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Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Young Elites by Marie Lu

A Second Look...  for Stephanie's take on The Young Elites, click here!  She read it in December; I'm a little behind times and only just now read it.

Stephanie mentioned the premise of The Young Elites in her review:  a blood fever swept through the country, killing thousands and leaving hundreds of children scarred/marked.  The marked children are known as malfettos, and are discriminated against.  Some of these malfettos have been discovered to have extra powers, such as the ability to create illusions or controlling the elements.  Some of these special malfettos have banded together into a group known as the Young Elites.  The story follows Adelina, a malfetto and new recruit to the Young Elites, as she hides from the Inquisitors (the police force in this fantasy world) (she has to hide from them- she's been accused of murdering her own father) and trains with the other Young Elites.

One thing I found really cool about this book was the world itself.  It felt very much like old, old, old world Italy.  In fact, there's mention of gondolas, and many characters have Italian-esque names, like Raffaele.  (Different spelling, but in my head I pronounced it the same as you would the painter's.)  Everyone gets around by foot, gondola, or carriage- there are no motorized vehicles or electronics in this world.  Much of the story takes place below ground, in catacombs, and I could just picture it in my head- all twisty passages lit sporadically by candlelight!  I don't know about you, but I love reading books that involve old underground passages in Europe.  I know that this is a fantasy book in a fantasy world, but it reminded me so strongly of other fiction I've read where the characters spend time exploring this whole world under Paris or London.  Then there's the intrigue of a royal court of sorts.  The Young Elites find their patrons/supporters through their service in a sort of religious-sexual court.  There are rituals and costumes and masks.  I also love love love masked balls in stories!  As you can tell, the setting of the story was a major plus in my mind!

Like Stephanie, I also have a hard time reading books where a character is abused.  I don't know that anyone would want to read about a teen being abused!  But I was able to endure it in this particular book because I didn't quite "click" with Adelina.  I wouldn't say that she's a bad person, but she's definitely darker than some other YA characters.  Of course, a decent therapist would probably trace her inner anger back to her father's abuse, but there were a couple of scenes with Adelina that honestly made me cringe.  If we met in reality, I think I'd be pretty scared of her.  She doesn't stand out too much, though: due to the fact that society shuns these young malfettos, most of them are pretty jaded, and also act more maturely than their physical age.  (Yet there's no language or sexual situations- you could hand this book to younger teen.)

Overall, this book was a winner in my mind, and I intend to read the sequel, The Rose Society, soon.  Even if the characters are darker than I'm used to, I'm over the moon about the setting and definitely intrigued by the society, and I want more!


Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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