The novel centers around Adelina, a girl who was stricken with a deadly fever as a child. Those who did not die became malfettoes-deformed and useless to most in their society. Adelina lost one of her eyes and her hair turned silver. Some of these malfettoes became Young Elites, gaining special abilities where others only gained deformities. Adelina discovers her powers in a very dark situation and her life becomes wrapped up with Enzo-the leader of a group of Elites, and Teren-the man who hunts down and kills Elites.
When I first started the novel I was worried that it was going to be very similar to so many other novels I've read lately. Fortunately, Lu was able to take her own spin and create a very different kind of story. One thing that I really enjoyed about this novel was the use of both first and third person perspectives. The majority of the novel is told from Adelina in first person, but occasionally we get glimpses of some of the other characters and their portions are told in third person. I found that really interesting and attention grabbing.
I also really loved Adelina's relationship with Violetta, her sister. It was complicated, sad, and realistic in so many ways. They hurt each other. They were jealous of each other. But underneath it all there is a love and bond that I hope continues through the rest of the series.
It was also great that the story didn't have a major love story going on. I mean a love story can be done well and enjoyed, but it's nice to not really have that sometimes. This novel did really well weaving in elements of romance without it ever being the main focus.
Teren made a great "villain." I found him interesting and complicated in so many ways that YA novels tend to just gloss over. He reminded me more of villains I've read in fantasy focused for adults. He was fascinating in many ways.
The powers were interesting and, while not completely original (but nothing really can be anyway), had a fresh spin that didn't make me roll my eyes. A lot of the explanations concerning the powers and how they work reminded me a lot of how Brandon Sanderson describes things in many of his novels. And I LOVE Brandon Sanderson, so it was a great comparison.
The weirdest thing to me while reading this had nothing to do with the story. The weirdest thing was not having the novel in different colors. I know that's weird, but I'm so used to the Legend novels that it was kind of strange for me. Not strange in a bad way, just strange.
Overall I think the book was very enjoyable and really well done. There were some portions and avenues that I was not completely crazy about so this book is only getting a 4/5 from me, but I do look forward to the next novel in the series.
Until next time. This has been your book loving friend, Courtney.