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Monday, December 2, 2013

NICOLE'S REVIEW: The Elites by Natasha Ngan

Title: The Elites
Author: Natasha Ngan
Format Acquired: Paperback
Publication Date: Hot Key Books
Publishing House: September 5 2013
ISBN: 9781471401527
Source of Copy: Purchased from FullyBooked


Hundreds of years into the future, only one city has survived: Neo-Babel, a melting pot of cultures and peoples - and fear and discrimination. As a 'Red' - an ethnic Chinese - Silver could never have dreamed of becoming an Elite, a guard of the city's Council, yet she is now on the brink of her first major covert assignment.

But when Silver's parents go missing, she is forced to confront the Outside - life beyond the walls of Neo-Babel. Silver is plunged into a strange new world of slums and dissidents, of secret splinter groups and deeply guarded secrets. And as the dirty truths about Neo-Babel begin to reveal themselves, Silver has to search deep within herself for the strength to fight against all she has ever known.

(Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book)


When Silver fails her assignment as an Elite and her parents go missing her whole world's turned upside down. She's determined to find her parents and this particular endeavor leads her to the Outside. She's never realized that there was life beyond the walls of Neo-Babel and the world outside reveals truths about Neo-Babel that Silver could never have imagined were possible.

The Elites disappointed me. The characters were flat and lifeless and boring. Silver is, despite being an Elite, strangely inept at what she does. Butterfly, despite that adorable name, is as dull as Silver. Silver and Butterfly have been friends for a long time and I suppose it would not have been surprising for them to get together. But there was absolutely no spark to their romance, no feeling, it's like they got together for the sake of adding a romantic aspect to the story. 

The antagonists in The Elites didn't fare any better. Silver's Senior Ember is your generic too pretty, too skilled, I'm-better-than-you character and I couldn't resist rolling my eyes when she started brandishing knives and threatening Silver. She's obviously got some issues. The bad guys were bad and the good guys were good and that just about sums it up.

The plot is a convoluted mess. I mean I like books with lots of action scenes - I have a predilection for violence - but for the first time I find myself wishing that this book would slow down with the fight scenes and start developing a story. Back story would have been nice, and a little more world building would have been helpful. It's just Silver getting into trouble, blowing stuff up, getting chased, blowing more stuff up and so on.

If this is going to be the trend of future dystopian books...I don't know. Maybe I should start thinking of shifting genres. 




  1. Bummer that the characters fell flat and the world wasn't developed enough. I love the action and violence too, but it sounds like this moved too fast. Wonderful review :)

    1. I had such high hopes for this. Too much action and violence isn't always a good thing. Especially if world building and characterization ends up taking a backseat. Thanks for stopping by!