The Young Elites by Marie Lu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What makes a Villain? Is it nature, nurture, or both? Is it the depraved thoughts and pleasures one secretly feels, or the choices one ultimately makes? None of us is all evil, but what makes some of us more apt to embrace the darkness? Love, acceptance, self-esteem, these emotions have the power to sway the soul. In the end, it isn't the why but the what. What we do is far more powerful than why we do it. Not every lead character is a protagonist, no matter how much she wants to be. You could blame her past, the cruelty she endured, the scars that left her feeling unwhole- but it is choice which makes us who we are. In a world where a strange blood fever has left some people with unnatural markings and supernatural abilities- fear and anger have eradicated reason. Adelina Amouteru is called Malfetto- meaning "bad one" or "damaged one." She is shunned by her father and society as a whole. However, she may have just been accepted into a group of people just like her, where she can finally feel loved and valued. She may be able to work to become a Young Elite. That is, if she can make the right choices. If she can control her darkness. If she can rule her fear and fury.
While, so far, this series hasn't hooked me quite as well as the Legend series did, I do believe there is the promise of an engaging world in Lu's city of Kenettra and beyond. I look forward to seeing how Adelina's struggle plays out in the remaining books.