Monday, November 26, 2012

Book Review: Prodigy (Legend #2) by Marie Lu

Release Date: January 29, 2013
(Thanks to ATWT for allowing me to participate on this tour!)
Published by: Putnam

**SPOILERS if you have NOT read LEGEND yet.

Prodigy (Legend #2) by Marie Lu

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?


Ten likes/dislikes:

1. (+) Protagonists, June and Day - Still continuing the alternating perspectives of June and Day. Whereas I sometimes found June to be hard to relate to in Legend, I found her instantly likable in Prodigy. She's still smart, fierce, strong, a tad cocky about her skills--but now, she's more open. You can't see this through Day, but you have her perspective; you see how vulnerable and awkward she sometimes gets in her relationship for Day (I think because emotions make her feel awkward and out of control), and I thought that was beautifully rendered. Legend was Day's book; Prodigy is June's. Day was harder to relate to in this book than in Legend because he's struggling with his grief (not to say that June isn't either), and this sometimes makes him angry, hot-headed, unwilling to trust others. He's quite simply trying to tackle too much in this book - his injury, taking care of his loved ones, trying to move past John's death, trying to find his brother, Eden, trying to decide what to think of the Republic and the Patriots, and thinking of his family, what his father told him of the Colonies. Some Goodreads reviewers mentioned feeling frustrated with Day, but I personally didn't think it got to that point. Since we understood his position via his perspective, it never got to be too bad.
2. (+) World-building - Fantastic. Yeah, it had that typical dystopia expository dialogue scene where you find out how the Republic came to be this way... but even that was well done. You find out more of how everything works - the Colonies, the Patriots, the Trials, the government within the Republic... their uniforms and commander ranks. Can I say that I really like how this feels like an alternate history for the United States? Especially after the 2012 election. I mean, every election, you get some people who either say they're going to leave the country, or some remark about the Electoral College... This book just feels so relevant to today. However... What I didn't like, in terms of world building, was the casual reference to manifest destiny. I understand the imagery there and the history in uniting the coasts and whatnot... but manifest destiny is so much more than that. The way it was treated in comparison to everything else seemed, quite frankly, callous. Imperialism is not something to be mentioned in one sentence and discarded. Other than that, it was fantastic.
3. (+) Romance - You know, I'd never thought I'd say that I liked a love square (I mean, I did in Prized, but I didn't expect it here either).... but I really liked it here (both June and Day have separate interests). I also liked how the romance was a side-plot. Accurate to their characters and the situation they're in. But what I loved most was how June and Day's relationship wasn't ideal. Most of the times, it seems like the romance of the second book in a trilogy is not about the characters themselves and their relationships--it's about some other plot issue that's contrived to separate them. That's not the case here. June and Day go through trust issues and really, the weight of their pasts becomes heavier. Can they deal with that? It's the battle of any couple that comes from such different backgrounds. In this sense, it reminded me of Insurgent by Veronica Roth. And in this sense, it made me feel more for their relationship.
4. (+) Anticipation, but not predictability - If you've read enough dystopian novels, you know what's going to happen. Or at least, I felt like I could predict fairly well what would happen next. But did that matter? Not one bit! Loved every bit of this plot-- the twists and turns our dear characters go through... Marie Lu takes readers on a ride through fighter jets and assassination plots and conspiracies and political and class issues and jealousy and grief, so much grief.
5. (+) Dystopia - By which I mean, how many dystopias have you read that address the issue of what happens after all the rebellion is over? Realistically. That it's not just an end game to throw out the government that's in place now (because if real world issues teach us anything, it's that you can throw out one government and have a much worse one replace it). The Hunger Games certainly treated the issue.. but I haven't read many others that do. A lot of dystopias seem to hint that what's coming will be the utopia - that everything will be fine and dandy. Even Hunger Games had a bit of that. I was glad to see Marie Lu shatter that illusion... It's the kind of book that will get you talking. When I lent some books to a friend, she said her major issue with YA is that it's too black and white most of the times... That is not the case here.
6. (+) Character Development - This definitely happens for Day-- for him to grow up and realize what's most important here, what he needs to do for the sake of others and because of his own prejudice--and for June to let her emotions bleed through more. Day grows more than June but both were palpable, and both realistic. I'm so grateful that Marie Lu didn't let death become a side plot. Characters grieve and grow.
7. (+) Diversity - A few months back, I might have said something about YA and how it doesn't usually address the issue of class... and how pleased I was with the Raven Boys for discussing class issues. Quite honestly, I don't remember if Legend dealt with class as much as Prodigy does, but it was great seeing how that affected both June and Day's perceptions of the world and each other. Besides their personalities, I felt that these struggles really colored their POVs and distinguished them. Also, can I say how much Marie Lu rocks for adding in other races? If this is the remnants of a future US, damn right it should have other races. Anden, for instance, has Latin and Asian blood. Love that.
8. (+) Writing - Fantastically layered. I felt the impact of the character's grief, couldn't read fast enough through the action, and noticed that perhaps Marie Lu dealt with reader's complaints that Day and June's POVs were too similar--because they were definitely distinguishable now... I sincerely, sincerely hope, though, that Day stops being like blah blah blah, yeah? This will lead to this, yeah? Yeah, yeah, yeah. I don't usually get irritated or notice repeated phrases, but I noticed here.
9. (+) Pacing - This is also like Insurgent in the sense that Marie Lu doesn't waste time filling you in on the details of recapping what happened in Legend. (This means you may want to reread Legend... though I didn't, and at first, I was like Kaede, who? But then there were always a few sentences to remind me of what happened, and what June/Day thinks of each character/event). This also means that once you start reading this novel, you probably won't be able to stop. Fast and well paced and full of action.
10. (+) The Cover - I still really dislike how they are matching the text color to the cover color, but I adore this cover and its symbolism of the Legend world, and it's perfect for attracting both boys and girls :).

Sequels lately have just not been disappointing... I cannot recommend this sequel more. If you liked Legend, you're definitely going to like this action-packed thriller that takes dystopian trilogies to a new level. Oh, and you might not want to miss the bathtub scene either ;).

Other Reviews: Kira's review & Stephanie Sinclair's review.

5 comments:

  1. I really really liked this installment. It definitely has me hooked on this series. I personally love the text colors :p

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  2. I love how you write you wrote your review - setting it out point for point so the reader knows exactly what to expect when purchasing this book, but without the spoilers. I also agree with you about them matching the font to the cover - I don't like it. Your review was thorough and informative and because of it, I'd really like to read this book. Thank you so much! :D (Angie Edwards)

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  3. That is an interesting phrase, "Love square" and I think that would add some interest to a novel. I'm anxious to read this series but since I'm a big fan of dystopians, don't want to be left short after a few others I was excited about and didn't care for. Thanks for your thoughts!

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  4. I've been dying to read the series. It looks so great and I love dystopian novels. Loved your review too. It's one of the best detailed ones I've read.

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  5. I think that this means I need to actually get to the copy of Legend that has been sitting on my bookshelf gathering dust. I kept putting it off because I read a lot of reviews with the flaws that you mentioned, but it sounds like some stuff (POVs being too similar) went away in the sequel. I am also just really curious to know what you mean by bathtub scene ;).

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