At the beginning of last year – oh my goodness, is it that long ago all ready? – I read the Legend trilogy by Marie Lu, and it made it onto my favourite books of the year, so I had high hopes for the first book in her next series that came out a few years ago and, I think, the third book comes out this year. I’d heard a lot about The Young Elites on BookTube, because everyone was saying how different it was and how dark the main characters was, and I agree, it was different and Adelina definitely listened to her dark side, but I was expecting a lot more.
P L O T
Adelina Amouteru is a mallet and a Young Elite, meaning she has special powers as well as her disfigurement. Her mother died and her father was abusive, leaving her to look after/protect her younger sister…oh no wait, her sister was actually older. Wow, okay. I totally forgot about that, basically throughout the whole book I was convinced she was the older sister, because Violetta doesn’t really take the spot light and acts a lot younger than she actually is. Her troubled past leads her to finding a love of inflicting pain, so that’s pretty dark. Unfortunately, Adelina doesn’t develop into this incarnation of herself until much later in the plot, because she gets swept away by the dazzlingly Court and The Young Elites, who have taken her in and are ready to train her up.
The later half is probably over done. You’ve seen it in The X-Men, it pops up in Red Queen, The Mortal Instruments, but it’s still one of m favourite tropes, because it’s a great way to introduce all the different kinds of powers. I don’t think we’re anywhere near finding out the limits of the The Young Elites power. There were only about five others in the Dagger Society, so I can’t wait to discover the other powerful characters that will no doubt be introduced in the sequels.
W O R L D B U I L D I N G
World building is super important in fantasy, but I don’t think including a map constitutes as good world building. We don’t learn that much about the world, I was getting a lot of Italian Renaissance vibes, imagining white wash walls and secret satin draped concubine dens. Just because it draws from historical influences doesn’t mean we don’t need details! I think Adelina and the Elites will travel more in the next books, and there was a glimpse of a Princess character as the epilogue and she lived somewhere else, so I can’t wait to hear more from her side of things.
I did like how Lu explained how the powers came to be. That sort of original stuff was great! As for the rest, I think she relied to heavily on what the readers already know of fantasy landscapes of this kind.
C H A R A C T E R S
It’s hard to talk about favourite characters when none of the characters are particularly likeable. That probably comes with the whole being evil territory. The only person I’d say we really got to know was Adelina, despite that fact that The Young Elites is actually made up of three different perspectives: Adelina, the main; Teren, who works for the king and wants to kill all of the malfettos; and Enzo, who is a member of The Young Elites, and is very much the Finnick Odair of this world.
After the events of the final battle, I can’t be sure that all these prospectives are going to stay the same in the next novel, it would certainly be great to get some chapters from Violetta’s perspective, because she must have bigger role in the sequels.
Adelina was a really interesting character to hear from, her thought processes were so unlike any protagonist I’ve previously read. I don’t think I want her to have a redemption story either, I think it would be incredible for her to accept who she is, and see the making of a villain from the very beginning.
As for the other characters they were just *shrugs* I don’t know. Marie Lu is really good at main characters, but side characters…not so much.
R O M A N C E
Was ridiculous, unnecessary, and only used as an excuse for Adelina to go supernova when things didn’t turn out right. No more romance in the second book, please and thank you.
V E R D I C T
There were a few twists and turns, but for some reason I found them to be quite predictable. In most senses, I would say this book kept me on my toes, but the middle half was just so slow! Anyway, I shall be continuing with this series, because I’m far to intrigued not to!