Friday, December 26, 2014

Review: The Young Elites

The Young Elites (The Young Elites, #1)Title: The Young Elites
Author: Marie Lu
Series: The Young Elites
Volume: 1
Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy

A Quick Introduction: Adelina Amouteru survived the devastating blood fever, only to emerge scarred- and marked with white hair and lashes. She's one of the malfetto, children who survived the plagues but are now dogged by suspicion and rumours that they have unnatural powers. When these rumours are proven true, Adelina is thrust into the world of the Young Elites, and a group led by Enzo Valenciano. Adelina has been hurt and betrayed many times in her life, and she's done taking all of the abuse from the world. She's ready to start paying people back.

Out of Ten: 6/10

Review at a Glance: An opening to a dark fantasy series whose characters I could not invest in.

Review: I enjoyed Marie Lu's debut Legend as well as its sequels Prodigy (review) and Champion (review), and was intrigued by her preliminary art for this series (like this). On the other side, I'm not sure how I feel about it. There were a lot of things about this book that I really didn't enjoy, but I don't think they are a result of poor writing or storytelling.

These mixed feelings are best explained by- and perhaps rooted in- the character of Adelina. She is overall not a very likable character, and isn't really intended to be. She's bitter and vengeful, and generally enjoys the torment of those whom she feels have wronged her. It made her an aggravating character to read, as well as making her someone whom I found myself unable to root for or connect to. However, that does not me she is not a vivid, multi-faceted character, because she is- she just isn't a very good person.

The other characters were generally as vividly formed as Adelina and were quite diverse, although also difficult to connect to, especially as a result of Adelina's narration and view of them. The romance was also difficult for me to invest in, and felt stilted and underdeveloped. Adelina and Enzo did not seem to know, much less trust, each other at all and didn't really seem to like spending time with each other.

The plot was overall straight-forward, both a plot in itself and a set-up for a larger story, as this is the first book in a series. It is closely interlinked with introducing the world and magic system, which is still somewhat unclear- to the characters as well as the reader, as the powers are fairly new to the world. This set's up Adelina's back story, which is more of a villain's origin story than that of a hero. The world itself is fairly well defined, and is set up to be explored more in the following book.

This is, as I have mentioned, a part of a series, that I am, at present, unsure if I will continue. I did not really enjoy reading much of the book, and actually found myself losing interest occasionally, even into the climax. Overall, I feel like this book was alright as a piece of writing, but really wasn't for me. The characters are somehow both very vibrant and very hard for me to invest in.

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