Described by fans as a cross between Game of Thrones and X-Men, The Young Elites is the first book of author Marie Lu’s latest trilogy. It is an epic fantasy set in an alternate world that has a medieval European feel. Amongst its contemporaries and other works in the fantasy genre, The Young Elites stands out because of its anti-hero protagonist, Adelina Amouteru. In the acknowledgments section of the book, Lu herself claims that Adelina’s story is one of a villain, not a hero. In the early drafts of the novel Adelina was only an “interesting side character” and “a fun bad girl to write” (Lu). Adelina became the central character of The Young Elites following a conversation between Lu and her book agent.
Because of Lu’s widely popular Legend trilogy, the anticipation for The Young Elites was high. Shortly after the book’s publication Fox and Temple Hill Entertainment purchased the rights to adapt it into a film. Reviews praised the book for its radical rendering of the traditional “coming of age via romance” story line and tightly packed narrative (Publisher’s Weekly). Lu was also commended for allowing her characters to experience “grand failures” and “devastating betrayals” (Johnson, BCCB). Harsher critics of the book accused it of having underdeveloped secondary characters and uneven world building (Johnson, Wanchoo). The Rose Society, book 2 of The Young Elites trilogy, hits bookshelves in October 2015.