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.
I have mixed feelings about the main character Adelina Amouteru (reasonably so). She’s not exactly a hero but she’s not a villain either, she’s more of an anti-hero (she actually reminded me of Elsa from Frozen in certain parts). Marie Lu herself says this was more of a villain’s origin story than anything else. Adelina is unlike any main character I’ve read about (except maybe Ender Wiggin from Ender’s Game). Adelina is very aware of the fact that she is flawed in both her appearance and her personality. Her marking is her bright silver hair and because one of her eye stopped working, they had to take it out of her socket so she is missing one eye.
I love that Marie Lu created this very dark and disturbing character, but gave her enough personality where the readers can’t help but sympathize with her (at-least a little bit). Adelina crosses the line between good and evil quite a few times and her sense of morality is very different from the typical YA protagonist. It’s not that she is inherently evil but more that she will do anything to protect herself. She tries to be good but she has this growing fury inside of her that she can’t get rid of. Her energy depends on the fear of others which alone warned people to stay away from her so she was pretty much doomed from the beginning. She is tired of being used and has this hunger for power which she can’t seem to quench. This book brings up the question of good vs. evil quite a few times as the line between the two get more and more unclear.
4.5 stars because the beginning was a little slow and it took me a while to get accustomed to the setting and the characters.
I loved how Adelina’s power developed and it’s a pretty cool power. I mean, killing someone with an illusion of pain? Terrifying but awesome.
The other characters were interesting but I didn’t connect with most of them. I liked Raffaelle but wanted more of his story which I’m hoping the later books will bring. His character proved that no one is who they appear to be because he is the one who banishes Adelina at the end (granted she killed Dante and technically Enzo).
Enzo: I honestly didn’t like him all that much but it did surprise me when he died. But at the end, we do see Maeve who can bring people back from the dead so this should be interesting.
I wanted to know more about Gemma and Lucent; they were mentioned quite a lot but we didn’t really get to witness Adelina interacting with them. There might be more of Teren than we saw in this book, but right now, I pretty much hate him. Thinking he’s some kind of savior by killing all these people, that’s what you call delusional.
Violetta is probably my favorite character since I always tend to like the sweet ones. She has protected her sister her whole life. I’m confused on why she doesn’t have a marking though, maybe it’s just really small. Or maybe her hair just turned a very similar shade to what it was before so no one noticed. Oh well…
I’m really excited to see where this is going. Adelina’s character could go in any direction.