SERIES REVIEW: The Young Elites by Marie Lu (spoiler free!)


Hey guys! It’s Trina and this is my non-spoiler full series review of The Young Elites trilogy by Marie Lu. The first book is The Young Elites, the second book is The Rose Society, and the last book is The Midnight Star. I rated this series really highly. I really enjoyed it so today I just want to let you guys know what this one is about and some of my favorite things about it in hopes that maybe that will let you know if you want to read this one or not if you like those things, and if you don’t like those things maybe you don’t want to read it, but hopefully this will help you know if this is a series that you want to start, or want to continue, or maybe just want to skip altogether. The Young Elites is a YA fantasy and I once heard it described as X-men set in Renaissance Italy and I feel like that is a great description for it. I definitely don’t disagree. The characters in the story do have powers that are pretty reminiscent of the X-men and Renaissance Italy was Marie Lu’s inspiration for this world. To give you more detail about it, this is a high fantasy series, so it’s set in a world unlike our own. There are maps in the front of each of these three books and it is about a world where an illness has swept through the land. The people that were unaffected by it, they are just normal people, they are the ones that are in power, and then the people who were affected by the illness – a lot of them died but the ones that survived it were left with these scars and these markings, and our main character is one of the people who was afflicted by this illness and she has scarring up the side of her face and onto her head, so it actually caused her to lose her eye and it turned her once black hair to silver white. The people that have these markings are very easily recognizable and so because of that people think they’re dirty and they really face a lot of oppression – they aren’t fed enough, they aren’t paid enough. Some of the people who were marked by the illness were also granted the ability to change the elements around them. Not everyone that was marked bythe illness has them but a select few do and it becomes apparent pretty early on that Adelina actually has some of these powers. She has the ability to cast illusions, so she can make anybody see whatever she wants them to see. When her powers manifest, this like secret society group finds her and kind of takes her in under their wing. This particular group is looking to restore justice to the kingdom and they take Adelina in in hopes of training her and having her on their side. She doesn’t necessarily want to use her powers for good. A lot of people have called this trilogy a villain origin story and that is another pretty good description of it. Adelina struggles with her inner darkness and the thing that makes her such a compelling character is she knows what she’s doing is wrong and she does kind of struggle with it. Sometimes she can do the right thing. You know that she is capable of doing good as well, and I think that’s something that’s great about all of the characters in this story. Even the heroes are very often deceptive even towards each other. They have their own personal agenda. And the villains in this story sometimes are motivated by love. I really just enjoyed how sometimes you didn’t know who you wanted to root for. Were you rooting for the good guys or the bad guys? Did you want Adelina to slay everybody or did you want her to be taken down? The characters are very complex in terms of just like their internal morality, theor integrity. They felt very real. I think that Marie Lu writes wonderful characters and this group of characters that we follow are very diverse as well. They are diverse in race and sexuality. I also think that the idea of this illness having marked some people who are discriminated against was a really great way to examine oppression and privilege of society and you wonder what’s going to happen. Like, if the tables are flipped are the people who were once oppressed gonna rise up and do the same thing back to their oppressors or are they going to stop that cycle? I really enjoyed the plot of this trilogy. I thought that the writing moved it along really well. I was gripped from almost the beginning. There are at times moments where I feel like the pacing of these books were a little bit slow because you spend a lot of time preparing to do something and then it would happen all of a sudden, and then you’d go back to preparing for the next thing and that would happen all of a sudden, but I was always impressed with how things were unfolding. Unfortunately the series doesn’t have as much hype as it deserves. This is a really strong and complex world, strong and complex characters. I really enjoy the themes that it explores and how each of us can make the decision to do the right thing or do the wrong thing and unfortunately this one doesn’t get as much hype and I think maybe that’s because some people think the characters are unlikable, or maybe because this one doesn’t rely on a ton of romance – there is some romance in here but it’s not very heavy – and it also doesn’t rely on twist after twist after twist. The things that came along that surprised me were things that I felt were very natural and they weren’t that surprising because I felt like I knew that was going to happen but I just can’t believe how Lu wrote this, you know? So I was always impressed by the series but I don’t think it relies on gimmicks as much as other series do and the finale was, it just, it left everything so satisfied for me. I did notice last year that most of the fantasy series I finished, the last book in the series would leave me very underwhelmed, and when I finished this series I was just kind of sitting there like, ‘that was fulfilling!’ Like that is what I want when I have a series ending. I think that she wraps everything up very well. She takes risks. All three of the books in the series kill characters off – I’m not going to tell you who – but there’s constantly that risk of these characters may not survive. And at the end and there are a lot of risks, it doesn’t take the easy way out. Everything that happened, you understand why it happened, you understand why the characters were acting that way and exactly what the end result of their actions were going to be, and even though sometimes the series is dark I do still feel like it leaves you with hope. So I was very fulfilled with the ending to the series. I definitely felt like it was one worth finishing, worth reading all three books of. I was very impressed with book 1, it took me a long time to get around to reading book 2 – it took me like 2 or 3 years between the first two books to even continue with the series – but when I picked up book 2 I was just really glad I got back into it. So overall this is a series that I really enjoyed and I would personally recommend it, especially if you like YA fantasy or you like that combination of the X-men set in renaissance Italy. I do think that is a pretty apt description. I thought the characters are complex, the world is complex, the story was unique, the cast was diverse, the plot was interesting and gripping, I was very invested in it. So yeah, I liked it and I would recommend it. If you guys have read this one and you didn’t like it as much please let me know why down below, because I would like to hear a different perspective on it, or if you read it and you loved it let me know that, we can gush about it together. Or if you’re just thinking about reading it hopefully you’ll let me know if this video was helpful at all. I hope I gave you guys a good overview of the series even though it was a little bit less structured than normal. Thank you guys so much for watching and I will see you in the comments. Bye! [music only]

26 thoughts on “SERIES REVIEW: The Young Elites by Marie Lu (spoiler free!)

  1. I really enjoyed this series. I actually liked it more than Marie lu's legend series. Totally deserves more hype!

  2. I've been stalking my subscription feed all morning waiting for this haha. I definitely need to give this series another chance. I read it very soon after I read Legend, and I just think that was a mistake because they are so vastly different I was comparing the series to each other too much. Based on how highly you rated this series, I think I'm going to enjoy it and I'm excited to pick it up again. Great review as always Trina :):)

  3. Dang. Usually you and I agree, but I was not impressed by these books. I found the first one to be okay, nothing special, but after struggling through the second I couldn't continue. However, I did write a short story of the only character that intrigued me and I felt needed more, if you feel so inclined:
    http://archiveofourown.org/works/6665602

  4. If you are interested in some negative thoughts on TYA here's my video review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HM-FY4Zogu4
    And the second book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KoCwIqhnrk0

  5. This series sounds fascinating! I will have to pick the first book up this year. I love books and series that are willing to take risks because it just grounds the story and makes it feel more real to me. Also, X-Men! I am always going to be more intrigued when things are compared to X-Men. Your series reviews are my favorite ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Probably a series I'll keep raving about for a while. Very excited for Marie Lu's new series. The premise sounds super exciting!

  7. I loved the Legend trilogy by Marie Lu have been meaning to pick up the Young Elites, was wondering if you've read Legend and which trilogy you preferred?

  8. I have been considering checking this series out for so long. I haven't read her 'Legend' series yet, but maybe I should go for this series first. I've read a short story by her, which I enjoyed, so I think I might like her writing style.

  9. I'm pretty interested in this series especially after seeing you rated it so highly. I love books that having interesting, great, complex characters so I think I might like this one. Also a satisfying conclusion is SUCH a pro for me. It's often times hard to find. Thanks, as always, for such a thorough review ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Thank God I saw this because I bought the Midnight Star and I thought it was the second book ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

  11. I don't understand why this doesn't get hyped as well. Seriously this is my new favorite trilogy, as it doesn't have that much dead air and the fact that the pairing/relationships did not overwhelmed the plot. Also, for me this trilogy has no villains or heroes, as all of the characters are grey. I was actually afraid on how Lu will wrapped up the story. But she's certainly a queen of trilogy endings, for it ended greatly. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  12. Just finish yesterday. I had a hard time getting into the stories in the first book but once I get into it, it is understandable. The second book took me 2 days and the last took 1. Overall, it is quite a good series. Like you understand their thoughts and the cause of the characters' action. Even though it is a dark story but I like it that way. It is different from other fantasy, young adult stories. There's a lot of other stories with stereotypical main character who is beautiful, powerful and proud. But in this story, the main character has flaws, and sometimes falls. It is more easy to understand her and more realistic. Marie Lu round the story very well. There's no question left unanswered. Although the ending is sad but it is satisfying and I like it.

  13. Any Ranger's Apprentice= Any Rick Riordan= Any Brandon Mull= Harry Potte= Ready Player One> The Young Elites> Artemis Fowl> Legends> Other stuff.

    I can't pick one of those as my favorite. That is. Impossible.

  14. #WhydidhalfthepeopleIactuallylikeddiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiie

    Spoilers for The Young Elites

    WHY ENZO WHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHY

  15. i already buying these series and i will start as soon as i finished the red queen series. and i hope i will enjoy it as much as you do! โ™ฅ

  16. Marie Lu is a FANTASTIC author. I feel like each book series she writes gets better and better. Legend was meh but The Young Elites was one of my favorites and then Warcross (not the second one though) was really good too!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *