Review: The Young Elites #1, The Young Elites by Marie Lu

23343223Blurb from Goodreads

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.

ebook, 368 pages
Published October 7th 2014 by Penguin
edition language: English
series: The Young Elites
genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

My Thoughts

This is it! I’ve decided that Marie Lu is one of my favorite authors now. From now on, I will read all of her books in the future. No matter whether I’m rich or broke I’ll buy her books and read it, of course 🙂

So this book is the one that helped me realize that Marie Lu is indeed an awesome author. Not that I didn’t realize it with her Legend series, I just didn’t instantly “believe” her. Although I was impressed with Legend series, there were also things I didn’t quite like, especially in book 1, Legend. But now, I can’t help not to put her in my favorite author shelf.

I love every single thing in this book. There is no, not even one single moment that feel boring, annoying or out of place. It’s perfect.

It’s fast-pace. I couldn’t put it down till I finish it. The story draws me instantly. But to be honest, at first I was kinda skeptical since Marie Lu said the story is like a combination of X-Men and Game of Thrones (at least that’s her goal). For some weird reason I don’t like when a story is described and/or label with another story. It makes me compare each other and makes me think that they are similar. First part of the book, where Adelina discovers her power and her initiation with The Young Elites, I cannot help not to compare it to X-Men. To be honest, for a second I even think that this is another X-Men wannabe while my last X-Men-ish story was an epic fail for me. But I kept reading it because other elements in the story work for me.

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Worldbuilding is one of those elements. I love it. There is something magical and eerie in the way Marie Lu describes Kenettra. And it was easy for me to be there in the story. The story itself is (sort of) unpredictable with twists I really liked, though in a way it also kinda break my heart.

As a story with a bunch of people who have power, of course this book has awesome characters. Their power is different from each other, some more powerful and more handy than others. One thing for sure, I really liked them all. Enzo, Raffaele, Dante, Gemma, Lucent, Michel, Violetta, even Teran. They have their own role and play it well. And not one of them is really good or truly bad. I guess that’s why I really liked them.

But it’s Adelina that I love most. She’s badass, but she’s also unpredictable with her dark side. She’s a heroine and at the same time she’s also a villain. These sides bring the best and the worse of her. I just couldn’t tell which side of her I love most since they intertwine each other, though in some part I didn’t like her dark side while at the same time I also understand that she has it and has to embrace it. I think she’s a complex character. And that what makes her stronger and quite different from other heroines I’ve read.

I’m sure there are still so many things to tell by Adelina as this is just the beginning of her journey. I can’t wait to experience it with her till the end.

Result: 5 out of 5 stars

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Review: Legend #3, Champion by Marie Lu

14290364Blurb from Goodreads

He is a Legend.

She is a Prodigy.

Who will be Champion?

June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps-Elect, while Day has been assigned a high-level military position.

But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them: just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything.

With heart-pounding action and suspense, Marie Lu’s bestselling trilogy draws to a stunning conclusion.

ebook, 274 pages
Published November 5th 2013 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons
edition language: English
series: Legend
genre: Dystopia, Romance, Young Adult

My Thoughts

What a journey I had with this series! I know you might think that I’m way late gushing over this book now. I intentionally didn’t read Legend as soon as it released. And all the hype and glorious rating couldn’t bring me pick it up soon, not until the series completed and my trusted friends “forced” me to read it. When I finished Legend, there was a teeny tiny part of me that thought maybe this series wasn’t for me. Legend put me on minority side among most of readers. I felt like there are things that I just couldn’t buy. But I really like the idea and the flow of the story so I picked Prodigy instantly, which is way better than its prequel. After that, I couldn’t help not to read Champion back to back.

As the battle changes its target, the story is also slightly changes. There is more political talking, bargaining power and military tactic than in its prequel. And it might not have as much action scenes as Legend and Prodigy. I think there are two to three action scenes. But somehow this book is more eerie and sent goose bumps and made my heart beat faster than when I read Legend and Prodigy. There is something haunting when I read the blaring signal to seek cover scene or how frustrated the characters to figure out the cure for the virus. For me, the bioweapon war more fearful than army weapon war. Those are more frightening me more than high explosions, gun shooting and jumping around kind of scenes.

There are so many things happen in this book, just like so many things happen in the Republic and June and Day relationship. And so much emotions in it, but is not a happy one. I didn’t feel happy or joy or glad in most of the story, it mostly sad feeling and depressing. Marie Lu pushes her characters beyond their physical and emotional strength. Yet, there is also hope in June and Day story. And the way they tell their story really drained my emotion.

At the end of the story, it’s just bittersweet for me. I’m glad it’s over, the characters don’t have to struggle anymore but it isn’t easy either. Now, I can say that this is one of my favorite books. Champion IS a champion of the series.

Result: 5 out of 5

Review: Legend #2, Prodigy by Marie Lu

13414446Blurb from Goodreads

June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the two join a group of Patriot rebels eager to help Day rescue his brother and offer passage to the Colonies. They have only one request—June and Day must assassinate the new Elector.
It’s their chance to change the nation, to give voice to a people silenced for too long.

But as June realizes this Elector is nothing like his father, she’s haunted by the choice ahead. What if Anden is a new beginning? What if revolution must be more than loss and vengeance, anger and blood—what if the Patriots are wrong?

In this highly-anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestseller Legend, Lu delivers a breathtaking thriller with high stakes and cinematic action.

ebook, 292 pages
Published January 29th 2013 by Putnam Juvenile
edition language: English
series: Legend
genre: Dystopia, Romance, Young Adult
My Thoughts
I think it’s because most of things that bother me in Legend turn out to be good things here.

1) Although I still feel a little bit similarity between Day and June POV, it didn’t bother me much anymore. It might be because of their different situation they have to face, hence they don’t have the same things to explain anymore; or it might be because Day is rarely pay much attention in detail anymore, he gives the jobs to June, mostly; or maybe they just grow up along the story and finally find their own voice. Either way, I can tell the difference and see that they are two different characters.

2) My questions about the life before the Republic and the Colonies established are answered here. It was so good and believable I finally bought it.

3) This sequel still has a lot of actions scenes that makes my heart beat fast and I felt like I want to run with them. It wasn’t the only thing that glued me to the story, though. Unlike Legend, Prodigy is unpredictable. Yes, I can still guess minor things but sometimes I couldn’t do it from the beginning, I have to see it for pages to catch the gist. And I just love the way the story makes me thinking, wandering, questioning and picturing different scenarios of what will happen next to the story and characters. My friend, Billie must be sick of hearing my scenarios, because I did give her many scenarios and most of them were wrong! For me, my wandering mind is a good sign that I’m into the story. It means that I care enough and curious enough to be part of the story. And boy….Marie Lu did great jobs throwing surprises and twists along the story. And the fact that both June and Day cannot trust even a single character is like a mind game to me because I felt that there is no one I can trust either.

4) June and Day are still 15 years old. The sequel doesn’t make them older. To be honest, there is part of me that couldn’t buy it. But most of the time, I think I finally believe that beyond their young age, they are indeed capable of what they have to do.

5) And finally I can say that I love June and Day relationship. It doesn’t work easily since there are so many stories from their past, but it’s what I love. I want characters who are struggling. And they do struggling to work it well. However I didn’t quite like the ending. It feels cliche to me. Sorry, Billie I have to disagree with you. The ending that I was so waiting for because you told me that it’s to die for sort of anticlimactic for me.

All in all, I really liked it but not enough for me to give it perfect rating. So 4 stars from me and I’m heading to Champion now!

Result: 4 out of 5 stars

Review: Legend by Marie Lu

9275658Blurb from Goodreads

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths – until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills.

ebook, 234 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Putnam Publishing Group
edition language: English
series: Legend
genre: Dystopia, Romance, Young Adult

My Thoughts

Wikipedia: A dystopia (from the Greek δυσ- and τόπος, alternatively, cacotopia,[1] kakotopia, cackotopia, or anti-utopia) is a community or society that is in some important way undesirable or frightening. […] Dystopias are often characterized by dehumanization,[2] totalitarian governments, environmental disaster,[3] or other characteristics associated with a cataclysmic decline in society.

Legend has all of dystopian characterization as stated above, though I haven’t seen real totalitarian governments here since the military takes bigger part, instead of the government. But I think its role can be as the government right hand. So yeah…it really is dystopian. And if I see it through its genre, I can say that I really liked it more than most of YA dystopian books I’ve read. I prefer this book much more than Wither by Lauren DiStefano or Uglies by Scott Westerfeld which I really liked or even other dystopian books that remind me of Legend, Divergent by Veronica Roth, Black City by Elizabeth Richards, Gravity by Melissa West.

However, I can’t say that I really love it, at least not as much as I love The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

1) I prefer reading story from 2 POV. I feel like I can get two different side of the story. This book tells from both June (the heroine) and Day (the hero) POV, but I have to say that I didn’t quite like it. Both of them sound similar to one and another. The way they observe everything, the way they thinking and describe their appearance sound the same. I know it might be because they are both smart, observant and all. But still…

2) I didn’t get the reason why does Republic of America become the way it is (or am I miss something here?). I mean, I need explanation whether it’s because war with other counties or rebellion between the states or else? If it is because of war, who they fight from? And then who the Colonist are? So many questions are in my head now but I haven’t yet got the answer. I assumed it will reveal more in its sequel, though. So I’ll keep those questions in my head for now.

3) As most of readers said it is a full-action story. I agreed with them. It’s fast-paced and has many actions that make my eyes glued to the story. It’s a book that meant to be a movie kind of thing. It’s easy for me to picture the scenes and engage to the story with those action scenes and interesting characters. To be honest, I even have my own Commander Jameson in my head now. Sue Sylvester from Glee series will be a perfect Commander Jameson for me. Yet, most things are predictable. Yes, I got a surprise at the beginning of the story, but it isn’t a surprise really since the blurb has said it. It was surprising me because I didn’t read the blurb before I read the book. I can guess almost of the important things, things that connect to the plot. It was still enjoyable to read, though. Well…I think it was because of those actions scenes.

4) I have problem to believe that the main characters are only 15 years old. They aren’t even young adult yet. I can understand that they act and think that way because of their condition. I actually can buy Day situation. He tries to survive from his situation, just like Katniss, Tris or David. It is June I didn’t quite buy. At 15 she’s already in top of military ranks. Even if she’s smart enough and has killer skill, how about her emotional and psychological, can her emotion and psychic take strict military order and rules?

5) Just like most of YA books, this book also can’t help to not include the insta-love. June & Day insta-love (or is it an insta-lust?) is quite annoying. Knowing the way they grew up, what they thinking about each other for their whole life, their circumstances, trust-no-one attitude, it’s just kind of odd they throw and forget it all when they see each other eyes for the first time. I liked their relationship enough but at the same time I didn’t buy it either. And speaking of things that I didn’t buy, I was also questioning Day’s mad skill to jump from high level building in very bad injury and his eye resistance toward the surgery.

In the end, I think Legend is more enjoyable than most of YA dystopian books I’ve read but it also still has many plot holes. I just wish the sequels cover all of them. I’m going to read it soon, by the way. Yeah…I can’t wait to read Day and June destroy the Republic.

Result: 3 out of 5 stars