THE YOUNG ELITES by Marie Lu just debuted in paperback and the sequel, THE ROSE SOCIETY, comes out next month.
To celebrate, here's my review of THE YOUNG ELITES!!!
Penguin is also giving away an early reading copy of THE ROSE SOCIETY to one lucky winner!!!!
“I am Adelina Amouteru... I belong to no one. On this night, I swear to you that I will rise above everything you’ve ever taught me. I will become a force that this world has never known. I will come into such power that none will dare hurt me again.”
~Adelina Amouteru, THE YOUNG ELITES
I've been a fan of Marie Lu ever since I read an ARC of her debut novel LEGEND a few years ago back when dystopian was the be all and end all of YA fantasy. But now the tides are turning and fantasy is darker, weightier, full of magic and political intrigue and wars of a different sort. THE YOUNG ELITES is the first book in a new trilogy from Lu, and it's the best thing she's written to date. Told from multiple perspectives in a fashion recently made popular again by fantasy mega-hit series such as George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones and Sarah J. Maas' Throne of Glass, a new world of magic and deceit has come into being. Even better? The main story revolves around Adelina Amouteru, an antihero who just may be the villain of the story. She wants to be good, but she has so much darkness inhabiting her body. How did Elphaba turn in Gregory Maguire's WICKED? How did Dr. Horrible become truly evil and soulless in Joss Whedon's Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog? By the end of YOUNG ELITES, you won't know if you're rooting for Adelina to be the hero or the villain of her own story. Luckily, the second book, THE ROSE SOCIETY, comes out in less than a month, so there will be more answers soon. (As well as more questions, of course!)
Adelina Amouteru was one of the children who survived the fever and was marked, a malfetto. In her kingdom, the malfetto are considered dangerous because many of they exhibit special powers. A group of them band together as The Young Elites, and society talks about them in terrified whispers. The night Adelina discovers she has dark, twisted powers, she accidentally murders her father with them. She's taken in by the Inquisitors and set to be executed, but at the last minute, is saved by The Young Elites. She must now decide if she wants to learn to control her powers and help the malfetto Crown Prince in hiding take back his throne, or betray her new friends to the Inquisitors in order to save her younger sister.
I love that there are so many gray lines in this novel. What is good? What is evil? Which is Adelina? I love that we're left to figure that out, and think it's a huge highlight of the series. I also love the perspective switches that get us into the heads of other characters, even the evil Teren, a villain who didn't have to be one. It's amazing to see the way our upbringing can twist and change characters such as Teren and Adelina and turn them into something they might not have otherwise become. I really enjoyed the way Lu pokes at such things and makes readers think in new ways. She also isn't afraid to mold the story in ways no one could anticipate and keeps readers on their toes. The minute I finished this one, I was immediately ready for the sequel. Luckily, you won't have to wait long: THE ROSE SOCIETY is out October 13th, which is less than a month away!
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