Adelina caught the Blood Fever when she was a young child. The fever swelled so much inside of her that a doctor had to remove her left eye. After she healed, she also developed markings that many children were cursed with after the Fever. Her hair and eye lashes turned silver and now she has a huge scar across her face where her eye should be. Her mother died from the Fever and her sister survived but did not become marked. She grew up with her sister who has developed into a beautiful young girl and her awful father who hates her for what she has become. Her dad sucks. Like really really sucks. After he makes a deal to sell her away to some old guy as his mistress, she tries to run away but he ends up hunting her down. She conquers up some dark powers and accidentally kills him.
Adelina doesn't discover that her powers are like the other Young Elites (a group of young folks that are marked from the Fever and developed supernatural type powers) until she is rescued by them at her execution for the murder of her father. Enzo, Raffaele, Lucent, Gemma, Michel, and Dante are the Young Elites who take her in and help train her and show her how to use her powers. Their main goal is to overthrow the king and take over the kingdom and like marked people like them live normal lives and not be outcast and executed.
First things first, this isn't a happy book. You're not going to come away from it feeling all the happy feels or find yourself laughing at funny dialogue. Marie Lu made this book super dark. Personally, I felt like I was reading a story from the villain's point of view instead of the heroines. Adelina isn't a heroine. She is dark and has dark things living inside her. She gains her power from how the darkness feels inside her and she thrives off of fear and anger. This isn't a story where she learns to harness her bitterness and turns good and hearts and happy endings. Nope, she gets darker and more powerful as the book goes on. I mean, you can't really blame her because she has pretty much been shat on her entire life. Her father sucks, society treats her like a freak, the kingdom wants her dead, and even her new Young Elite friends are kind of using her for what they can for their mission. She's a pretty bitter person and probably would do better with a round of therapy for her daddy issues instead of trying to conquer demons from the underworld. I just didn't like her as a leading lady because her choices and the things she does pretty much hurts everyone around her in someway. I just feel like she didn't develop as a character as the story went along. She just kind of spends most of the book feeling sorry for herself, talking about how she doesn't know how much time has passed, and being followed around by her father's ghost who tells her much she sucks.
The story was pretty much a NOmance for me. The relationship Adelina develops with Enzo was weird, especially since they are both so volatile. They are pretty much doomed even though nothing really even develops. I was kind of hoping she would start something up with Raffaele (who BTW kind of reminds me of a zen version of Magnus Bane).
Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad book. It just wasn't for me. I didn't feel attached to any of the characters and when deaths happened, I just kind of felt "meh." The writing was very descriptive and the world developed nicely. I didn't really feel like I was even getting into it until 100pg in, and even after that I didn't feel attached. I could have easily put this book down and not came back to it. There is a good cliffhanger and twist at the end, but I feel like it kind if sets it up for the next book.. Especially with what happens in the epilogue. I don't know. I know most people really loved this book, but it just wasn't for me. I probably won't bother reading the sequels because I just don't really care what happens to the characters.