Book Review: The Elites by Natasha Ngan

The Elites

Title: The Elites
Author: Natasha Ngan
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Adventure, Young Adult
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Publication Date: September 2013
Pages: 368
Rating: 3 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
‘There is a rumour that the Elites don’t bleed.’

Hundreds of years into the future, wars, riots, resource crises and rising sea-levels have destroyed the old civilisations. Only one city has survived: Neo-Babel, a city full of cultures – and racial tension.

Fifteen-year-old Silver is an Elite, a citizen of Neo-Babel chosen to guard the city due to her superior DNA. She’d never dream of leaving – but then she fails to prevent the assassination of Neo Babel’s president, setting off a chain of events more shocking and devastating than she could ever have imagined. Forced to flee the city with her best friend Butterfly (a boy with genetically-enhanced wings), Silver will have to fight to find her family, uncover the truth about Neo-Babel and come to terms with her complicated feelings for Butterfly.

My Review:

In the city of Neo-Babel there are citizens with superior DNA who guard the people. They are called the Elite. Silver has been in training with the Elite for a few years and is dying for a chance to prove herself to others. To those who thought her Red blood is inferior and those – like her student mentor, Ember- who think Silver is incapable of being one of the Elite. On her very first assignment to help protect the president during a rally, Silver is the one whose lack of punctuality among other things get the president assassinated.

Things start getting weirder with people going missing and an uprising on the horizon. Silver, along with her best friend Butterfly, are on a quest to try to save her family and unravel the secrets that the Elite seem to thrive on.

This is a debut novel with a lot going on. There are plots and sub-plots with a lot of different characters and organizations each with their own agendas. I adored the concept of this book. I can’t get enough of kick-arse heroines who have their own vulnerabilities but ultimately see the bigger picture. Silver is one of these. She’s a little naive but trying to be the best warrior she can be. I thought it was interesting how the topic of racism is addressed right throughout the novel. Silver is a Red, a person of Chinese descent, and as such viewed as a lesser person than others even within the Elite structure.

I enjoyed the other students at the Elite academy – in particular, Butterfly. His name may be pretty and delicate but he’s strong in his own right and a force to be reckoned with. His relationship with Silver is one of strong friendship with their romance being more subtle and whilst enjoyable, it lacked the sparks and pizzazz that I like between fictional characters. Ember, Cobe, Allum and Taiyo are great supporting character who all add something a little different to the story. I thought the names were especially clever. People like Butterfly and the organization, the Pigeons, are so seemingly weak and childish and yet they hold a lot of power within them.

Brilliant world building and some great characters, The Elite is an interesting urban fantasy novel. The plot is a little slow to warm up but once things get going there’s a lot of surprises and action going on. I was surprised to see that it’s a standalone because there’s so much more about this universe which this book exists to be explored.

 

Thanks to Hot Key Books for the review copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon | Booktopia | Book Depository | BookWorld

Book Review: The Elite by Kiera Cass

Title: The Elite (The Selection #2)
Author: Kiera Cass
Genre: dystopia, fantasy, romance
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: 1st May 2013
Pages: 272
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (goodreads):
America Singer has the chance to leave normal life for a world of glamour and luxury… for ever.

She was chosen for The Selection, a reality TV competition to be gorgeous Prince Maxon′s bride. Surviving the rivalry and turmoil of the first round was tough, especially with secret feelings to conceal. But America′s gone further than she dared to dream and made it to The Elite – the final six.

Friendships are tested to breaking point as favourites emerge. America′s feelings for Maxon grow ever stronger, but she suspects darker mysteries in his family past. With Aspen close-by offering comfort, solace and something more, where do her loyalties truly lie?

My Review:

The Elite delivered exactly what I wanted in the second book of the Selection series. There’s more drama, more love triangles and more gorgeous gowns fit for a princess-to-be. America Singer is still in the middle working out her feelings regarding her two admirers – Crown Prince Maxon and her childhood sweetheart now Palace guard, Aspen. Every time she thinks she’s decided which way her heart is leading her something happens and makes her feel mixed up all over again. Maxon only has six girls left in The Selection and where America was once comfortable regarding his feelings towards the other girls she’s now anxious and more jealous than she ever though she’d feel. Emotions are running strong. Marlee is still acting oddly, Celeste has more nasty tricks up her sleeve and the King weighs in with who he think Maxon should pick…

The first half of this novel doesn’t have much regarding the dystopian aspect of this book but the second half ramps up and delivers some much-anticipated action. The rebels are back and the threat to the crown and country. The remaining girls from the Selection get more time to show who they are as people as well as learning the importance and responsibility of  being Maxon’s wife. America is still a little too amazing for my liking – being a hero to the people and the funniest girl in the Selection – but more of her flaws came out as this series is developing. The love triangles are a little overwhelming at times with America deciding on one of her men and then being adamant that it’s the other one she’s meant to be with. And then another flip-flop in her decision a few pages later.

For the Bachelor fans – there’s still quite a bit in this book for you! Extravagant balls, a bit of scandal and scheming competitors are still in the mix and feel like they’d be right at home on the show. Whilst the Bachelor aspect is what drew me to this series, I’ve grown attached to the characters and unique drama Kiera Cass has brought to her story. I can not wait to read The One and find out who America chooses and which of the remaining contestants will be Maxon’s bride – along with just how much more damage the rebels will inflict.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon
Book Depository