Release Date - October 7, 2014
Publisher Website - Penguin
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 355 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**borrowed from a friend for review**
Here is the Goodreads synopsis
I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.Morally grey characters have always fascinated me. They are complex, often blurring the lines in ways that spark sympathy and understanding even as their choices repulse the reader. Those characters who hover on the precipice that separates hero from villain are often my favourite. There is a fine line between the two, and Marie Lu examines that potential for darkness in this rich fantasy novel.
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.
Everything from the characters, to the world, to the writing itself, came together to create a chillingly dark look at power and the ability it has seduce. It plays with the idea of what horrible things could happen if those with the blackest of hearts gave into their darker urges, and if they had inexplicable powers in which to cause destruction.
Adelina struggles with the vengefulness that eats away at her. The powers she possesses make it all too easy to enact retribution on those who harm her. The dark is alluring, welcome even, and it would be easy to be lured into it's charms. The other characters have their own struggles. Each of these characters has choices to make and the consequences of those choices will shape them. The question for some is one of doing the wrong thing for what they feel is the right reasons, but as with any situation the right and wrong side depend on who you ask. Each of these characters have faced abuse, discrimination and this ultimately a study in how people let this mould them.
Marie Lu is masterful at creating serious sexual tension. The romance element of the plot is used to compliment the story and adds to the tension already felt throughout the pages. The romance is not safe from the darkness that seeps into every single page of this story. Motivations are hidden, and personal agendas take precedent so what is love and what is perhaps manipulation is not always clear. It's something that, as a reader, I was all too aware of. The instinct to distrust is built into plenty of these characters, and that has repercussions that are still to be felt.
There are some bold choices made during the course of this novel. Choices that will sharply impact the rest of the series. It's left me intrigued, and more than a little excited to continue this journey. Marie Lu is ruthless, and merciless and that makes for an unpredictable, and dangerous story.
Marie Lu has created a addictive, compelling read that blurs the lines between hero and villain. A fast paced, stunning start to what is sure to be a new favourite series for me. It's a delicious set up for what is to come, and the fallout is sure to be just as explosive as the first chapter of the story of the 'Young Elites'.