Publisher/Year: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers | October 7, 2014
Audiobook Publisher/Year: Listening Library | October 7, 2014
Read by Caria Corvo and Lannon Killea
Time: 10 Hours and 9 minutes
Series: The Young Elites Book 1
Genre: YA Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Source: Overdrive through Cincinnati Library
Adelina has grown up with a father who’s constantly disappointed in her. Not for anything she’s done, but for who she is: a malfetto. The blood fever changed Adelina, along with many people through the world, giving some of them powers to go with their physical changes. Adelina never considers the possibility of having powers since they should have shown by now. But one day, that belief is put to the test.
I heard a bunch of mixed reviews with this book, but was intrigued by the concept, so I wanted to give it a shot.
This is a hard one to review. The story was good; not great, but good. The world I think is what carried it, because at times it was a little predictable. The book is set in a Venice place (at least I’m assuming since I’ve never been to Venice.) And there are great details written throughout the book. There is also a clear understanding of the belief system and how the powers work. All of those make the book very interesting. The story however, didn’t seem unique enough. I made it about halfway hoping something interesting would happen, and then finished it because I was half way through. There was second narrator through the book, and his sections didn’t seem strongly necessary. I think if you took those out, it might have helped some, but it also would have greatly shortened the book, which I feel is the only reason they were there. By the end I was bored and wanted it to be done. I probably won’t read the second book unless everyone says it’s a million times better than this one.
Since this is an audiobook it’s a little more difficult for me to talk about the writing itself. Like I said the world building was done well, and it’s a character heavy book. It was difficult to follow this story in the beginning with all the quotes and changing narrators. I’m sure part of this was because of listening to it.
One of the biggest things that stood out about the writing though was the ending. It felt like it had 3 endings, plus and epilogue. I’m not typically a fan of prologue and epilogue. I prefer you just to write the story. If it’s important put it in the story, if it’s not, why bother.
From what I remember, the writing itself was done well. Lu is very intentional with her words and uses a good vocabulary through the book, which is probably another reason I didn’t give up on the book. I think the reason I didn’t connect well with the story is that all the suspense is dependent on the reader not understanding the world. For example, one of the scenes introduced a race. Once I knew that race excited, I could predict what would happen with it. Suspense shouldn’t be based on keeping your reader in the dark, rather giving your reader the rules, and not being sure if the characters will play by those rules or not.
There were two readers for this book, both of which had good voices that were easy to connect to. There were moments where the emotion that Corvo was putting into Adalina didn’t seem to match the moment for me, so that was a little jarring. But on the whole they both did a good job reading. It was more the structure of the book that made this a difficult book to listen to.
In the End
I get why it got so many mixed reviews. This one just wasn’t for me.
10 Second Summary:
- Good world building: You can tell Lu knew all the details of her world and how it worked.
- Maybe not the best audiobook: Because of all the breaks and the changing narrators, it was difficult to follow at times. Probably better to read this one yourself.
- A little predictable: There wasn’t anything that greatly caught me off guard, except maybe one thing that happened in the end. I was never sitting there wondering what would happen next though.
I might pick it up at the story if it was under $5 but I’m glad I just borrowed it this time. So somewhere between those two I guess.