Book Review: The Young Elites, by Maire Lu
premise took from Goodreads.com: 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. What you need to know about The Young Elites, by Maire Lu:(1) This is not a story about a grey character, nor a dark character, nor an anti hero, it's a story about a needy, confused, selfish and scared little girl screwing up, using her superhuman power in all the wrong ways, making bad decisions and letting her fear get the better of her.
Well... Raffaele or maybe Teren come close to being grey characters, but Adelina, a grey character she is not.(2) Our main characters: The Young Elites (TYE for short) are rather goofy as a group of rebels.
They don't seem to know much about planning
, running a tight operation
and public relations
when overthrowing the king and seizing the throne are concerned.
I mean, it isn't a game, it's a dangerous power struggle and lives would be at stake, but most of those Young Elites have been so careless and they suck so much at running their operations.
I mean, throughout a whole book I didn't see those Young Elites bothering themselves to do anything for PR, they don't do a thing to save the discriminated melfettos, they don't send any message or propaganda to neither the general public nor their foes, they don't address and engage with their followers and supporters in secret meetings(there's one single meeting in the book, but still) ...in fact those Young Elites are simply there and carrying out some mission/stunts (e.g. breaking a prisoner out from the burning stake, killing some Inquisitors and blowing up ships on a festival), and supposedly these are enough for them to gain support from citizens and nobles alike.
I don't know...the citizens are just expected to cheer for TYE when they assassinate the king and seize power? Can thing really be that simple? I mean, even Al Qaeda and ISIS need to send out messages to their supporters and the general public in some way in order to solidify their support and threaten their foes!
Not to mention, those Elites also allow a newcomer whom they haven't yet known for sure they can trust to see all six of them in person, they also allow said newcomer to spend time in their major hideout without much checking, also no one is there to keep an eye on said newcomer. *sighs*
To be fair, there're a few characters who seem to be using their brains: Raffaele, Teren or maybe the queen, but surely not Adelina and Enzo, our MCs.
However, even Teren doesn't seem to be all that smart when he requests his spy to meet him right at the Inquisition Tower
, and said spy also walks right to the front door of the Tower for this 'secret meeting'. LOL(3) This book reads like a badly written Japanese action and adventure manga--with no depth.
No one is allowed to be bad looking or ordinary looking, all of the Elites are handsome/beautiful or at least attractive looking (there even are Marie Lu's hand drawn artworks to show for those characters' beauty), despite the scars and marking they are supposed to carry. *rolls eyes*
There're a few action scenes which are supposed to look cool and exciting, but there is still no depth in TYE's missions and the story shows no in depth political or social textures of this fictional society.(4) The heroine is an Angsty Sue.
Definition here: www.springhole.net/writing/mar…
I mean, Adelina really has all the reasons in the world to be bitter and selfish and uncaring! Her suffering is so great so there is a great big dangerous darkness in her!
Because her father abused her as a child and said father only loved her younger sister but not her! Poor thing!
Okay, she makes it sound like everyone else is having everything handed to them on a sliver plate.
I mean, it must be a cake walk for Raffaele to be raised as a consort and started serving clients sexually since the tender age of 17.
I mean, it must be an easy breeze for the Spider to nearly die on the battlefield.
I mean, Adelina's younger sister Violetta is so lucky to be raised by an abusive father who supposed to 'adore' her and she also has to watch Adelina suffers and nearly burnt at the stake.
I mean, life must be so sweet for the Star Thief to be hated and yelled at for her marking, despite being a noble.
I mean, it must be no big deal when Enzo ********************plot spoiler warning************
being removed from inheriting the throne for being a melfetto.**********end of spoiler***************
I mean, life must be easy for those other melfetto (who are without superhuman power) when they get dragged from their homes, driven out of towns and burnt at the stakes. (5) The story is filled with justifications that don't work.
In short, being mistreated by a father during childhood cannot cover up all Adelina's bad decisions and terrible actions.(6) YA romance happens when everyone is on a dangerous mission
To me, the romantic storyline between Adelina and Enzo is annoying and forced, it might be the matter of personal taste, but still.
I mean, Enzo is no fitting rebel leader when he ignores his trusted advisers' warning and keeps excusing Adelina's behaviors. Judging from what I can see, I'm damn sure a guy like Enzo wouldn't survive a week in the world of, for example, A Game of Thrones.(7) The writing is as emotional as a piece of rock
It's nothing new, the Legend
trilogy by the same author was written in the exact same bland, emotionless way. However, this problem is doubly annoying in TYE with Maire Lu keeps bothering me, in every single chapter, with all the big talks about the 'lurking horrible darkness' inside Adelina and 'the terrible fear and fury' she is supposedly experiencing.
To be frank, I can't feel a damn thing.(8)The only good things I can say about this book are...
(i) Unlike many pointless YA novels, the story of TYE at least is set to go to a certain direction...with the speed of a snail, and how the story is excised is very damn frustrating.
(ii) The final showdown scene is decently written.(9) The ending sucks**************major plot spoiler warning****************
In the end, after double-crossing the other Elites, screwing up for more than a few times, killing one of the Elites in anger, withdrawing important information from TYE and causing Enzo to get killed, Adelina is finally kicked out of the Young Elites group. And the girl still wondered why those other Elites wouldn't trust her.
I mean, come on.
Did I mention that Enzo is killed? No worry, because Marie Lu had already pointed out there are Elites who can revive the dead.
Yes, Marie Lu spoiled her own plot, she didn't even wait till the second book comes up to reveal it.****************end of spoiler***************
Therefore, I'm very shocked to see a highly popular Goodreads reviewer referred this book as William Shakespeare's Mistborn
, this book is neither. The plots and the character setting of TYE do look like Mistborn
, but Mistborn is a superior book on so many levels.*facepalms*(10) The Young Elites is a stupid title for a rebel group
18 pages into the story, I found something in this book which looks REALLY STUPID to me :
The book's title.
According to Marie Lu, the most feared and hated plague survivors with fearsome supernatural power are called The Young Elites
, the 'elites' as in 'the best of the youths', you know?
Oh bitch please. Who would call the most feared and hated and supposedly DANGEROUS outcasts in their society The Young Elites
? Miss Marie Lu, who are you trying to kid here?
another reviewer, Paige, pointed out the problem in her <a href=www.goodreads.com/review/show/…
English major problems: you get hung up on stuff like this because Words Mean Things. The villains calling them Young Elites is like everyone in the US government suddenly deciding Al Qaeda and ISIS will now be referred to as Servants of Allah. They sound like far less violent groups, right? EXACTLY.
Now I remember, judging from Lu's previous Legend
trilogy and now THIS, I have a feeling that Lu is never an author who has the guts to let her beloved characters suffer and be humiliated for real. So even the 'outcasts' in her stories have to enjoy a glorified title or be viewed as a hero (e.g. Day from Legend).
I am not amused.