It’s been a long time since I have felt so engrossed in a story as I did with my recent reading of The Young Elites. I went into the story expecting a slow beginning, a very dark tone, and unlikable main character, but not all those things turned out to be entirely true.
Is it dark? Yes, very. But not unnecessarily so. I actually found the MC sympathetic, despite her dark nature and her flaws. And in terms of story, I was engaged right at the beginning, and I did not feel the story was slow or lagging at any point.
The best way I know to describe The Young Elites would be to imagine X-Men set in a fantasy world. There is a group of malfettos, as they are called, those who survived the blood fever, who have distinctive physical marks as well as otherworldly powers.
The story focuses on Adelina, who accidentally discovers her power in the heat of a moment, with deadly consequences. Just as she is about to be executed, she is rescued and brought into The Daggers (one of the subgroups of The Young Elites, another name for the malfettos), a group fighting for their right to life.
While with the Daggers, Adelina befriends Ralfaelle, a consort at Court Fortuna, where the Daggers hide. He starts training her on how to hone her powers, but later she ends up training more with Enzo, the leader of the group. I feel like I can’t say much more about either of these characters without spoiling what happens, but I did like both characters for the most part, though there were some things with both, particularly Ralfaelle, that kept me from really loving them. I also want to learn more about another of the Daggers, Gemma, who I found interesting. The epilogue introduces us to a new character who I imagine will be the MC of the sequel, The Rose Society, and I am definitely interested in seeing her role in this story and in this world.
After I finished the book I could not think of a real, single complaint that I had for this book. I felt that when I wrote my review, I would enthusiastically proclaim, “What did I love about this book?!” And then respond with…
But as I have allowed time to pass, the book hasn’t stayed strong in my mind. When I did think of it, I worried about how I would review it or what I would say about it in my book club meeting. “I loved this book… except now I barely care about it anymore!” I wanted it to be a true and shining 5 star-star rating to end my 2014 reading year with a bang, but the amount of indifference I developed in a short period of time, and with the unfortunate (for The Young Elites, not for me personally) happenstance of me currently reading Mistborn, which is similar in a couple of regards but much better, I feel less inclined to give it that initial, excitable rating I had in mind when I clicked “completed” on Goodreads.
But if that’s my biggest complaint (which it is), that’s still pretty good. So it still deserves a 4.5 in my book. I am still interested in this world, looking forward to the sequel, and hoping that Adelina will find some hope.
See also: Nikki’s review of The Young Elites
If you’ve read The Young Elites, what are your thoughts?