Book Review || The Young Elites

Hello friends! How is your 2016 going so far? Mine has been insanely busy, which is why I haven’t been able to post as much as I would have liked to. I’ve finally been able to snatch some time to sit down and blog a bit, and hopefully I’ll be able to get some more posts up this month.

It seems that I haven’t reviewed any books in ages, so here I am with one of my absolute favourite recent reads!

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Author: Marie Lu

Publishing Company: The Penguin Group

Release Year: 2014

Genre(s): YA, Fantasy

Series: The Young Elites Series (Book One)

My Synopsis

Adelina Amouteru is a malfetto. As a child, she was ill with the blood fever that ravaged the nation of Kenettra. She was left, like all others who survived the deadly disease, with strange, otherworldly markings–shining silver hair, pale lashes, and a long scar where one of her eyes used to be. After Adelina runs away one night, away from her cruel father who never hesitates to remind her that she is an abomination and meek, naïve sister, life twists upon its head; she is imprisoned by the Inquisitors with her father’s blood on her hands, about to be executed. And then, again, the inexplicable happens. She is rescued by an organisation of malfettos called the Daggers—but they’re no ordinary malfettos. They have incredible powers that people say are either a blessing or a curse, and Adelina discovers her own too.  Enzo, who heads the Daggers, is the estranged crown prince of Kenettra, and he and the other Young Elites are determined to take back the throne from his corrupt sister. As she trains to control her power and direct it to the cause, she is approached by the head Inquisitor to join their cause. The only problem is that Adelina is caught between the Daggers and the Inquisition, which works against the malfettos. Will Adelina be caught as a traitor…and which side will catch her first? Or how long can she go on in this mess of loyalties and spilled blood?

My Thoughts

This book was fantastic! I’ve always been a fan of Marie Lu (check out her dystopian novels, the Legend trilogy), but The Young Elites really flaunts her skill. I could go on for quite a while about this book, so here are my ramblings in condensed form. 😀

First of all, the writing was just wonderful. Lu really thought out every little detail. Not only did she set up Kenettra, she  wrote in such a way that you could feel the culture of the country—the people, the region itself, the buildings in the cities, the landscapes. Besides the world-building, the novel was written lyrically and with such feeling. There were instances that I had to pause and just admire the way a particular sentence was worded. That’s when you know a book is good. 😉young elites cover.jpg

The characters are also well-written. All of them are different and incredibly real despite their powers. They have their faults but you can’t help but feel sympathetic towards them. Adelina was such a great main character because the thing is, she isn’t exactly your typical protagonist. She has a multi-faceted personality and plenty of dark moments. The relationships between the characters are complex, especially when Adelina is caught between two powerful groups and has way of looking at things in a slightly twisted mindset. The Young Elites blurs the lines between “hero” and “villain” in a beautifully deft way that will leave you wanting more.

The plot was so suspenseful and captivating that I immediately had to go and pick up the sequel, The Rose Society, when I finished it, which, by the way, is just as good. (A review will be coming soon for that as well!)

In short: The Young Elites just blew me away. Definitely check it out if you’re interested in dark high fantasy mixed in with a bit of magic! (Actually, check it out even if you aren’t.) 🙂

❤ Yasimone

Book Review || Through the Skylight

Author: Ian Baucom

Publishers: Simon & Schuster

Release Year: 2013

My Summary

Siblings Jared, Shireen, and Miranda are staying in Venice with their parents, and they’re bored. Life suddenly becomes more interesting when they happen upon an old Venetian shopkeeper, who lets each of them pick out a treasure from a bag— two rings for Shireen and Miranda, and a wooden die for Jared. Once home, however, they realize that these aren’t just any rings or dice. In fact, they just might be magic. That night, their father begins reading to them from an old book, a tale from A Thousand and One Nights, that the shopkeeper had also given them. The book tells the story of a boy named Rashid, as well as two girls, Maria and Francesca. Slowly, Jared and his sisters begin to realize that the power of their treasures may be connected to the children in the book. And then…

A stone lion awakens.
A cat speaks to them.
A painted faun comes to life.

So the adventure commences! The lives of Jared, Shireen, and Miranda become intertwined with those of three other children; children who were alive centuries ago. The very ones whose names are mentioned in the book. Reading the book further, they discover a sinister plot, and it’s up to them to stop it! With the help of Silvio the faun, Maldini the cat, and Lorenzo il Piccolo the stone lion, they join forces with Rashid, Maria, and Francesca and use their magic relics to try save Venice— and hopefully making it out unscathed.

My Thoughts

Through the Skylight is a suspenseful adventure story rich with detail— both historically and culturally. Blending elements of magic, fantasy, and real history, it creates quite the journey for Jared, Shireen, and Miranda. So, let’s start off by saying this: though I found this book to be a little uneven at times, I thought that it was overall a fun, interesting read. Venice was definitely the right choice for the setting; what better backdrop than a city so full of culture and whimsy? through the skylight.jpgThe characters were also an interesting bunch— two adopted kids from India, their blonde little sister, a wine-guzzling faun, a surly stone lion, a wise black cat, an evil monk, plus three children from the past who are in grave danger. It was refreshing to see such a diverse cast, though some characters felt a bit two-dimensional once in a while (*cough*Jared*cough*). The concept of the plot was intriguing as well but felt overwhelming and confusing at times since new obstacles and ideas kept cropping up as I read. I did, however, like that, without being too preachy, the book indirectly addresses ideas of prejudice and co-existing with people from different faiths, nationalities, and even time periods. If you’re a fan of enchanted quests and a historical-modern mix, then Through the Skylight is for you! 🙂