While most characters in a fantasy obtain their magic by learning it or simply by being born with it, Marie Lu came up with a wonderfully unique way for her characters to get their powers. They have to survive a blood fever that leaves them marked in some way. They have a purple splotch on their skin, locks of blue color hair, or unmatching eyes.
Not only did the fever leave Adelina with silver hair, but it took one of her eyes as well.
The society she is in sees her as an abomination, not because of her missing eye, but because she is a malfetto, an abomination cursed by the gods. And some, the Elites, rumored to have supernatural power.
I love the twist that those with magic powers are feared and hunted down rather than revered. It creates a perfect backdrop for Adelina’s story to unfold. The story of an unloved girl, who thinks she has found acceptance and love in a group of people similar to herself, only to be betrayed.
This isn’t the story of a hero being made, but a villain being created.
Adelina truly tries to please her new friends, hoping to gain the acceptance and affection she’s longed for since childhood, but because of circumstances mostly beyond her control, she is labeled a traitor and loses the chance she had at belonging. This leads her to believe that there is no love or friendship for her.
What makes this story so powerful is that each one of us can empathize with Adelina. We’ve all felt unloved, been an outcast, or been abused. And maybe sometimes fantasized at getting revenge on those who have done us wrong.
This is the tale of a girl who has lost so much, she is forced to take from others. Who has had pain inflicted on her so often that she can’t help but inflict it on other. Of a broken girl who becomes a villain.
Stars: five out of five.