Giveaway: The Young Elites

20821111Title: The Young Elites
Author: Marie Lu
Genre: Fantasy, young adult

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary:
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.

I was warned that this book was dark, and that I'd need a giant box of tissues and lots of ice cream to get through it.

I was told that getting into the head-space of an antihero would be intense and heartbreaking because you can see the darkness but you can't stop wanting her to turn towards the light.

I was told that this book was an amazing dark fantasy.

All of the above is true.

This book is definitely dark, and I felt cold and numb reading most of it. It also has some very warm and touching moments as well. There are multiple points of view, and you get to know a lot of very broken and complicated characters. Adelina is the main character, who has a lot of darkness in her heart after a traumatic childhood. When she is about to be executed, she is rescued by a mysterious band of other blood-fever survivors, each with special powers. I don't want to spoil anything, but all the characters, no matter how minor, had so much complexity and I couldn't even hate the antagonist(s) because they were broken people who believed they were doing the right thing.

There's something both terrible and wonderful with reading a story from an antihero's perspective. You see Adelina slipping, but you also empathize because you know what set her on that slippery slope. It's so easy to get caught up in her violent emotions and forget for an instant that she's going to give in to her darkness, but then you'll remember and it'll break your heart.

Raffaele was my favorite character. There is something just so charming about him and his gentleness in a world full of so much brutality and prejudice. He is Adelina's first real friend, and yet despite his kindness, he too is a broken soul. Raffaele broke my heart at the end of this book, and I need to know that things will be forgiven and everything will be okay even though I know that isn't likely.

A few (very very small) annoyances. One is just an aesthetic thing, which has nothing to do with the author. I guess I'm used to reading giant fantasy books that have been compressed into a reasonable number of pages with tiny font, because I felt like the font of this book was glaringly huge. It kind of screamed Young Adult to me, which was annoying because this book has a lot of crossover potential, and content-wise it could easily have been just plain fantasy instead of YA fantasy. I know a lot of people refuse to read YA books because of all the cliches (and a whole host of other issues) but THIS BOOK IS WORTH READING. So the branding thing bugged me a little. Another issue was that Marie Lu's writing style in Legend was very tight and clean, which fits the dystopian theme very well; at first I felt like this book had a similar style but it didn't quite fit the fantasy world. Either the writing style grew on me or it changed as the book progressed, because this didn't bother me at all by the end.

Thank you to my OTSP secret sister for sending this book to me! I really enjoyed this book and I want to continue to share the love, so Giveaway time (US only)! The giveaway goes until midnight (PST) Friday, November 14.

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  1. I'm glad to see that you enjoyed this book! I've been seeing lots of mixed reviews on it though I've really wanted to read it. I've never read a dark fantasy before, so this will be my first!

    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian

  2. I have yet to read any of Lu's book, just haven't gotten there yet. I think for Antihero books I have to say the Song of Ice and Fire series. Martin writes many different characters but I think the most complex is Jamie Lannister because at first you hate him because he's terrible but then his character becomes more complex that you start to forget why you hated him in the first place. Jamie is not a good guy, but he's also not the biggest villain.

  3. There's definitely been a lot of hype about this book.

  4. I think Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers.

  5. Xander @ ForeverBookishNovember 10, 2014 at 6:30 PM

    I am SO excited for this book! I am really intrigued by the synopsis. I haven't read dark fantasy, so I guess this one will be a first! :-)

  6. I actually didn't realize that this book was so dark. But you know how I feel about villains who aren't really villainous - you have totally convinced me to read this book, just for this alone!

    I'm not sure what my favorite dark fantasy has been - every time I think of something, I think, "Wait, does that really apply? Is it dark fantasy?" I don't know! :-)

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  7. I did really enjoy it! I love stories that feature characters that you can't quite call good or evil, and this book was full of those!

  8. I definitely agree about Jaime. I hated him for two books but once you get to see his POV in the next few books you see that he's not that bad (or at least, more morally ambiguous than you think at first).

  9. Grave Mercy is fantastic! Excellent choice :)

  10. I'm so excited to share this book with more people! This book (and almost all the dark fantasy I've read) is fantastic.

  11. Yes! I'm so glad! This book was darker than I was anticipating, but I really liked how much it crawled under my skin.
    Haha yeah there are some books where I know they're dark fantasy and others where it's kind of fuzzy.

  12. I have been dying to read this book! I love Marie Lu's writing, though I'm not sure I've ever read a dark fantasy before.

  13. I don't think I have read any dark fantasy books but I would love to read this book and thanks for the giveaway!! :)

  14. One of my favorite dark fantasy series is Song of Ice and Fire. I don't think I have a favorite anti-hero though, which is a shame! I'll have to start reading more dark fantasy to find one. This was a great review, thanks for sharing it

  15. My favorite dark fantasy is The First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie, which has quite a few anti-heroes in it!

  16. My friend bought this and I have been very jealous of it! I cannot wait to read it! Thank you SO, SO much for an opportunity to win this! I want it so bad!

  17. I didn't love Marie Lu's last series, but hearing about how dark this new one is, it's making me want to read. I love heroes that are sometimes hard to root for. I really love the assassins in the His Fair Assassin series. I also really love Scott Lynch's Gentleman Bastard series. Locke and Jean are criminals and con artists, and not really in a Robin Hood kind of way. Still, you cannot help but to love them.

  18. Mt favorite anti hero is Warner from the Shatter Me series! Loved it!


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