The Elites by Natasha Ngan Review: An Underwhelming Dystopian

December 10, 2014 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 2 stars, Books, Reviews

The Elites by Natasha Ngan Review: An Underwhelming DystopianThe Elites by Natasha Ngan
Published by Hot Key Books on September 5, 2013
Source: Publisher
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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‘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.

Guest review from Bec @ Readers in Wonderland

It was about a year or so ago that the cover for The Elites was revealed. It was gorgeous and looked badass. I wanted to read it desperately, so when Jeann offered to give me her ARC to review I jumped at the chance. Unfortunately the expectations I had built while waiting for the chance to read this novel weren’t met by the content in side.

Now the book wasn’t completely terrible. The writing was pretty tolerable, nothing amazing with a lot of clichéd lines, yet not the worst I’ve ever read. I really liked the world and the structure of the society (as in reading about it. It is interesting. There’s no way I’d want to live there). Issues such as racism, poverty, black markets, abuse, a controlling government, and interesting technology were discussed so there was plenty to keep me captivated. Yet none of these interesting components were really explored. That was a big disappointment for me because learning how different worlds work is one of the best parts of my reading experiences. So much more we could have been learnt about the rebels, about Outside, about what disaster was responsible for the creation of Neo-Babel. And Butterfly’s wings! He rarely got to use them when they could have been the most awesome weapon.

All the interesting stuff was put aside for plot development I believe. The action doesn’t take forever to start, and it keeps up a pretty good pace throughout the entire novel. However I did not find a lot of the major twists shocking, in fact I managed to figure a lot of them out really early on. Maybe I’m just too good at guessing plot lines nowadays, or maybe this was just really predictable.

The predictability was not helped by the mediocre action scenes. One would pop up every now and then and they never really impressed me. Characters would run through active battlefields and not get hit by a single bullet. I’d lose track of who was where and what was going on. Then they’d suddenly end and you’d wonder where all that frantic action had gone. These were also scenes were many of the side characters I liked died. The only reason I could see for them dying was to make the reader emotional, but I didn’t have enough of an emotional connection to any of the characters to shed a single tear.

Characters also had crazy mood swings which made them really hard to connect to. They’d be happy on one page and then throwing a tantrum for some strange reason the next. A couple of pages later they’d realise their emotions were out of place or unnecessary, or come to some amazing conclusion and be fine again. I could not keep up. It got a bit ridiculous. I mean, their feelings were justified year, but I’ve never known a person to change between mental states so quickly! (Except me that one time I was thirteen or something and went from happy to pissed to sobbing in the space of five minutes. That was crazy and I have no idea why my body did that and let’s not go there).

These mood swings also made it hard for me to get behind the romance. I got sick of them almost kissing then fighting then not being sure of each other then kissing at some strange time again. What I did like about it was that it was that the romance was built out of a lifelong friendship. I haven’t read about one of those relationships in so long.

The Elites was a case of pretty exterior and mediocre guts. The story was not as badass as I had wanted it to be. While the world was interesting, I thought it wasn’t explored as much as it could have been. Instead the focus was on the predictable plot and underwhelming action. The characters had crazy mood swings I just couldn’t understand and so I had a lot of trouble connecting with them. Overall The Elites wasn’t a terrible book, but it definitely was a little bit of a disappointment.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5


A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Twitter @happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

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21 responses to “The Elites by Natasha Ngan Review: An Underwhelming Dystopian

  1. Nice to see you on here Bec and so sorry this one wasn't your thing, that cover is pretty badassed. The mood swings and character hissy fits alone would have peeved me off. You can even tolerate a predictable storyline if the world building and characters are incredible, but it sounds like it fell down right across the board.

    I'm curious as t whether or not any of the characters shout 'I BROKE A NAIL' anywhere throughout this. It sounds like that kind of book.

    Lovely review Bec <3
    My recent post The Bookish Best Of… Dodgy Covers of 2014

  2. Huh this sounds like it was very MEH overall. Crazy moody characters usually do not click with me at all. I get frustrated with those kinds of personalities, usually. Sounds like something that I would forget about 10 mins after reading, to be honest. I love this genre but it's becoming very hard to find some gems which makes me sad 🙁
    My recent post Review: On the Fence by Kasie West

    • Yeah, it sounds like it was a really frustrating read, and there are so many books that aren\’t memorable these days sadly.

  3. This cover looks so aweosme, it's so sad when a cover gives you a high expectations that aren't met. Sounds like the world building really falls short, one of the reasons I am probably not going to pick this up as I love world building and don't like it when it isn't done well. Just like I do like friends to lovers romances in general although those mood swings sound annoying. Nice review Jeann, although sad this book wasn't as good as you hoped.
    My recent post Review: Camp Forget-Me-Not by JK Rock

    • I know, it just shows that we shouldn\’t judge a book from its cover lol. I do like the sound of the romance, but not the mood swings. Ah it was Bec who did this lovely review 🙂

  4. That romance doesn't sound healthy… like at all.

    I am so sorry you were disappointed, Bec. It sucks when you look forward to a book and then get let down.

    I feel like it wouldn't work out for me either though since it seems like a book that had a lot of potential that ended up going down the drain 🙁 I mean all these serious ideas that could have been explored but ended up just being talked about.

    Also characters with mood swings just don't sound appealing 😛

    Hopefully your next read will be/was better than this one!

    Lovely review, Bec! 😀
    My recent post ARC Review: The Thickety – The Whispering Trees by J.A. White

  5. Eh. I don't think I'll go for this one. I was tempted to try it at one point, but then I was kind of "meh, this looks typical". I'm glad I didn't go for it. Those character mood swings sounds a bit insane?? Not up for that! And underwhelming sucky action scenes are the worst. GOOD GUYS CAN BE HIT BY BULLETS TOO. Realism. Please. -_-
    Loved the review, Bec!! Nice seeing you over here. 😉
    My recent post Egg And Spoon by Gregory Maguire || And toast?

    • I was interested too but the early reviews kind of made it really meh about me. The mood swings sound really weird don't they?