September 18, 2014

Prodigy by Marie Lu (Legend #2)

June squeezes my hand; I'm reluctant to let go. She is from a different world, but she gave it all up for me. Sometimes I take this for granted, and then I wonder how I have the nerve to doubt her, when she's so willing to put herself in danger for my sake. She could easily leave me behind. But she doesn't. I chose this, she'd told me.
-from Prodigy (Legend #2) by Marie Lu

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*This review contains spoilers for Legend*

Prodigy continues the story Marie Lu began with her dystopian novel Legend. June and Day are free from Batalla Hall, but now they're on the run from The Republic. When they turn to the Patriots for refuge, they are asked to be involved in a plot to assassinate the Elector. But once separated June and Day start to assess the government of the Republic, the Patriots, the Colonies- everything- in very different ways. With no way to communicate with each other, June and Day must work toward doing what they can to make their world right, whether they have each other to back them or not.

Remember when I was underwhelmed by Legend? Well, Prodigy set me straight and now I am a firm believer in this series! I don't know if Marie Lu refined her skills, if her publisher gave her more support, or if this story is just plain better, but Prodigy was one of my favorite dystopian books I've read across the board. With non-stop action, just enough romance, more impressive world building and a constant question of who can be trusted, this book pulls all the punches for an edge-of-your-seat adventure.

The action drives this book forward at a pace that I thoroughly enjoyed; other writers might have dragged this book out to 500+ pages, but the way Lu keeps so much action crisp and concise in under 400 really packed so much into the story. There are multiple settings and readers still get points-of-view from both June and Day. Sometimes I found myself really wanting to get back to June's story, sometimes I wanted to get back to Day, but overall they were equally entertaining throughout. Both June and Day seem to have an added element of humanity to me since reading Legend. I can't put my finger on what was missing in Legend, perhaps it wasn't as fast paced to me (which sounds kind of silly because it wasn't slow...), but the dynamics of the two characters in Prodigy are very enjoyable.

Underneath the action, this book has more of an emotional draw for me than Legend with the questions that it raises. There are questions that complement the action (Can we trust Anden?) and questions that maintain the pulse of the romance (Can two people from different worlds work out romantically?). Along the same emotional vein, I like that there isn't a love-triangle, per se, but there is the question of whether June belongs with someone more her status (i.e. Anden) and if Day belongs with someone more with his background (i.e. Tess). Day and Tess make sense to be coupled, but does love need to make sense? Why can't June and Day cross the lines between social classes through their shared passion and intelligence? So many questions, such a great book for a book club.

I found it interesting that there are some references to The Hunger Games in this book (perhaps the series overall). I've read that Marie Lu would enjoy meeting Suzanne Collins, which makes me wonder if these references were done on purpose or just coincidental. The phrase, "Know who the enemy is," was most prominent for me, but there are a few other less obvious allusions (that now I forget...oops). I thought this was interesting to note for big dystopian fans.

Bottom Line: Read this series if you enjoy action, adventure, and/or dystopian! Actually, just read it no matter what, this book is great. The end has so many feels! I hope the last book keeps up with the pace Prodigy has set! 5/5 Stars.

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