The Elites is a post apocalyptic novel about the city Neo-Babel. After a huge world war Neo-Babel is the only city left standing. The city was a social experiment before the end of the world, where all cultures came and lived together. As such, The Elites is full of a culturally diverse cast of characters.
Silver is an elite, someone chosen for their genetic superiority and bread from a young age to be skilled soldiers. Her best friend is Butterfly, a boy who had wings grafted into his back.
I enjoyed The Elites. The concept of the novel is not unique, but it was something that felt fresh. It was engaging, had good writing, a good plot, and realistic characters. It was a solid good novel.
However, I could see where it could have been amazing. With some tweaks of the dialogue, a more detailed background, and more culture thrown in the book would have been a solid excellent novel. Having read Ngan's latest book (The Girls of Paper and Fire) I know how she has grown as an author. While The Elites is a good novel, it is not the same excellence as her latest work.
With that being said, The Elites was still a very enjoyable read.
I had never heard of Girls of Paper and Fire, or Natasha Ngan, before I received my OwlCrate book box. I was instantly drawn to the cover and captavated by the description of the book. The world of Girls of Paper and Fire is unique. There are three casts. The Demon cast are animal human hybrids and rule over the land. The Moon cast are a mix of human with demon features. Lastly, the paper cast, is humans with no animal features. Except Lei is born with golden eyes. Demon eyes in a paper girl. It is enough to capture the attention of a General wishing to win favor with the King. Lei is captured and brought to the castle to become one of the king’s Paper Girls - one of his concubines.
There are elements that are seen in other YA books mixed in with elements that are unique. The characters are vivid. I enjoy watching Lei’s progression. It is realistic, a gradual change that is impacted by her character and her circumstances. All of the characters in the book are equally real, even the ones that only show up for a page or two. You are drawn into the world of demons. Ngan says that she wrote the book to provide more diversity to YA literature. There is a strong Mongolian culture brought into the book as well as LGBTQ characters. I personally was drawn to the strong female characters and the choices they made even while they were being repressed both culturally and due to their gender.
The book does contain themes of sexual assault, although there are no violent descriptions. I was worried from the trigger warning, yet I felt it was handled tactfully, both to not overwhelm the younger audience as well as survivors of sexual assault. I feel like the emotion of the situation could have been addressed more, especially due to the impact on the progression of the book. It was addressed, just subtly.
Overal it was a great read. I look forward to continuing on with the series, and also going back and reading the other book written by Ngan.
Wildcard is the second, and final, book in the Warcross series. I loved Warcross. It is high on my most favorite books I read this year, and I gave it five stars. That is not something I do often. Most books are just not great, Warcross was great.
Wildcard is a good novel, but not as good as Warcross. It would be easy to judge it harshly because of what it could have lived up to. Yet, it was still a good novel. Part of the book dragged a little, and there were parts of the plot that had me rolling my eyes. However, overall it showed that humans are complex beings. Nothing in the world is black and white.
In the acknowledgements Lu mentioned that Wildcard did not write as easily as Warcross did. I think this, ultimately, is what came through. It is not that Wildcard is not a great novel. It was just not as smooth as Warcross was. It was not able to live up to it's predecessor. I plan to reread Warcross (next year at some point) and after I will reread Wildcard. I am looking forward to the reread. I have a feeling that Wildcard will be more enjoyable the second time around. I think knowing what is happening will allow me to enjoy it in the moment more.
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