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?
Though this is a spoiler-free review, it is strongly recommended that you read the first book in this series, Legend (see review here) before reading this review.
Two weeks ago I reviewed Legend by Marie Lu, and while I was not particularly impressed with that book due to its lack of uniqueness in and sufficient world-building, Prodigy, the second book in the sequel, blew my mind. Intense and fast-paced, Prodigy was everything that a sequel in a series should be.
We pick right where we left off in the first book, and this time around, we are really able to immerse ourselves in the world Marie Lu has set up for us. It’s not that there’s more description in this novel, rather, there’s more explanations for how the Republic of America had come to be what it is now. What I loved more was that there was an insight into international politics and the state of other countries too (not a spoiler: I LOVED the fact that Africa becomes the most influential, powerful and technologically advanced nation in this dystopian future–God knows just how much Africa could have prospered in the real world in present time if it had not been colonized).
Furthermore, we also get to take a glimpse at the other half of America–The Colonies–and I loved that things there wasn’t as perfect either. One of my favorite things about this book was how Lu took two current problems in USA–corporate influence and the dogmatism of many Republicans–and expanded on them to show how in extreme situations this could affect the future generations of Americans. And it is not a pretty sight. I also enjoyed how the Patriots, an allegedly terrorist group who wants to reunite the two Americas and bring back the USA, are just as morally grey. For some reason this really resonated with me, perhaps because of the current political situation in my country as well as those in other Muslim majority/Islamic nations.
Great Pacing, Awesome action scenes, and perfect character development
Obviously a book full of so much political intrigue would also have to be action-packed, and boy was there action in this novel. The characters were proactive and constantly on the move, and every fighting scene was beautifully detailed. Given the way the first book ended, it made sense that this book would be very fast-paced, and it was, but Marie Lu also did a fantastic job of ensuring that our characters also get the chance to grow. The character arcs of Day, June and Tess were beautifully done–each character realizing their destinies by the end of the book. And while I am not particularly fond of love triangles or girl-on-girl rivalry, it made sense here: as Day’s best friend, I loved how Tess felt protective of him when it came to June and I understood why she thought June was not good for him. At the same time I also admired her restraint whenever she had to interact with June, the polite yet distant way she behaved with her. Honestly, looking back, I hope we can see more of Tess in the third book–as a supportive character she did not receive enough spotlight but I found her character development interesting: from being a shy, timid girl who had always been taken care of Tess really grows into her own skin and shows Day that she was never the one who needed him, that she was always whole and complete with or without him.
Speaking of love, I really enjoyed the romance between Day and June in this book. I was not quite fond of it in the first book, but in this book, their relationship, and all the setbacks they were forced to face–stemming from the differences in their upbringing, their personalities and the things that June had done to him in the first book–flowed naturally and realistically, and the way they worked through it together instead of against each other was admirable. Once again, it was a reminder that Day and June were a team first, and that’s something I believe every couple in real life should aim to be.
My only complaint is about the new Elector Primo (man, he was so forgettable I can’t even recall his name…Anden? Anderson? Eh, I give up). Or should I say, the new Elector Primo’s feelings for June. It was extremely unrealistic, and well, even if it could happen, it still felt like it was only there to make things easy and simple for June, so that the plot could move forward without a significant hiccup. It really did not sit well with me.
And of course, it is a truth universally acknowledged that every great story must be in want of a heartbreaking ending
Seriously. That was such an excellent ending. And so painful.
Authors, why do you play with our feelings like this?
There is no doubt that continuing on with Legend series was a great idea–although the first book was mediocre, the series really picks up with Prodigy and I have no doubt that the last and final book, Champions, will be just as amazing.
How do you feel about authors expanding on current world problems in a fantasy/science-fiction/dystopian novel? Let me know in the comments below. And if you have reviewed this book, then feel free to share your links in the comments section as well. <3