SERIES REVIEW: The Young Elites Trilogy by Marie Lu


  • Books in Series: The Young Elites (1), The Rose Society (2), The Midnight Star (3)
  • Published: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers (2014-2016)
  • My rating: 4.5 Stars Overall.  (The Young Elites 5*, The Rose Society 5*, The Midnight Star 4*)
  • Genres: High Fantasy, Young Adult
  • Diverse? yes




Marie Lu feels like a very underrated author to me – she’s completed two incredibly high quality series but never seems to get enough praise for them. The Young Elites is her second trilogy, and not only my favourite series of hers, but also one of my favourite series of all time.

The Young Elites is a high-fantasy novel set in a world where a illness has recently swept the land – giving the afflicted strange deformities and in some rare cases, special gifts. The afflicted are called ‘malfetto’, and Adelina, the protagonist, is one of them.  The illness has left her with a scarred face, and her father hates her status as a malfetto, especially since she never developed any powers he could exploit. Adelina decides to flee her fathers house – and in doing so, discovers a secret power she never knew about. She is soon inducted into The Young Elites – a group of powered malfetto determined to overthrow the government that oppresses them.

A unique villains journey

For me, the highlight of this series is that it very much inverts the heroes journey. Rather then our protagonist being a person righteous person seeking justice, she is a cruel and hard, but still seeking her own sense of justice.

Every character in The Young Elites is morally ambiguous, and even the ones we are positioned to trust are revealed as being flawed and possessing some less then desirable quality – almost everyone is jealous, manipulative, cruel or cold. Despite this, these are not unsympathetic characters, each one has struggled within the confines of their society and so you address them with pity rather then hate.

Diverse fantasy

Fans of books such as Six of Crows which tell fantasy stories through a diverse cast will enjoy The Young Elites. It’s littered with characters representing marginalized peoples, which was a huge plus from me. Fantasy should represent ALL people.

The main character, Adelina, is a woman of colour, as is her sister. Marie Lu has said that she would be considered Persian in our world. There is also a bisexual side character, a relationship between two of the female side characters. I love this kind of representation, especially in fantasy where it’s often ignored.

In summary

The Young Elites is an incredible unique series within the sea of YA trilogies. Featuring complex characters, a unique high-fantasy world, fairly good diversity and a plot which really keeps you entertained – I’m honestly not sure why it’s not more popular.

I devoured this entire series in two days, it was that gripping to me. If you like books in which the characters play off eachother rather then outside events – think The Foxhole Court or Six of Crows, then you’ll definitely like this.

Marie Lu has always had a gift for constructing complex characters and fast-paced and to me The Young Elites is the absolute epitome of her work. It’s an incredibly gripping and fun series and I could not rate it more highly. Truly one of my favourite trilogies on the market right now, and I trust Marie Lu is going to even bigger and brighter places


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