The Young Elites
The last of my Barnes & Noble Get Pop-Cultured free book excerpts is fantasy novel by Marie Lu called The Young Elites. A fan of the fantasy genre and loving the book cover, this was one of the first book excerpts I picked up when I arrived at the Get Pop-Cultured table. This reading experience was a lesson in not judging a book by its cover.
The Young Elites centers around Adelina Amouteru, a teenager whose survival of a horrible illness known as blood fever has left her scarred in more ways than one. Adelina became ill at a very young age along with her sister and mother. Her sister appears unscarred, but her mother died and Adelina's black hair became streaked with white. She lost an eye to the disease. But more importantly, her merchant father, who never contracted the virus, lost everything after his child became one of the "marked," and he makes certain she remembers that day in and day out.
Adelina has been making preparations to leave for quite some time, but the moment of truth finally comes to fruition when she overhears her father's plans to sell her off as a mistress to a wealthy married man. Unfortunately, as she attempts her escape, she is caught by her father. His violent temper elicits a reaction by Adelina featuring powers she never knew she possessed.
Imprisoned for killing her father, Adelina is slated for execution. Her only hope of survival is the Dagger Society, a secret sect of Young Elites who seek out others like them before they can be put to death. You see, the people are afraid of the Young Elites, survivors of the blood fever who find the disease has left them with mysterious powers. But the Dagger Society may find that they are in over their head - Adelina has powers they have never seen before and a vengeful heart they may not be able to control.
So, The Young Elites sounds good, right? And yet, as I was reading this book excerpt, I found that I had read this before. The plot is not exactly new, but that could be forgiven if I was made to care about the main character. This, in a nutshell, is the problem. I didn't care about Adelina...not one bit. The author didn't really make me want to care about her much.
Once you can't connect with the main character of the story and the actual plot is something that you have read in other novels or seen in movies before, you begin to lose interest. That's exactly what happened to me while reading this excerpt - I lost interest before I even got ten pages in. I tried to stick it out, but never even made it to page thirty before giving up.
The Young Elites may appeal to those who are fans of books like Divergent, The Giver, etc. simply because of the plot that, although set in different locales and time periods, all feel similar in a number of aspects. I was hoping for something new with The Young Elites, but, apart from being set in the 1300s, the novel provided nothing new on the fantasy front and I was thoroughly bored with the read. The cover is cool, but I should have listened to the old adage about judging a book by its cover.