Thursday, May 21, 2015

Book Review: Prodigy by Marie Lu

Title: Prodigy
Series: Legend #2
Author: Marie Lu
Published: January, 2013 by Putnam Books for Young Readers
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: Injured and on the run, it has been seven days since June and Day barely escaped Los Angeles and the Republic with their lives. 

Day is believed dead having lost his own brother to an execution squad who thought they were assassinating him. 

June is now the Republic's most wanted traitor. 

Desperate for help, they turn to the Patriots - a vigilante rebel group sworn to bring down the Republic. But can they trust them or have they unwittingly become pawns in the most terrifying of political games?

Prodigy was such a great sequel to a dystopia series. Prodigy is what Mockingjay should have been, what Insurgent could have been, and what The Scorch Trials would have been. Marie Lu took the established world and characters, made the stakes higher and then threw in that political intrigue I was missing in Legend. All this combined to create a captivating and action-packed read.

I loved the characters in Legend and that didn't change in Prodigy. Both June and Day are complex and interesting protagonists. Despite being heroes to many people, they are far from perfect. In Prodigy they have to live with the consequences of their actions in Legend. Things are not easy for either June or Day in this book but they can handle anything that you throw at them. In this book their personality traits both positive and negative felt much more similar. They are both so trusting, in fact they are too trusting. But they are both also caring, intelligent, and resourceful. My one main criticism is that they just don't seem fifteen. I read a lot of YA and I am used to young protagonists, I am used to characters that grow up fast and are trust with a lot of responsibility at a young age. But here for some reason I just found myself wondering why on Earth anyone would have a fifteen year old doing, saying, or thinking that. It made it hard for me to suspend disbelief at times. That also extended into the romance of the book. As much as I didn't necessarily ship it in Legend, the addition of love triangles in Prodigy made things even more frustrating when it came to romance. But on the whole I love June and Day together, I think they make an excellent team and they are fantastic characters.

Liking those characters together and apart made Marie Lu's narrative style work so well. I say it with every book I read from her but she does alternating perspectives so perfectly. You are able to get inside both June and Day's heads so we are not only able to get to know them on a more personal level but we are also able to see them through the other person's eyes which makes things really interesting. But it also made for a unique narrative. In this book the main characters spend just as much time in the same place as they do in different places but it never feels odd. When one character drops the story the other one will pick it up. And despite often ending one person's portion on a twist or cliffhanger it never felt like a sudden or confusing. It all flowed in a really great narrative.

A narrative that grew and built to a thrilling and exciting conclusion. I think that was one of the biggest changes for me when it came to Prodigy that made me enjoy it so much more. It was much more thrilling. Legend had some pretty good action scenes but they never felt very high stakes. Here they felt like it was life or death. I was definitely on the edge of my seat with Prodigy. A few scenes in particular were incredibly thrilling and when everything really picked up I just kept reading and readig having getten through much more of the book than I thought. The pacing too was much better in this book. The characters got to the ending at the same time and it made the book much more mysterious and captivating. I actually didn't predict the twist in this one and made things all the more interesting and exciting.

But that thrilling and exciting plot was really mostly about the dystopian world. Like most dystopian sequels it took us out into the larger world. Here that expanded focus really worked. We got to see more of the Republic, including their capital in Denver, and we even got to visit the Colonies. In the first book the world was so basic. I wanted more about what was happening and why, which is exactly what I got here. There were so many different things happening in Legend but with Prodigy while the world grew the focus seemed to narrow. It was about the dichotomy between the haves and have nots. It was about the elites and their control of the people. It was all about the fight between the Rebels and the Republic. It's all about that political intrigue. I love the exploration of power and control in dystopian novels but here it felt more about who had the people's best interests in mind. It was such an interesting and refreshing take on the power concept I like in my novels and I really enjoyed it.

On the whole Prodigy was a great sequel and a huge improvement to a series I am now really interested to see how it develops. The characters continued to work their way into my heart, the plot was more thrilling, and the world-building was bigger and more interesting.

I give Prodigy by Marie Lu 9 out of 10

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy/Borrow. This is definitely more like it. Fans of dystopia should definitely check out this book. If you liked the first one at all then be ready for more of June and Day, more exploration of the world, and more thrilling action.

Have you read Prodigy? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

1 comment:

  1. It has been a while since I read this series, but I loved it! Great review.