By: Cynthia Ayala
Published on October 7, 2014 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Group, The Young Elites by Marie Lu, follows Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. But the fever touched her, altered her hair color, her appearance and giving her powers beyond reason. She is the main protagonist of the novel, but not the typical hero, with darker ambitions and inhibitions, overshadowing her kind heart.
Lu has weaved together a dark and tantalizing tale about a group of young adults who are fighting a war, a guerrilla war to put the rightful heir, Enzo, another survivor of the blood fever, back on the throne stolen by his power-hungry sister. Taking a central focus on Adelina, the young and frightened character at first before she warps into a menacing force to be reckoned with. This is the main protagonist in the novel and right of the bat Lu give reader her backstory. The eldest child and survivor of a fever that swept through the fictional land of Kenettra she has been marked and abused because of it from her father, emotionally and physically. And thee various forms of abuse have awakened something dark inside her heart.
Within the novel, readers are sucked in by the phenomenal characterization. It starts off with the main heroine whose inner emotions are explored throughout the novel, turning her from docile to dangerous. Her dark ambitions, the ones she keeps locked inside, begin to rise as she get a handle on her literally dark power. Her eagerness for power, her eagerness to use and abuse those who would abuse her, it warps her, warps everything good about her. This is something very unique as far as a female hero goes. Adelina’s strength comes from her rage, her anger and her hatred to stop the chain of abuse that has been her life for years. She’s a darker kind of hero, more in the darker shades of grey than of the light. What light this character does have remains within her heart, her love for her sister and her love for Enzo, the crown prince.
As the novel shift between perspectives, reader get a true sense of the story being told. All the secrets and the intrigue build the mystery and the characters, but they also build up the distrust and the loyalty these characters have for one another. At every moment there is a darkness hovers around the characters, giving the story an intoxicating dark edge. That drives the reader to seek out and understand the characters. There is such a tantalizing aspect of the story, and sexual undertone of love and the deeper connections between the characters.
It’s mesmerizing how Lu has given the story and the characters a dark ambiance. It doesn’t matter if there is sun shining in the scenes, the darkness hovers. But there is no lack of detail in this novel. It has a minimalism effect, using colorful and minimal language to bring this story to life. With so little, Lu captures the audience and submerges them into a dark and tantalizing tale. (★★★☆☆ | B+)