6 Reasons Why I Freaking Loved The Young Elites by Marie Lu

6 Reasons Why I Freaking Loved The Young Elites by Marie LuThe Young Elites by Marie Lu
Series: The Young Elites #2
Published by Putnam Juvenile on October 7, 2014
Genres: YA Fantasy
Also by this author: Legend, Prodigy, The Rose Society
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

1.  Adelina. THAT GIRL: Adelina is one of the most compelling characters I’ve come across in a long time. If you read the interview with Marie Lu you’ll know that Adelina was originally a side character and was a villain of sorts. When Marie switched her focus to Adelina, The Young Elites really became the origin story of a villain. She’s so intriguing because she does things that you are like WHAT WHAT WHAT NO but also there is whole level of sympathy you have for her. She’s had a rough past where people have been so cruel to her and you GET where that hardness is from. But then you see these moments of greatness and a softer side to her. She’s so compelling and my heart ached for her in all her brokenness but her strength was just so heartstoppingly so — scary almost!

2. The setting is to die for: I LOVED THE SETTING. It’s a fantasy world but you can tell that Marie’s inspirations were Renaissance Venice/Italy. It feels historic but it so wholly a fantasy world. I just couldn’t get enough of it because I could see it so beautifully.

3. The magic: So after this illness ravaged the land, some children had strange markings and such happening and they were labelled as malfettos and were looked at as an abomination. The other thing that some of these children had? These new found, strange powers. They are seen as dangerous and there is a group of them called The Young Elites that everyone is SO afraid of and blame for all these bad things happening which is why queen and king are trying to murder them all. As Adelina comes in contact with The Young Elites I LOVED learning what all their powers were and I loved seeing Adelina develop hers as she is a bit of a loose cannon because she has no idea how to control it and work it.

4. How dark this novel was: In Legend, even though the world was dark in ways, it just doesn’t even come close to the sort of darkness that this story touches. Part of it is, as I said before, Adelina is more of a villain and not as easy to root for as June and Day but there’s just underlying darkness in this world. Sinister characters. The things that these characters have to do to live. The things that they are happening in the leadership. How layered and not black and white the issues of morality are. It was just PERFECT.

5. How Marie was constantly able to surprise me: It takes a lot to surprise me. I’ll be honest. But Marie WENT THERE. Things happened that I never thought in a million years would and certain revelations had me frantically turning the pages. It never once went down the path of predictability for me and THAT my friends is a damn good reading experience that leaves you on the edge of your seat.

6. The exciting possibilities for book 2: HOLY CRAP. It was one of those experiences where I was just bouncing up and down with excitement for how everything is setting up for book 2….and then I realize I HAVE NO BOOK 2. I think book 2 is going to be so exciting with how everything ended and there’s promise of new characters to be excited about from lands we haven’t seen yet. This is going to be a damn good series! I can feel it in my bones.

a6
RATING-beyondloved
factors+ plot, characters, surprises, set up for book 2, writing
NADA

Re-readability: I would probably actually reread this one before book 2.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? I’ll probably wait until book 2 to see if this is a series to invest in but I have good feels about that.

a5fantasy lovers, people who love complex characters who aren’t morally easy to pin down, people who love strong female main characters, people looking for a new series to be addicted to, fans of Marie Lu, people who find villain-y type characters very compelling

a8The Young Elites was everything and MORE than I was hoping for this novel. It was a lightning quick, intense read for me because everyone was so compelling and complex, the plot lingered and surged forward at all the right moments and it absolutely surprised me. It’s dark, unpredictable  and I have a good feeling about where this series is going.

review-on-post-it

The Young Elites Marie Lu review

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does this series feel like something you’d be into?
* Did you sympathize with Adelina?

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

Q&A With Marie Lu + Giveaway Of The Young Elites ARC

OH MY GOD YOU GUYS. I’m so happy that my next fantasy after my Throne of Glass binge was The Young Elites!! SO GOOD. I’ll be reviewing it soon but make sure it is on your TBR because it is SOLID and I cannot WAIT for book 2.

I was VERY excited to be able to get in on a phone interview with Marie Lu because I loved the Legend series and I HAD to listen to her talk more about The Young Elites after reading and loving it!!

My question to Marie was this:

 

So, in the Legend series, you gave us this really compelling dystopian United States, which was both familiar and unfamiliar to us.  And in Young Elites, you give us a really kickass and amazing fantasy world.  I was just curious, now that you’ve done both, what was one of the most difficult parts of writing your own world and the rules to that world?

“It was a completely different experience from writing Legend.  It’s hard making up all of your own thinking.  You kind of have to base some of it off of real life, so I don’t think anything can be completely my own.  For The Young Elites, I did a lot of reading about Renaissance Italy and Renaissance Venice and what life was like back then, and what people ate and how they dressed. And a lot of those things went into the story.  I’d feel weird saying that it’s my world, because it’s still very much based on reality.  And I took a lot from what already existed.

But, it was definitely a different experience because Legend was sort of looking forward and this is kind of looking back in time.  And it was interesting playing with that, because oddly enough they kind of end up at the same place where it’s still a dystopia in some ways.  But, it happened in the past and– ultimately thinking about it, I was really–I was like, wow, it’s interesting that no matter if you go forward or backwards, we’re still going to have these similar issues.  And that was fun to explore.

But, it was definitely a challenge trying to switch my writing style, because now I kept trying to avoid using a lot of modernisms that kept creeping their way into the story.  And the first time that I turned in my manuscript, my editor was like, “I feel we could tone down on the modern tone of your stuff.  It’s kind of futuristic for an old-timey sort of story.”  So, that was an adjustment as well.”

She was also really kind, because we only got to ask her one question, let us email any further questions we had hoped would be covered but weren’t. So I had to ask her about her art and Pinterest boards!

On how her art and her (amazing) Pinterest board for The Young Elites aids in her planning of the book:

“I’m so thrilled you like the Pin board! Haha, it’s totally my procrastination enabler…..but it also really does help as I draft. I like to Pin as I go, and sometimes I’ll even see something on Pinterest that will inspire something in the book. Teren’s hairstyle, for example, was inspired by this:  

The Young Elites inspirationPhoto credit here

As for my art–yes, I find that before I ever start a first draft, I must draw my characters first in order to get a firm handle on who they are. All of my sketches in my Pin board were done very early on in the TYE writing process. I also like to draw whenever I get writer’s block or find myself mentally exhausted. It’s my way of taking some time away from the writing, but still getting to do something creative that’s set within the same fictional world.”

 

There were some other great questions asked and some really interesting things discussed! But my FAVORITE thing was about one of my favorite aspects of this book — which is how Adelina is pretty much an anti-hero. June and Day, from her Legend series, are good people and Adelina is definitely darker and not as easy to like but you STILL root for her in a lot of ways even when you are like OMG BAD ADELINA. So I was SO happy someone asked about this!

On The Young Elites being an origin story for a villain and the writing of an anti-hero of sorts:

“I thought it was the idea of writing from the antagonist’s point of view after I was talking to my agent about this book.  When I first started writing The Young Elites I wanted to write a fantasy book, but at the time it was–it actually starred Raffaele instead of Adelina, and Raffaele was a totally different character too.  He was very, very bland, just sort of like your every-boy, and he was going to university and he thought he was a Young Elite. It just–it was a very, very sort of bland story.  And I couldn’t quite put my finger on what was wrong with it, but I knew I wanted to write something about these types of people.  So, I gave the first hundred pages to my agent, and she was like, “Well, who is this side character over here?  She’s kind of interesting.”

And Adelina was a side character who is total evil.  And after my agent said that, that was when I was like, “Hmm, I never thought about writing it from her point of view, but that might be an interesting exercise.”

And it was totally different from Legend, because Day and June, they live in a really dark world, but they’re inherently good people at heart.  They have good families who treated them right, and I feel like that really made them who they are as people when they grew up.

And Adelina is totally different.  Her family is twisted and terrible, and that rubbed off on her a lot.  And it was kind of disturbing to have to get into that headspace, because I didn’t experience any of that.  And to be able to try to figure out a way to make this person do horrible things but also not make her totally unlikeable so that you’re like, “God, I just want this character to die already” was a bit of a challenge too.

So, I don’t know.  It was very, very odd.  And I feel like I got depressed more when I was writing this book, which is kind of–it’s kind of sad to say.  But, having to put yourself into that space was–I mean, it’s not a great place to be in.  So, afterwards I always have to go, like, hug my dog or, you know, go eat and drink something so I don’t feel quite so awful about writing stuff that’s, like, yay, killing people.  But, yeah.  Yeah, it was very, very odd.”

 

Because I loved The Young Elites SO much I’m going to give away my ARC of it because I plan on buying this puppy when it comes out!! (I have a feeling you all are going to want to as well!!). It’s going to be one of those series I need to have complete & on my shelf. I just know it.

Rule Kinds of Things:

* US ONLY.
* Ends 9/22 11:59 EST.
* No purchase necessary.
* You must be 13 years or older to enter (for legal-y kind of reasons). Grab a parent or someone older to enter for you!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

About The Book:

The Young Elites Marie Lu

 

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 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.

 

About The Author:

Marie Lu

Marie Lu is the author of the New York Times bestselling Legend series. She spends her spare time reading, drawing, playing Assassin’s Creed, and getting stuck in traffic. She lives in Los Angeles, California, with one boyfriend, one Chihuahua mix, and two Pembroke Welsh corgis.

Learn more at her Official Website.  Check out The Young Elites website!

Prodigy by Marie Lu | Book Review

Prodigy by Marie Lu | Book ReviewProdigy by Marie Lu
Published by Putnam Juvenile on January 2013
Genres: YA Dystopian
Also by this author: Legend, The Young Elites, The Rose Society
Format: ARC
Source: Borrowed
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads
three-half-stars

 

 

 

 

June and Day have just fled Los Angeles and are still injured and on the run with no plan except finding the Patriots to see if they will help them. Their escape has made June a HUGE traitor and she’s now wanted all over the Republic and the people believe Day is dead. They make it to the Patriots camp and find themselves involved in a HUGE plot to overthrow the Republic.

We decided to read Prodigy by Marie Lu for book club since we all had read Legend and enjoyed it and NONE of us had gotten to Prodigy. Overall, as a second book in the series, this one was really great! It was the same action-packed, cinematic story that made me fall in love with Legend but with even more world-building and some great twists. This time around though I wasn’t as in love with the characters but we’ll get to that in a bit. Overall it was one of those reads that I couldn’t read fast enough and then I got to the end and feel like I got punched in the face. MAJOR CRAZY DEVELOPMENT AT THE END.

As fun as the cat and mouse plot was with Legend, I really actually think I enjoyed the plot of this novel even MORE. It was intense, not just with action that makes your heart race, but the world became more complete. We get to see more of what is going on in other parts of the former US including the Colonies which really was fascinating and crazy (and I hope we see much more with in Champion). The way the plot became more about the political side of things made it extremely interesting as we learn further information about the people in power and what is going on. June and Day are being used to pull off some big moves with the Patriots and it begins to be hard to know who to trust — for June and Day but also for us as a reader. We see both sides, as June and Day become separated for a little bit as part of the plan, and as the reader we know things the other character doesn’t and you sit there biting your nails as the stakes become higher and higher and you don’t know whose judgment is right — June or Day’s!

One of the huge threads obviously is the relationship between June and Day. I like that there is actual THOUGHT about how plausible their relationship could be considering June was partly to blame for what Day has lost and then the obvious very different upbringing. The tension between them was so palpable and I loved that Marie Lu made it feel real and their concerns were not at all silly. HOWEVER, I did not enjoy this love triangle-ish thing. It felt too over the top for me with both of them having confusing feelings for someone else. I get that both people were a contrast of what they’d have with each other but it was a bit too melodramatic for my taste considering all the crazy things that were going on in the story. AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME TO THINK ABOUT MORE THAN ONE ROMANCE WHEN YOU COULD DIE. I had a few eyeroll moments.

Overall, Prodigy by Marie Lu was a darn good sequel that just added more to this world and understanding of ALL the forces at work here in these shambles of the US. I loved where it went plot-wise — it was incredibly exciting, brought some interesting new characters and gave us some HUGE revelations to really propel the story forward and give us a clearer picture than we had in Legend of the inner workings of the government/state of life outside of the Republic. The ending is BRUTAL and completely sucker punched me and I’m DYING to get my hands on Champion.

Prodigy by Marie Lu book review

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read this series? Heard of it? How did you think Prodigy stacked up to Legend if you’ve read it? What did you think about the love triangle (square? Rectangle?)? DID YOU DIE FROM THE ENDING?

three-half-stars

Legend by Marie Lu

What’s It About: Legend takes place in a future United States which is now called the Republic which is in a perpetual warring civil war with other parts of the nation and plagues run rampant. The story is told through the alternating perspectives of June & Day — two teens who live incredibly different lives. June lives the military life in which she is on the fast track to the Republic’s army due to her perfect scores and her brother’s high rank. Day, coming from the poor sector, is one of the most wanted criminals in the Republic and lives a life in a constant state of running from the Republic and playing tricks on them. When a horrible crime is committed that shakes June’s world, she gets put on point to track down Day who is presumed to be responsible. But what happens when motives may not be what they seem and enemies unknowingly become allies?

Legend by Marie Lu is a smartly written cat and mouse game that is adventure filled and full of surprises as the reader awaits the moment when both Day and June will figure out the true identity of each other. The tension of the relationship leaves you often not being able to breathe because you keep thinking, “IS THIS THE MOMENT? Who’s going to find out first??” It’s beyond gripping. I really enjoyed the characters of Day and June – what’s not to like about a misunderstood rebel who really has a heart of gold or a smartass, daring girl who sleuths around with the big boys to hunt down criminals…like Nancy Drew but with kickass weapons and a defiant attitude? Ok, really, love you Nance but watch your back because June could have the criminal tied up and a full confession before you even find a clue.

I think the biggest problem I had with the book was that sometimes June and Day reminded me TOO much of each other and, despite the alternating perspectives, I would find that their personalities were blending together for me. But mostly I loved them even if they totally don’t seem like they are 15 year olds. But then again, who knows how much you’d have to grow up in a world like THAT. My other gripe would be that I felt like we didn’t get to know much about WHY the world is the way it is..which I know we’ll probably learn more about in the second book but I wanted a LITTLE bit more than we were given.

Final Thought: Legend by Marie Lu is a fabulous addition to the YA dystopian canon and would highly recommend those who have just gotten into The Hunger Games. It’s full of adventure and a few surprises and twists that will leave you reeling not to mention some fabulous romantical tension, shocking betrayal, a messed up government & a future world that makes you thank your lucky stars that you don’t really live in it. It’s a great book for both teen girls and teen boys and I’d highly recommend it to reluctant male teens. I was reading it at the same time as my 13 year old nephew and he devoured it and just couldn’t stop talking about how good it was!

Learn more on Goodreads or Amazon
four-stars
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