Review: The Young Elites (The Young Elites #1) by Marie Lu

The Young Elites by Marie Lu

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: bought
Publication Date: October 7th 2014
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Genres & Themes: YA, Fantasy, Dark, Magic, Romance, Friendship, Family, Betrayal


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.



Adelina definitely surprised me.

She’s such a strong heroine. The kind we just love to have in our fantasy reads. It’s pretty crazy, to say, how easily she and I clicked. Turns out, even though I don’t believe myself to enjoy or, sometimes, want to hurt people, we have many things in common, such as fighting for what is dear to us, family and always trying our best.


Enzo is the love-interest of Adelina. He is the rightful heir to the throne, but was banned, since he is a malfetto and malfettos are feared and, even, in some other places killed. Just because they’re different from others. They may not be ‘evil’ but, to the eyes of others, they very likely are since they are usually flawed and have unique powers. Enzo is the head of the Young Elites which is a secret sect of malfettos who are organizing…something big. They want to make of Enzo the ruler of the Kingdom. Which is fantastic. I think it to be a great idea…except that there wasn’t much they actually did to achieve their goal.

In fact, there wasn’t that much happening in the story. It mostly revolves around Adelina who became a spy, in order to free her sister, Violetta, from the hands of Teren, someone who despises malfettos. I do understand why Adelina decided to agree to Teren’s terms for the freedom of her dear sister, but I think the whole concept and situation was too simple, in a way. There was a lot lot lot of potential but it feels, to me, like the author somehow decided to take the easiest path, because of how she ‘handled’ everything that happened. No scenes that will blow your mind.

Other than that, I did enjoy this, really. I wasn’t that disappointed, since I did not have very high expectations, being one of the few who were not mesmerized by the ‘awesomeness’ (as many say) of the Legend trilogy. I enjoyed it, same as this one, but nothing more…

There was almost no romance. A little, but this is definitely not driven by romance. When it was present though, I was hooked and hold my breath at how captivating it was. But, like I said, there’s isn’t much of it. What a shame.

The writing was good and pleasant enough to read. I did think that the world-building wasn’t as developed as there was possibility to be though. The author did a great job at creating unforgettable characters but, in my opinion, she kind of neglected the world-building. There is some of it, of course, but you can see how the characters are more important compared to it.

When I think about how the author switched from dystopian (with Legend) to fantasy, (with this) I think she overall proved that she can create a story, whatever the genre will be. And that’s fantastic! Bravo to her! Would love to see if she pulls contemporary off. I think she could.

I would recommend this to fantasy fans out there. Be warned, though, it is very different from her well-known trilogy. You may see similarities to characters but, other than that, it’s completely different. It was a good read, some scenes were dragging here and there or having too much of Adelina’s internal struggles but it was engaging enough and the magic interesting.

PS. Am I the only one who thinks the cover is a little…cheap? Giving the impression that the design as a whole is only half finished? What are your thoughts on it?

First art
Second art

Review on Goodreads.

17 thoughts on “Review: The Young Elites (The Young Elites #1) by Marie Lu

  1. I read the Legend trilogy and highly enjoyed it and it was one of the few dystopian series out there that haven’t disappointed me. I was surprised to see Lu was releasing a high-fantasy novel because it’s quite a different genre, as you said and I’m glad she was able to make it believable. I might read this one in the future but I won’t go into it with my expectations too high. Thanks for the review, which was awesome, as always! 😉


  2. I agree, I would’ve liked more action. I hope there will be more in the next books. There’s nothing wrong with clicking with Adelina, she has plenty of admirable qualities even if she is a character of grays. I liked the cover just fine, it’s not my favorite style, but there are a lot of covers like that right now. Nice review Lola! 🙂


  3. I’m halfway through this book but put it down for a while to read other things. It was really holding me back, and I’m considering DNFing it. The cover is really… I don’t know. I had a chapter sampler of this book from Barnes and Noble and figured that the cover would be changed, so I was really surprised when I bought the book to see that cover. It looked unfinished to me.

    I enjoyed Legend as well, but it wasn’t the most mind blowing experience. However, I did have higher expectations for this book, and am slightly disappointed that I’m only halfway through it and still haven’t finished.

    Great review 😀


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  5. Hahah yeah I’m not a huge fan of her cover either, but then again most of her books’ covers are a little simplistic. But I’m sad to see that the world-building isn’t as good as it could be. I like character development, but when it’s in the fantasy genre, it really needs to have good world development.


  6. Oh god, I hate the cover so so much. It’s so incredibly underwhelming and dull in real life. Very half finished indeed.

    I totally agree with you, hun, the world building took the backbench in this one. This was all about the characters, wasn’t it? I was a big fan of the romance as well but there was very little of it. I do have high hopes for the trilogy though–hopefully it’ll be a good one. Fabulous review, sweets! x ❤


  7. Very detailed review, it was helpful 🙂 It’s one of the few ones I’ve read that isn’t five-star, haha. Marie Lu’s worldbuilding was great in the Legend trilogy (at least for me) so it’s a shame that she didn’t execute it as well in her fantasy book :/ I have heard a LOT about the characters and their mixed or even dark morals, which isn’t common in YA. This is definitely high on my to-read list~


  8. Hmmm, I can’t tell if I want to read this book. I’ve heard mixed things on this book. I wasn’t a fan of her last series. No romance?? I don’t know if I could survive without even a little. The plot doesn’t seem to go very far either… Perhaps I’ll check this out form the library. Interesting to read of an “evil” main character. Thanks for the lovely review, Lola ❤


  9. I really like the fanart of Adelina. I’m in the middle of the audiobook and I’m not quite sold on Enzo as a character. Thanks for your review, I agree that it’s a bit simplistic. I hope the second book expands a lot more!

    Amber Elise @ Du Livre


  10. This series has been on my TBR for a while, Lola. I love dystopian, and I love fantasy, so reading about something like this where the world building is well done, and some of the characters have strange powers – yes, I think I’ll enjoy The Young Elites.
    I’m glad to see some of the things you enjoyed less, too, because it’s always better to start a book when my expectations aren’t too high 🙂
    I hope you’re doing well. Have a fantastic week.


  11. Planned to read this one but then I saw A Thousand Pieces of You in the bookstore and bought that instead. I still want to read this but I don’t think I’ll be able to before Marie Lu comes in the Philippines (she’s coming on the 22nd/23rd). After reading your review, I’m not too excited to read it.


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