This book… was nothing I ever expected. The beginning was less than stellar, so I wasn’t sure I’d even enjoy the rest of the book, but then… things started to get intense. Exciting. Thrilling. And very different from your average new adult/college romance. I can’t say that I loved it, but I ended up really enjoying myself by the end of the book.
The first third of the book was bad. I didn’t like it. It had too much of a clichéd boarding school young adult feel, which I’m not a fan of. The characters didn’t sound their age at all. They were in their twenties, but when they opened their mouths, they were 14 year old middle schoolers. Not good at all. The main character, Tracey, or Trace, is a freshman in college, and she wins a scholarship to Eagle Elite College, one of the top, prestigious colleges that houses the rich and wealthy. At the very top of the student body, the elite of the elite, is the group known as The Elect. The boys in The Elect–Nixon, Chase, Phoenix, and Tex–rule the school, and they have a very strict set of rules.
1. Do not touch The Elect.
2. Do not look at The Elect.
3. Do not speak to The Elect.
Um, yeah. Assholes, much? Basically, The Elect a bunch of good-looking, nasty bullies who rule the school and who all the girls fall over themselves for. Can you tell how much I didn’t like that? This was the entire first third of the book. Nixon would devise some scheme to humiliate Tracey, the new girl, and Trace would try not to cry. But it turns out that Nixon does all this to protect Trace from the other students. If he bullies Trace, no one else will. And once he withdraws his “protection” all hell breaks loose and Trace is completely humiliated and degraded. By this time, I’m not even sure where the book is going, but thank god, the plot starts to change. It moves away from the petty bullying, to the more mysterious side of the story. The Elect takes in Trace, and she gets to know them better, especially Nixon, but there’s always something she’s missing from their conversations. It’s like they have an inside joke, and Trace isn’t a part of it.
Eventually, things start to take a darker tone, but all the while, Trace and Nixon are getting closer together. There are secrets between them though, secrets that Nixon doesn’t want Trace to know. I don’t want to spoil it, even though it’s fairly obvious in the book what Nixon is involved in, but this was the reason why I started liking Elite a lot better. Plus, Nixon becomes a total sweetheart. I haven’t really forgiven him for being a complete jerk, but he was getting there. Because, oh my, the things he says to Trace? Swoon!
“Don’t you get it?”
My breathing became erratic as he leaned close enough to kiss me again. “I’d give my life for yours.”
By a darker tone, I meant that lives are at stake. It’s not some cutesy romance anymore. There’s death and violence, and everything is so much more than you can comprehend. You think that the story will be going one way, but the plot twists and turns, and Rachel Van Dyken does this flawlessly.
The rest of the story, after that awful first third of the book, was awesome! Rachel Van Dyken had me make a complete 180 about all the characters. I started caring for Nixon and Trace and the rest of the gang, and I was hooked onto their story. I couldn’t stop reading, because everything builds up, revelations are made, and all the characters are in constant danger. It’s so much fun to read! And I really started liking Nixon more by the end of the book. AH! He’s so sweet, even if he is a dangerous man.
“I won’t let anything happen to you – I swear on my life, I’ll protect you until the day I die,” Nixon whispered hoarsely.
“That’s a pretty big promise.”
“Well, you’re a pretty important person. Important people deserve big promises, and you, Trace. You deserve the world.”
Okay, so I give 2 hearts for the first third, and 4 for the rest of the book. 3.5 hearts! If you can get over the meh of the first third of the book, then I think you’ll enjoy Elite just fine.
Reading Order: Eagle Elite series
#1 ~ Elite: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#1.5 ~ Enforce: Goodreads (Dec. 2014)
#2 ~ Elect: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#3 ~ Entice: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#4 ~ Elicit: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#5 ~ Ember: Goodreads (Feb. 2015)