Author: Marie Lu
Details: First book in a new YA fantasy series
Publishing Information: Released October 7, 2014 by Penguin Young Readers Group
First Sentence: I’m going to die tomorrow morning.
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(taken from Goodreads)
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 the 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 girls, 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 theme 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. The secret set 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. However, 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 abilites that don’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who cross her.
“THE ANGER FILLS ME, SEEPING ITS BLACKNESS INTO MY CHEST UNTIL I CAN FEEL IT SPILLING OUT OF EVERY FIBER OF MY BODY, EVERY ENERGY STRING PULLED SO TIGHT, THEY MIGHT BREAK. MY STRENGTH BEGINS TO BUILD.”
Cover Review: I really like this cover! I know some people didn’t like it very much because it looks like it would just be an ARC cover (potentially exciting text with a boring background) but I actually disagree and think that the cover reflects the darkness of the story very well. Plus, it feels so cool!
I had no idea what to expect going into this book. I usually won’t pick up a fantasy book without a lot of persuasion and recommendations, just because they take me so long to read and it’s not my favorite genre in the world. However, this book got so much hype when it was first released and the sequel is coming out soon so I thought I would give it a shot.
Marie Lu is the author of the Legend trilogy if you weren’t already aware. I read the first book and most of the second book in that series and I really enjoyed them. I didn’t quite enjoy this book as much.
Like in Legend, the story is told from multiple perspectives. While I don’t think that it really took away from the story, I don’t think it added anything either. I would estimate that 75% of the story is told from Adelina’s perspective, anyway. The other characters would have a couple of pages tops of narrative, while Adelina would have large chapters at a time. It also seemed really weird to me that Adelina’s chapters were told in first person narrative while all of the other ones were told from third.
This story is also told in the present tense (says instead of said, etc.) which I’m not a very big fan of. It’s obviously a personal preference, but for me that falls under a “con”.
However, I loved Adelina as a main character. She was so dark and broken, and you were never quite she what her anger was causing her to imagine and what was really happening. If you’re a fan of unreliable narrators, you might want to look into picking this one up.
I didn’t like the romance in this book at all. I never really felt connected to the characters enough to even consider whether or not they had a connection, and all of the “romantic” scenes felt pretty awkward. It seemed as if neither of the characters were in love, and rather just wanted to be loved.
On the bright side (and surprisingly), I didn’t find this book slow-paced at all. Though it is the first in a series, there wasn’t a ton of world-building, which could be really frustrating for some people but didn’t make too big of a difference for me. You’re thrown into the situation and the world immediately, which keeps the story moving but also doesn’t give you time to get attached to the storyline. I’d be reading these intense scenes with characters that I’d just met and be thinking, Wait, do I even care?
I did, however, completely love the overall premise. You know that when you’re dealing with teenagers that have weird abilities and even weirder personalities there’s going to be a fun adventure attached. The writing style was nothing special, though. There were some really nice descriptions included throughout but I wasn’t blown away by any means, which kind of made the story less enjoyable. The worst part for me was the dialogue, which seemed really, really bland. It almost felt as if I was watching an amazing movie, but it was being put on by really bad actors.
This was a really fast and fun story. It definitely had its issues, but I do think I will continue on with the series as the end of the book sets up what will hopefully be a really exciting sequel. If you’re a fan of Marie Lu’s other writing or if you’re looking for an easy-to-read YA fantasy, I would recommend this book.
Thanks for reading! 🙂