Spoiler Warning! This is the second book in the Legend trilogy so this review will contain spoilers from the first book. If you haven't read the first book, Legend, then you can read my review of that here. You have been warned!
Prodigy by Marie Lu
Author: Marie Lu Website|Twitter
Published: 29 January 2013 (Penguin)
Book Depository: Paperback
Source: Borrowed from library
Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the two join a group of Patriot rebels eager to help Day rescue his brother and offer passage to the Colonies. They have only one request—June and Day must assassinate the new Elector.
It’s their chance to change the nation, to give voice to a people silenced for too long.
But as June realizes this Elector is nothing like his father, she’s haunted by the choice ahead. What if Anden is a new beginning? What if revolution must be more than loss and vengeance, anger and blood—what if the Patriots are wrong?
In this highly-anticipated sequel, Lu delivers a breathtaking thriller with high stakes and cinematic action.
I really enjoyed Legend so I've been eagerly anticipating this sequel! Prodigy picks up with Day and June on their way to Vegas to meet up with the rebel Patriots, as the Republic faces a fresh challenge in the death of the Elector Primo.
I'm torn as to where to start with this review because there is so much I want to talk about! Firstly, I was a little nervous starting out because it had been so long since I read the first book, and because I got that from the library I wasn't able to re-read it in the run up and worried I might not be able to remember everything. But Prodigy has the recapping down absolutely perfectly! It managed to jolt my memory and take me right back to the first book without detracting from the current story. It was all weaved in brilliantly because the characters do a lot of reflecting on how they've got to be in the position they're currently in, so I was immediately back in that world and remembering everything that happens.
As with the first book, Prodigy alternates between June and Day's perspective. They start out together but spend some of the book separated and I loved how both of their points of view were key to the story. There's a lot of focus on the relationship between the two of them and I really like how complex it is and how much the two of them are still figuring each other out and addressing their differences. I'm reluctant to use the phrase "love triangle" because it doesn't really apply to this book, but there are other interests for both Day and June which shake the story up a bit. Both relate to characters introduced in the previous book so it's nothing too new, but I did like the exploration of everyone's feelings for each other. I really like how it isn't soppy or romantic at all. At the end of the day, it's not a love story. It's a story where people are going through a tremendous ordeal and worrying after their loved ones because of it. I think it had the perfect balance to keep you interested in who cares for who.
On the topic of the tone of the book, I felt this book was very political - almost like a political thriller in its own right in places - and I found that part of the book to be the most gripping. There was all this suspicion and trying to figure out where everyone's loyalties truly lay was incredibly difficult, because as soon as you were sure about someone, there'd be a twist that would make you reconsider. I loved that it kept me on my toes!
Prodigy was packed full of action but I really loved that the heart of the book was with the characters. There were some moments where certain characters were explored that bit more and I loved discovering more about them. It felt like such attention had gone into each character, no matter how small a part they played. I really liked that the focus was on the original characters from the previous book as well, although newer characters were still really well done. Day and Kaede were the two characters who really stood out for me. When the plot and characters were changing and evolving I felt like those two were the two constants.
I loved the post-apocalpytic world this trilogy is set in, and one of my favourite parts was seeing the wider ramifications of events in the Republic and glimpsing other parts of the world/country. I won't spoil too much but it was just great to get a view of the bigger picture. I enjoyed the use of Vegas as a setting in the beginning as well. I think placing somewhere so familiar (as someone who's seen Vegas and LA on TV but maybe not some of the other cities referenced) really helped me get a feel for the place and how different it is under the rule of the Republic.
I definitely enjoyed this book more than Legend (and I adored that!). I was constantly kept on my toes by the twists and turns and there was never a lull in the actions. I was constantly questioning the characters and whenever I tried to second guess what was happening my theories would be blown out the water by another revelation. The ending was utterly heartbreaking and I'm still getting my head around it all and absorbing some of the things that happened. There's plenty of potential for the third installment, although how my heart will cope with it I have no idea! This trilogy has jumped straight to the top of my dystopian/post-apocalyptic favourites pile. I want to run around and recommend it to everybody because Prodigy has truly blown my mind and I need more people to read it and get excited about it. Don't miss out!
What to read next: Champion by Marie Lu, the unreleased final book in the Legend trilogy
Books like this: Divergent by Veronica Roth