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.
After enjoying Marie Lu’s Legend series, I was excited to dive into The Young Elites. The story opens with Adelina Amouteru, a survivor of the blood fever. Once considered a beautiful and desirable girl her father could marry off, Adelina was marked by the blood fever. Her dark hair turned silver and she lost her eye to the fever, only leaving a scar on her face. Her father has since never treated her as well as her sister, Violetta and constantly reminds her that she is marked, a malfetto. A series of events and a betrayal from her family leads Adelina straight to the Young Elites, a group of survivors of the blood fever with special abilities. As Adelina delves deeper into the world of the Young Elites she discovers her own powers and considers the trustworthiness of this new group.
While the premise wasn’t incredibly original to me, Adelina was the character who intrigued me. How many books have you read with a character who imagines such a bloodthirsty, violent revenge? In my case, not many. Adelina wants those who wronged her to suffer and she does not imagine any mercy. Adelina is dark, villainous and yet I rooted for her the entire book, even if it made me slightly uncomfortable to do so at times. Throughout the book it is hinted that she has a ‘darkness’ in her and that she can’t be trusted. While we only got a glimpse of this power, it is both intriguing and powerful, and Adelina relishes the power she possess.
Like I mentioned above, the idea of a world catastrophe with emerging young people with strange powers is a trope I’ve seen before. It also happens to be one of my favorite tropes because I am a sucker for discovering all these characters with unique powers. Some can control elements like fire and wind, while some can make objects disappear and reappear in another location. While I don’t want to go into detail for Adelina’s power, know that it is versatile, original and probably more powerful than we realize at this point in the story so far.
As far as supporting characters, there are a few important ones to note:
Enzo is the leader of the Dagger Society, or the group of Young Elites that Adelina discovers. Enzo is distant, interesting and definitely has an agenda of his own. He is fascinated by Adelina’s powers, despite repeated warnings that she could be dangerous. There is also a hint of attraction between the two, but I had a hard time trusting his motivations. Adelina’s most important priority is herself, so I couldn’t get too attached to other characters because I never knew when Adelina could turn on them.
Teren is a character I am excited to see more of. While him and Adelina are on opposing sides of this story, I have a feeling he will be an important character in the series. He is responsible for hunting down Adelina and the other Elites, but we soon learn he is harboring a secret of his own.
Violetta is Adelina’s sister and while their relationship is contentious at times, she is arguably the only character Adelina has any feelings for at all. Unfortunately, Adelina has been hardened by the harsh treatment in her childhood and the prejudice against her for being a malfetto has hardened her heart. Violetta represents the only good part of Adelina that is left and I was pleasantly surprised with her character arc in this book.
The ending fell a little flat for me in terms of action, I think I was just hoping for more. Although there were a few surprising twists and turns! I will definitely be reading the next book because I need to know what happens to Adelina. Sure, she has had a pretty terrible life so far, but she is going down a dark path and I personally can’t wait to see where it leads. I love the idea of reading about an anti-hero! Adelina makes a lot of questionable decisions throughout the book and it seems like she is starting to succumb to the call of her dark power. Will she continue down this path? Will she get the revenge she desires? Or will Violetta continue to be the voice of her conscience? I am excited to find out!
What did you think of The Young Elites?