist? Granted, I’m not sure who the protagonist is in this story. Everyone one has his or her own agenda, parts good and bad, but no one wants to forgive and work together. Will it be all destruction for the Young Elites in the end?
Would I let my teen read this series?
This is an interesting series. It’s unlike most young adult stories I’ve read, simply because it focuses on a villain. There are good questions to discuss here about what makes people make bad choices. Is justice always about revenge? What good does revenge do for Adelina? Is she a good leader? Does fear make a good leader? What would a good leader do? This could make for a really interesting book to read with your teen, simply for its uniqueness. However, because of it’s dark themes I think this series is better saved for mid-teens.
Age recommendation: 15
Language – None
Drugs & Alcohol— None
Sex – Several kisses; sex is alluded to – one couple is described in a scene as undressed after it’s assumed that they had sex; another character is a royal prostitute so he must “work” another person of power
Violence – Sword and knife violence; throats slit and hearts stabbed (literally and figuratively); Adelina’s power describes people being tricked into feeling torturous pain
My Goodreads rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Purchase The Young Elites on Amazon.com
I read a lot. I'm a Mom. I'm officially in my 30s, but strangers often don't believe I'm old enough to drink. I love Young Adult fiction, and thought it was worthwhile to help teens and adults find age-appropriate options.