Content Warnings: Child abuse, self-harm, murder, discrimination, emotional abuse, violence, blood/gore, hate crimes, suicidal ideations, police brutality, and mention of: sex work, human trafficking, sexual harassment, pedophilia, loss of loved ones, and sex work.
I decided to use THE YOUNG ELITES as my Mage prompt 2 book for the #ReadYourOwnAdventure Tiktok readathon. Since it’s been almost a year since I’ve read book one, and I finally have copies of books two and three, and it’s AAPI Heritage Month, I figured it was the perfect time for a re-read!
There’s not much I want to add to my original review other than the fact I completely spaced on the few chapters we get that are from Raffaele’s POV. Since most of the book we get Adelina, Teren, and Enzo’s POV I completely forgot to comment on the few brief chapters we get through Raffaele’s POV.
Another thing that I didn’t really think about, during my first read-through, was how much Adelina’s POV seems to view sex work in a negative light. Even when she’s conversing with Raffaele he makes a comment about how no one would choose the life of a concubine…which just doesn’t sit right with me. I understand this is a Young Adult book but I feel like it could at least have Raffaele say something along the lines of reality that some people do enjoy the work while others might just be biding their time? I don’t know, just felt weird that no one seemed to have a positive thing to say about it.
If you’re wondering about the #ReadYourOwnAdventure Tiktok readathon here are a few videos about it…
I read this book as a part of “The Backlist Book Club” which was created by ChronicallyBookish. From my time on Booktok I’ve heard countless praise for Marie Lu but had yet to pick up any of her books. So when I found out the May selection for “The Backlist Book Club” was one of hers I was excited to jump in!
Adelina, Teren, and Enzo are all emotionally complicated individuals who have all suffered and endured many hardships due to the fever that hit their nation ten years ago. Each has unresolved trauma connected to the fever and each has been shaped by that trauma. For the most part, we see the story through the eyes of Adelina with a few small chapters switching us to Teren or Enzo’s perspectives.
I enjoyed how the Inquisition Axis really felt like the church during the witch hunts. The Inquisition Axis, led by Teren, is hellbent on finding and destroying any and all malfettos, as they feel their powers come from hell and are abominations that should be destroyed. Teren is portrayed as a zealot…fierce in his belief that malfettos are not meant to be and should all be sent to the Underworld.
Enzo seems to be the biggest mystery, out of the three, as we don’t really know much of his inner feelings or emotions. Enzo will do whatever it takes to protect The Young Elite and ensure the proper people are put in positions of power to ensure the slaughtering of malfettos ends.
Adelina, who we get to know the most, is so unsure of her place in the world. When the fever hit her house, ten years ago, it killed her mother and physically altered her. After surviving the fever she was left without an eye and her normally dark hair now shifts between different shades of silver. She was also left to be raised, along with her younger sister, by a father that’s turned cruel to her.
It’s interesting when you realize how cruel treatment by others can affect and color the way you see the world around you. As we get to know more about Adelina, and as she starts to learn more about her powers, she starts to see how her father’s cruelty has colored her memories of the past.
In this first book, we start to see Adelina begin to evolve and see the world differently…we see her starting to not only come into her powers but also come into herself. She is definitely not done with her metamorphosis but I’m excited to see how much she changes and evolves in the other two books.
I really enjoyed this story, it had me invested from the start and I look forward to picking up the other two books to continue the journey!