Author: Marie Lu
Series: The Young Elites #1
Rating: 3.5 / 5 stars
I enjoyed Lu's Legend series, so I was looking forward to reading The Young Elites, especially as it branched further into the fantasy genre than the dystopian. The Young Elites carried a lot of familiar elements to the genre, including a group with - for lack of a better term - magical abilities that are ostracized for their talents. Though I am not certain I exactly understood where their magical/paranormal talents rose from, I believe it came from a plague like disease, in which a handful that were fortunate enough (or unfortunate enough, depending on how you look at it) to survive were gifted these abilities from different ancient gods. Certainly not how I would go about it, but it worked for the purpose of the story.
Enter our narrator (or, at least, the only character we follow where the prose is told from the first person POV). Adelina is one such malfetto, and she is definitely an interesting character. From the beginning, she is set up to be our protagonist, but there is an evil darkness lurking inside Adelina that makes you question her likability as the main character throughout the novel. It's an interesting dynamic, and not one that authors typically explore. Lu did well with it, and as such she developed Adelina into a very dynamic character. After all, Adelina wants to do good and help the other malfettos, yet she also sets out to see how she can benefit herself, as the call of power is very alluring to her.
As it is a young adult novel, there is - of course - an element of romance in the novel, but it isn't stifling. And the absence of a love triangle was refreshing for a change as such has seemingly become a staple to young adult novels regardless of their genre. Lu integrates the romance well into the overall plot of the story, and thus the romance helps to develop the plot instead of hinder it.
While I felt a lot of the action left more suspense to be desired, it was still a well written introduction to a new series. Marie Lu continues to set her novels apart from most other YA series currently being published as she shies away from the stereotypes and develops her own style. The "epilogue" leaves an interesting seed for the plot of the next novel, which I will be sure to read when it comes out.
Though The Young Elites is nothing earth shattering, it is a novel worth reading. I do hope Lu dives further into the details of her fantasy realm she has created for the series with the next novel, as one of the issues I had with this book was the fact that the world she created is unique, yet serves only as a backdrop in the novel. For a fantasy series, I would love to see more development into this new world.