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Literature / The Young Elites

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The Young Elites is a fantasy trilogy by novelist Marie Lu.

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.

The trilogy includes:

  • The Young Elites (2014)
  • The Rose Society (2015)
  • The Midnight Star (2016)


This series contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: The majority of the female characters: Lucent, Gemma and Maeve definitely fit.
    • Adelina is actually a dark action girl.
    • Violetta seems to become one as well, especially when she learns to control her powers in "The Rose Society".
  • Abusive Parents: The fathers of Adelina and Teren, who were physically abusive to them.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Violetta has a habit of calling Adelina "mi Adelinetta".
  • Ambiguously Brown: The Valenciano siblings: While both of them have dark hair, Enzo's skin is frequently described as having a brown tone.
    • Adelina and Violetta. Their family has a Tamouran heritage, and on one occassion Teren describes Adelina with this sentence: "That little Tamouran face".
    • Magiano, who originates from the Sunlands, and has dark, braided hair.
  • Anti-Hero: Adelina Amouterou. She craves the Kennettran throne and in "Rose Society" she orders Sergio to kill the Inquisitors they captured. At the same time she fights the Daggers because their cooperation with Maeve would hand Kennettra into the hands of Beldain, and whenever any Malfetto is in distress, she rushes to his help immedietely.
  • Back from the Dead: Enzo is brought back by Maeve in "The Rose Society".
  • The Bad Guy Wins: At the end of "The Rose Society" Adelina managed to revive and bind herself to Enzo, murder Giulietta, imprison Teren and eventually install herself on the royal throne. On the other hand, she's clearly paranoid and starts suffering from a worsening sanity slippage.
  • Bad Powers, Bad People: Adelina's fear-based abilities make it much easier for her to hurt others than to help.
  • Blessed with Suck: Adelina and Maeve. Subverted with the former, however.
    • After discovering how Lucent's power is affecting her, Raffaele theorizes that this is the case for all Elites.
  • Boomerang Bigot: Teren hates and wants to eradicate all Kenettran Malfettos, even though he is one himself.
  • Bound and Gagged: When Enzo appears to begin his fight to the death with Teren, Adelina notices that Raffaele is suffering from this trope.
  • Broken Bird: Adelina is the very summery of this trope, suffering lifelong abuse at the hands of her father, being forced to kill him, almost ending up being burned alive by the inquisition and being blackmailed by Teren into betraying the Daggers. In "The Rose Society" her state only worsens, with increasing paranoia, hallucinations and sanity slippage.
  • Cain and Abel: Giulietta (the Cain) banished her brother, Enzo, due to him being a Malfetto, in order to get the throne for herself.
  • Creepy Blue Eyes: Teren's pale blue eyes are often described by other characters as piercing and rather disconcerting.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Almost every character in the series.
    • Adelina spent her life prior to the Young Elites abused by her father, due to being a Malfetto.
    • Teren's father would punish him with whipping regularly, even out of small things, such as being late to a training sessions.
    • Enzo's sister, Giulietta, usurped the throne of Kennettra from him, as she was pure of blood and he survived the blood fever as a Malfetto.
    • Raffaele was taken from his impoverished family at a young age and sold to the Fortunata Court as a consort.
    • Lucent was banished from Beldain after prince Tristan drowned in the river, after she dared him to step on the thin sheet of ice.
    • The Priests who looked after Magiano when he was a child experimented on the marking the Blood Fever left on his back, leaving an almost permanent wound.
  • Dark-Skinned Blonde: If Adelina is in fact ambiguously brown due to her Tamouran heritage, she would count as one.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Teren held Giulietta in his arms after he'd killed her in "The Rose Society".
  • Disease Bleach: The Blood Fever left the naturally dark-haired Adelina with her trademark mystical white hair.
  • Evil Former Friend: Teren and Enzo used to be childhood friends, that is before the breakout of the Blood Fever, Enzo's banishment and Teren becoming a fanatical leader of the Inquisition.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Adelina Amouteru vs. The Inquisition. However, it can be argued that the former is A Lighter Shade of Black. Some fans may even argue that it's a case of Black-and-Grey Morality.
  • Expy
    • A prince with fire powers who is banished from his kingdom and befriends a bunch of outcasts while his ambitious sister takes over? That sounds a lot like the firebending siblings, Zuko and Azula from Avatar: The Last Airbender.
  • Fantastic Racism: The Malfettos are persecuted throughout Kenettra, as they are believed to be abominations that bring misfortune to the kingdom.
  • Foe Romance Subtext: The dynamic between Teren and Adelina is often interpreted as such, Giulietta, Enzo and Magiano aside.
  • Friendless Background: Adelina Amouteru, who's never had any friends other than her sister, Violetta. And then by the end of the first book the Daggers cast her out.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: Raffaele's emotional manipulation.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Adelina's Roaring Rampage of Revenge attracts no small amount of controversy.
  • Home of the Gods: The Gods live in a place unreachable by normal mortals, reachable from a portal the protagonists can only access thanks to their own relationship to said Gods. Passing through requires fighting monsters and crossing through dangerous terrain.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: Adelina discovers her power completely by accident at first, because She can only use it when she thinks she is going to die. She eventually masters it, though, as shown when She (accidentally) murders Dante, and later Enzo, also accidentally.
  • Knight Templar: Teren Santoro, who's convinced that cleansing Kenettra of all Malfettos is his duty to the Gods.
  • Love Triangle: There is one in "The Rose Society" between Adelina, Enzo and Magiano.
  • Meaningful Name: Adelina, a pragmatic hero, has a name that means "noble".
  • Missing Mom: Adelina's and Violetta's mother dies during the Blood Fever plague.
    • Teren's mother is implied to be dead as well.
    • Maeve's mother, the late Queen of Beldain, has died shortly before the events of "The Rose Society".
    • The previous Queen of Kennettra, mother of Enzo and Giulietta, is dead as well.
  • Nominal Hero: Most of the main cast, actually.
    • Adelina is eager to overthrow the current government of Kenettra not only to free the Malfettos from persecution, but also to have the throne for herself. She doesn't hesitate to use her supernatural powers for torture or murder.
    • Queen Maeve is an ally of the Daggers in "The Rose Society" but only because she hopes to have Kenettra in her sphere of influence by installing Enzo on the throne.
    • The Daggers who are heavily implied to have killed numerous Malfettos they rescued if they didn't have any powers useful to their cause.
  • Playing with Fire: Enzo and his control over fire, due to being a Malfetto.
  • Stellification: At the end of Midnight Star, Adelina is turned into a constellation made of seven stars, in return for her sister, Violetta, being freed from the underworld.
  • Tagline:
    • "I am tired of being used, hurt and cast aside. It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt." — The Young Elites
    • "Once upon a time, a girl has a father, a prince, a society of friends. Then they betrayed her, and she destroyed them all..." — The Rose Society
    • "There was once a time when darkness shrouded the world and the darkness had a queen." — The Midnight Star
  • Traumatic Haircut: After Enzo's death, Adelina gives herself a haircut with a knife.
  • Unholy Matrimony: Teren Santoro and Queen Giulietta Valenciano, although arguably the Kenettran queen isn't as bloodthirsty as her inquisitor and doesn't care that much about eradicating Malfettos, as long as they don't pose a threat to her position.
  • Villainous Break Down: Teren at the end of "The Rose Society", after Giulietta strips him of his title of the Lead Inquisitor, banishes him to the southern cities and rejects his advances. The fact that he kills her (with the help of Adelina's illusions) doesn't help either.

Alternative Title(s): The Rose Society, The Midnight Star