[456]: The Young Elites by Marie Lu

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GOODREADS SUMMARY | Putnam for Young Readers | Hardcover, 355 pages | Published: October 7th, 2014 | Young Adult | Fantasy | Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars


A decade after  a deadly illness almost wiped the population, children who survived the epidemic have become rejects of society. The fever left them marked; and some time during their adolescent, they will develop incredible powers. Adelina is one of those survivors. She, with the long silver hair, pale lashes, and one eye. One night after she tried to flee the cruelty of her father, those powers presented itself, killing him in the process.

Charged with murder, she was imprisoned. On the day of her execution, she comes face to face with The Reaper: leader of the band of survivors with great powers known as The Young Elites. He saved her, and brought her into the fold. In the compound along with the other members, she trains to harness and control her power. Adelina couldn’t wait until she’s able to join in the missions, but without proper training, her power becomes a liability that could endanger the lives of everyone around her.

When Teren Santoro found her again, he would force her to choose between betraying the only people that had accepted her for who she is, and saving her sister from torture and imminent death.

Marie Lu’s latest venture into fantasy started off marginally well: a disfigured girl sits in her prison cell about to be hanged for the murder of her own father. In less than a couple of pages, Lu managed to whet the reader’s appetite. Adelina mulls through the short life she’d lived, and goes through a series of guilt-ridden acceptance of her fate. This is the reason why many would find  the first half of this book to be quite an absorbing read. I know I did. I wanted to know exactly what her father did that sealed his fate; I wanted to know what kind of powers Adelina possessed. I was also looking forward to meeting The Reaper; and when I did, the book was almost halfway done.

But things took a turn for the worse. Her life at the compound was another story. It soon became tedious for me. Truthfully, her decision to hide a secret from The Young Elites proved to be this book’s downfall. It became frustrating. I knew, heck, she knew hiding a secret from them would be disastrous, and yet she still made the conscious decision to do so.

Though the more I think about it, the more I realized that these poor decision making happens a lot in YA. Characters almost always would choose to hide a secret. Just once I’d like to read about a character who is one step ahead of the villains of the book. That would be such a good twist, wouldn’t it? But hey, that’s just me.

This, being the first, we have a lot yet to learn from the characters at play. I was under the impression that a love triangle was in the offing; I’m glad that it wasn’t the case. Teren and Enzo are equally interesting characters on their own right. I’m not quite convinced, however, that the ending will be left the way it is. Though, this might be just wishful thinking. I also want to see more of Raphaelle, the painfully beautiful man whose power is to seek out other candidates.

Regardless of my mediocre rating, I’m curious to see where this series would go. This book ended brilliantly, heartbreakingly painful. But. There’s hope. And I hope that [spoiler] they find that malfetto who can resurrect the dead. [/spoiler]. Over all, a promising start, but I wasn’t wow’ed by the second half.