Just last week, I praised Marie Lu’s debut Young Adult novel, Legend. Legend is a dystopian novel about two teenagers who were raised in very different situations as a product of the war between the nations that used to be the United States of America. June is the touted prodigy who grew up in the rich military district in the Republic while Day is the Republic’s most wanted criminal. They meet under drastic circumstances that serve as the catalyst for the rest of the epic tale. I had mentioned how the ending of Legend literally explodes, leaving you in a nail biting cliff hanger. I luckily did not have to suffer through the anticipation long, because I was given an advance copy of the sequel, Prodigy by Marie Lu (in stores on January 29, 2013!).
What is Prodigy about?
Prodigy begins only a few days after Legend ends, with June and Day now on the run from the Republic government. When they worry that an injury Day sustains during their escape can be fatal, they have no other option but to turn to the Patriots, a rebel group that helped June and Day escape public execution.
The Patriots agree to help the two, but at a cost: Day and June must work in conjunction with the Patriots to betray and murder the Republic’s leader, transforming the nation into chaos. Thus begins a fast-paced journey as Day and June work to uncover the secrets of the nation and decide where their real loyalties lie.
What is my verdict on Prodigy?
I can’t say this enough: Prodigy is a brilliant follow-up to Lu’s debut novel. Completely brilliant. Prodigy has a lot of expectation built with it, considering how Legend ends. It’s only natural that readers would be worried about the way the novel would play out, but I don’t think they will be disappointed. Whereas Legend is primarily based in Los Angeles, the landscape in Prodigy is constantly changing, from Las Vegas, to Denver, to the Colonies, and back. I was absolutely enthralled by the climax of the novel — it was a spinning description that has your heart rate up until it crashes down into an emotional pit.
The character development is phenomenal in the sequel. The two teenagers are barely passing 16 but have to make big life choices that will define, not only their own futures, but the future of an entire nation. June proves to be a complex character that isn’t only about her cold logic, and Day brings about the most emotional scenes that will have you tearing up.
But my absolute favorite character in this novel is Kaede, the spunky Patriots pilot that shows up as a bartender in the first novel. While only a secondary character, the complexity of her history and strength of character is only what most writers would hope to achieve with their cast of characters. I could do without Tess, who is rather immature (but who can blame her; she’s barely 14) and a few other undeveloped characters, but my attachment for Kaede has me forgiving any other characters’ flaws.
The twist at the end of this novel has got me at an absolute loss as to how the third novel will even play out. I can only hope it will come out soon, but alas, that is the curse of getting an advance copy of a book!
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