Tag Archives: writing style

Y is really for … young and flawed

So, I knuckled down and read a Y book at last. I chose Marie Lu’s The Young Elites, and it should have been right down my street, but most of it was just … okay.

I think a big part of it was because The Young Elites is written in present tense. I read the first couple of chapters, then we changed POV and my brain jumped out of the book to say, “Hang on, this is first person, that’s tricky.” And once I’d noticed, I couldn’t stop noticing. I think I’ve said before that my view of books is that you should slip straight through the words and just be in the story with the characters. I couldn’t manage that with this because the present tense kept hauling me back to awareness that I was reading a book.

Cover of Marie Lu's The Young Elites
Linked to Goodreads because I couldn’t find a Kindle version. That can’t be right, right?

I also think there are too many POVs. They’re all interesting, but my opinion is that it’s lazy to have loads – find another way to suggest what you want us to learn about a character without dipping into their head to do so (crikey, aren’t I an opinionated know-it-all this week? I do apologise; my brain may be fried from editing, normal service should be resumed shortly).

And while the plot was strong and the characters were interesting,┬áthe story just didn’t feel particularly remarkable. Teens with powers, and our protagonist is the most powerful and dangerous of them all … ho hum.

HOWEVER, the ending was an absolute stunner. I loved the twists and turns, and narrative rules were shockingly broken (to the good). And the little epilogue piece was also smashing. I’m not going to run out and grab the next, but I’ll take a look when it crosses my path.

I’m nearly at the end of my Alphabet Challenge (wipe away that tear!). Check back next week to discover what I made of my Z book, titled simply Z (spoiler alert, I’ve started it already and I’m struggling. I’m not convinced I’m going to end on a high!).