By Natasha Ngan, published by Hot Key Books.
Goodreads Synopsis: ‘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.
My Review: I heard about this book at the beginning of this year, and I’ve been getting so excited for it throughout the past few months. When I received a copy, I was so ecstatic! I delved right into The Elites and found it hard to drag myself back into reality between chapters. It was such a breath taking, beautiful book, that screamed originality. Beware of a long review here, ranting on about the brilliance!
Firstly, the setting! Neo Babel was just so well developed. I actually don’t think that I’ve read about such a well thought out, brilliant world since Harry Potter… And that was *mentally calculates* five years ago! Neo Babel was rich with fantasy, mixed in with an interesting, but tension filled, multicultural society. The blend of imaginative fantasy and realistic society (I think London is a lot like it, in terms of diversity!) made for such a brilliant backdrop. It reminded me a little of The Killables by Gemma Malley, in the fact that the city is enclosed from the outside world… Though there are these small, rebellious groups outside.
The plot? Practically flawless! I was most definitely not expecting the twists and turns that we’re in store for me. The story begins with Silver, who witnesses the assassination of Neo Babel’s leader. This was just in the first few pages! Every event after that was just as riveting. I enjoyed reading about Silver and Butterfly as they set outside Neo Babel, in search of Silver’s parents. If you’re looking for an exciting plot, read The Elites. You will not be disappointed!
I think the only thing that I disliked about the plot was very minor. Silver and Butterfly both discover *SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT!* lost family members. As surprised as this made me feel, I think that I couldn’t emotionally attach to the characters much over this. Maybe, if things about their pasts with family had been revealed before the discoveries, I could have been even more sympathizing with the new characters and the protagonists? The family finding thing was just thrown on me, and I wasn’t too sure what to make of it at first as I didn’t know about them before.
The characters in this book were just… Unforgettable! I loved Silver so much- she was a great, strong protagonist. I was rooting for her throughout the entire novel. I was fascinated (and maybe slightly jealous) of her job, as an Elite! I laughed with her, and felt all of her emotions so well through the author’s writing: Natasha Ngan made me feel genuine love for most characters like Silver and Butterfly, and genuine hatred for others… There were points where I wanted to just throttle Ember! (Ember was like an evil stepsister. And although I felt a teensy bit sorry for her, I disliked her as much as the main antagonists).
Oh, how could I forget?! BUTTERFLY. Butterfly is the male lead character of the book, and I’m competing with a lot of bloggers at the moment to be his hugest fan. Think… Peeta (Hunger Games), but stronger, more sacrificing, with a little bit of Jace’s (Mortal Instruments) charm and awesomeness. Oh, plus wings.
Yep I said wings. How cool is that? The love interest, and heartthrob, and imaginary husband to a bunch of bloggers, (I’m looking at you, Hawwa!), has wings. I don’t think I could’ve asked for a better supporting character.
Overall, The Elites just blew me away. It was such an original read, that I devoured quickly and was left wanting more of… though, it’s a standalone, which I’m also quite happy about. The characters were flawless and the book was laced with their raw emotions, thanks to some immaculate writing. A plot with excellent twists and surprises was set on a backdrop that was described beautifully (Dear Natasha: Can I live there? Pleeaasee?). This has got to be one of the best fantasies I’ve read this year, up with the mortal instruments, and when it’s published, I have no doubt it’s going to be big.
Also, the publishers have made this amazing interactive cover! Go check it out- full of extracts, links, and a video.
I received a copy of The Elites from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.