Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Book Review: Prodigy by Marie Lu

There's something about dystopian novels that arouses a sort of morbid curiosity within you. After all, you're reading about the world you live in today...gone wrong. And you can experience it pretty much first-hand in the safety and comfort of your own bed! Set in a post-flood, rogue America ravaged by war between the Republic and the Colonies, "Prodigy" by Marie Lu is the highly-anticipated second book in the "Legend" series.

June and Day arrive in Vegas to join the Patriot rebels when the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. The Patriots will help Day rescue his brother and offer safe passage to the Colonies. Their one request: June and Day must assassinate the new Elector. It's their chance to change the nation, to give a voice to a people silenced for too long. But as June realizes that Anden is nothing like his father, she's conflicted by the choice ahead. What if Anden is a new beginning? What if revolution must be more than just anger and bloodshed--what if the Patriots are wrong?

A lot of the reviews seem to just die in excitement and joy over "Prodigy", so I'm a little scared to say... I didn't really get hooked. In fact, it was a little flat in the first half of the book. And I think the main reason why this happened was because the two protagonists weren't super likable or engaging, and there was little character development, which made them a little too stale to be exciting. June is kind of a stick in the mud with analytical/survival skills that would have been impressive had they not been overdone. She doesn't find expressing emotions other than anger and kick-ass-ability very natural, which I think is fine...but she remains like this until the very end. As for Day, he's a little more exciting, I think, because he does grow into more of a leader figure and accepts that responsibility, but he's a little angsty throughout the book, which I guess is natural for a fifteen, sixteen year old boy. Which brings me to another point. I found it a little hard to believe that June and Day are so young! They're leaping across buildings and doing all of these pretty mature things, and they're only meant to be in the ninth grade. It's understandable that they've been forced to act older than they are because of the world they live in, but I feel like had they been a little older it would have been a little more believable. But then again that isn't too big of an issue...I'm just nitpicking.

Having said all of that, the different relationships in the novel are interesting and do make June and Day a little bit more relatable. Tess and Anden do add some tension to the romance between the two protagonists, though I'd wish I'd seen more of a development between Anden and June since it seemed a little sudden and strained. Metias is also one character who makes June more believable and human, because you can see her weakness and longing for her brother. I also liked Kaede's character, who's a kick-ass, wild flyer with a lot of spunk and attitude--a definite contrast with June and Day and a lot more likable.

Having said all of that, "Prodigy" is still an interesting sequel to "Legend". I probably made it seem like I absolutely hated June and Day, but I don't. It's just that they're a little bit unrealistic to be relatable or engaging, which may have detracted from the exciting events that happen in the storyline. I felt my heart racing toward the last quarter of the book, where things definitely picked up and everything was happening quickly. The twists in the plot really added to the tension and set up some unresolved problems and questions that I'm interested to see unfold in the next book.

All in all, "Prodigy" is a pretty interesting sequel to "Legend" and is worth the quick read. I've read a lot of great, extremely enthusiastic reviews about the book, but I don't think it really hooked me in for some reason or the other. I'd still recommend it for those who enjoy dystopian adventures, and I'll still be checking out the next book to see how everything turns out!

Rating: 3/5

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