All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Prodigy – Marie Lu

on January 31, 2013

ProdigyProdigy (Legend #2)
Marie Lu
Razorbill (Penguin Teen AU)
2013, 354p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Day and June have escaped the Republic in Los Angeles and are bound for Las Vegas. They plan to contact the Patriot group and offer their allegiance in exchange for help in trying to find and release Day’s younger brother Eden. Day has always resisted joining them before but he realises now that he needs help, that there are things he can’t do on his own. As they arrive in Las Vegas, the JumboTron’s showing the news are interrupted from their usual broadcast with breaking news – the Elector is dead and his son, Anden, has now taken his place.

The Patriots don’t do something for nothing and when Day and June make contact, they agree to help him find Eden, but only if Day and June will do something for them in return. They plan to use Day and June and the fact that they are so well known, and the fact that the people in the Republic revere them as figures to be admired. They want June to go back, to get a way in with the Elector, who she has met before. They want June to build a relationship with him and gain his trust.

And then the Patriots plan to assassinate him.

But the plan begins to come unstuck when June realises that the more time she spends with Anden, the more she sees that he is not like his father was, that he has plans and wants to change the way in which the Republic rules with fear. She’s determined to put a stop to the assassination but how can she do that when they are still relying on the Patriot keep them safe and also to help Day find his brother? June and Day must make a choice – for June, she finds that it isn’t so easy to let her old loyalties to the Republic die. And Day has to decide if he can believe in a new Republic.

Prodigy is the second novel in the Legend trilogy and I think it’s a stronger novel in so many ways. Fortunately it hasn’t really suffered from “middle novel” syndrome, which can often be a lot of filler and not much substance. Instead, Lu takes the world from Legend, which was bare bones, and begins to flesh it out and make it real. She gives the background behind the creation of the Republic and the Colonies and also, what’s happening in the rest of the world. It’s nice to be given answers to questions, instead of just more questions and I thought that the story was quite cohesive and not too far-fetched. It wasn’t too difficult to imagine the scenarios that might give birth to a regime like what the Republic has become. Prodigy is also an interesting study in propaganda, highlighting what different people in different areas are told in relation to the one event. In Prodigy, both June and Day have to come to terms with the fact that what they’ve been told, or what they have believed, is not necessarily true. It’s a learning curve and a reality check for both of them and at times they are at odds with each other, struggling with their new-found positions. June was once the darling of the Republic and she flounders more than once without that behind her. Day has always hated the Republic and everything it stood for, believing everyone involved in it to be the same. He finds himself having to deal with being wrong too, which doesn’t sit too well with him. It’s a time in which both characters must grow and evolve and Lu manages this admirably. There are times when they are fiercely together and there are times when they are not seeing eye to eye.

Usually I loathe the introduction of another character to form a love triangle (or two, to form a love quadrangle). Somehow Lu manages to insert some shades of grey into the relationships between June and Day, June and Anton and Day and Tess without it seeming like an empty attempt to stir up some romantic conflict. The author uses what she has already created in the first novel, the character’s personalities, to make the reader see why June might connect with Anton and also why Day might occasionally feel drawn to Tess. After all, June was a most loyal daughter of the Republic for a long time and she wants to see it thrive. Anton has vision and a sensitivity that was missing from the previous Elector and it’s not a stretch at all that their working together could complicate things. Likewise Day and Tess grew up on the streets, they know each other. Tess is growing up and Day has been her constant for a very long time. She’s never had to deal with anyone serious vying for Day’s affection before but the the whirlwind romance of Day and June’s clearly throws her off balance and makes her a little jealous. I actually really enjoyed watching the tensions play out in Prodigy. It all felt very natural, part of the progression of the journey the characters are making and the ending certainly made things very interesting in terms of the future and the third novel in this series. I have to say, I didn’t see the major reveal at the end coming (and kudos to Lu for not making it the last line in the book and therefore having it as a major cliffhanger).

Prodigy is a great read – my ideal sort of second-in-a-series book! Legend was fabulous because it was passion and action. Prodigy still has that but it also has structure and background and really seeks to bring the world to life and explain how it came to be. Definitely a winner.

8/10

Book #20 of 2013

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4 responses to “Prodigy – Marie Lu

  1. Belle says:

    I wasn’t sure about continuing with this series but if this book is stronger I might have to give it a go. When I read about the love triangle I cringed a bit but if it’s well done then maybe I can get behind it. Great review!

    • The love triangle surprisingly didn’t bother me, I think perhaps because they’re so different and the other people they’re drawn to in this book are people that they are similar to. So June is drawn to a son of the Republic as much as she was the golden girl and Day to a girl who has known the sort of life he has.

  2. Marg says:

    It seems like forever since I read the first book in this series. I liked that but I am not sure I am interested enough to keep going after such a big gap.

    • I thought that too, but it turned out to be surprisingly easy to slip back into the story. But I recently read another 2nd in a trilogy and I really struggled with the year-long gap. I’d forgotten an awful lot.

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