This review will contain spoilers, BUT first some information about the book, The Young Elites.
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.
After reading The Young Elites, I understood that Adelina is turning into a villain. After reflecting on this, I immediately thought of Anakin Skywalker. All villains are complicated and may not always start off that way, so here some some ways I see similarities with Adelina and Anakin.
1. Troubled childhood
Adelina grew up mostly without her mother and a father who never loved her, in fact, only abused her. She was told she was a monster and felt alone. Anger, fear, bitterness developed in her life.
Anakin grew up with no father in his life and then became as a slave to Toydarian Watto. After winning his freedom he reluctantly left his mother to become a Jedi, this moment set fear into his heart. Fear for his mother’s whom he loved.
2. Never accepted
Adelina comes to the realization that everyone just wanted to use her. She never felt kindness without strings attached. At the end of the book, only her sister is truly there for her. All others have turned her back on her and she’s realized they never really believed in her from the beginning. They always wanted her dead and felt she was a threat.
Anakin is older than most when he starts his Jedi training. Because of this he is not fully trusted by those around him. Other Jedis did not want him to be trained and his fear was strong.
3. Fear and Love
Adelina comes to understand that her powers come out of fear, anger, passion and ambition. After being rescued by The Daggers, Adelina discovers her sister has been kidnapped and will be hurt or killed if she doesn’t betray The Daggers. She doesn’t know what to do. She doesn’t want to go against those who saved her life, but she can’t let her sister be killed either. Her choices are made out of love for both the Daggers and her sister but in the end, people get hurt.
Anakin becomes a Jedi but his fear for his mother, then for Padame steer him to a path that he thinks will save those he loves. He’s afraid of Padame dying and will do whatever he needs to do keep her alive. In the process, this anger and fear lead him to the dark side where Padame does end up dying because of his choices.
Even though these two characters are different there are some similarities as well. People are complex, there is no black and white sometimes. I don’t know if Adelina will continue down her dark path and what awaits her because this is the first book of the series. But, I think we all understand why her choices had been made, why she will continue to make them. I am intrigued to know if she ever finds the light.