power and darkness | the young elites by marie lu

by - 4:11 PM

20821111I 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.

high stakes excitement
Oh man, I've been anticipating this book for so long y'all have no idea. To finally be able to read and get sucked into this world - it was quite an exciting experience. From the very first page, Marie Lu introduces a high stakes situation and continues to amp up the anticipation as we follow Adelina's journey to harnessing her dark powers and finding her place in society. The writing introduces the rich and colorful world of Estenzia as well as the underlying sense of anticipation.

discrimination based on fear
Adelina is part of a group of people known as the malfettos - those infected with the blood fever who recovered at the price of some physical scarring. Some of the malfettos have developed powers which make them a "young elite" while others haven't. The bottom line, however, is that all are discriminated in society and considered back luck. Throughout the novel, we see how fear becomes such a powerful tool for the Inquisitors to manipulate the people to feed this discrimination.  This portrayal hit several spots for me especially in our society nowadays with how easily the common people can be blinded by fiery words and a fear of what they don't know.

simplicity of relationships
We have some beautifully depicted non-romantic relationships that I absolutely fell in love with. My favorite has to be Rafaelle and Adelina even though they have a falling out of sorts at the end. With their relationship portrayal in particular, we see a friendship built upon no expectations but simple admiration for the other. While Rafaelle has his suspicions about Adelina's dark powers, he does not dismiss her for evil but attempts to nurture her goodness.

And of course there is Violetta - Adelina's younger sister - whose character shows the lengths she will go to in order to protect her family. What's interesting with her character is that you don't get the full picture of her worth until the end when she's all Adelina has left. She is as much a survivor as her sister and that is shown through her love and determination to stay by her sister's side when everyone else left.

so much badass-ness
I knew going into this book came with a very morally ambiguous main character. While I haven't been completely blown away by Adelina as a protagonist, I appreciate her very real and tangible internal struggles. For someone who has gone through so much criticism and abuse for her abilities (and lack of) she proves her strength lies in more than calling up shadows and illusions. This first book gives a taste of her potential and now that she's on a darker path, there is so much to look forward to how she will cultivate her powers to dominate the world.

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