Release Date: September 5, 2013
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Add it: 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.
Packed full of adventure, romance, exoticism and the power of friendship, The Elites is a highly compelling and beautifully written novel from a supremely talented debut author.
Like the rest of the blogosphere, I was dying to read The Elites. From the cover, to the tagline, to the promise of a badass main character, I was sure this one was going to score with me. Unfortunately, as you can see by the rating, that wasn’t the case at all. The Elites was a basic dystopian that has been done time and time again in YA.
My main issue with The Elites was that the storyline didn’t feel in depth enough. Everything was explained very briefly, I felt, and I couldn’t immerse myself into the plot or the world that Natasha Ngan has built here. The beginning introduced Silver, the main character, and how she was an Elite, but we never really got to see what the process of becoming an Elite was. I was expecting more training and more background information in the beginning, but Ngan immediately starts off with the assassination with the city’s president. This threw me off, because I didn’t feel like I had enough time to settle into the world before Silver was on the run.
On a positive note, The Elites has a diverse cast of characters from all sorts of different racial backgrounds. That was refreshing, and it was interesting to read about all the different mixtures of races that are prevalent in this futuristic world. In the past, some futuristic books have just gone with the basic formula of having the characters being dark skinned, dark eyed, and dark haired, but Natasha Ngan goes into a lot more detail than that and has created several new races for her world.
Silver herself was also pretty dull. She brought nothing new to the vast array of female characters that came before her, and she is definitely the type that will be forgotten easily. We’re meant to believe that she is an Elite, and yet she’s awful during the brief training sessions we have, and she’s really not all that badass. I don’t know about you, but I was expecting more Rose Hathaway badassery from a book titled The Elites. The cover model looks fierce, so why wasn’t the main character? I didn’t feel a connection with Silver at all, and it made it very difficult to get through the book.
And then there’s Butterfly, the obvious love interest, best friend, and Silver’s fellow Elite. Firstly, can we address the name? Why in the world would you name a character – male or female, I’m not discriminating on this one – Butterfly? This guy has been given wings by the government in order to enhance his skills, and I’m assuming that the name was meant to tie in with that aspect, but why not choose a different name? A bird name, for example, would have seemed less out of place. I’d have even gone for Pteranodon over Butterfly. At least that sounds kickass. To make the naming thing even worse, it’s said that Butterfly’s mother used to call him her caterpillar boy. You couldn’t make this shit up.
Neither of these characters overly impressed or interested me. I was more into the government’s side of the story, and I found myself groaning when it was time to go back to Silver and her “adventure”. I wasn’t invested in it at all, and Silver could have been blown up and I probably wouldn’t have noticed.
In summary, The Elites isn’t a good book. It’s unoriginal, aside from the eclectic cast, the characters don’t have that spark or oomph that I need in order to get into the story, and Natasha Ngan’s writing style, unfortunately, wasn’t gripping. I wish I could have liked The Elites, but in a huge market full of similar plots and worlds, I don’t really know how it is supposed to stand out.