Prodigy by Marie Lu

Prodigy: A Legend Novel

I’ve become a fan of dystopian young adult fiction ever since picking up The Hunger Games.  Of course, there’s a lot of it out there now, so finding something that has a spark of originality in it can be difficult.  I found that spark last year in Marie Lu’s Legend, and the sequel Prodigy maintains the same high standard.

(Description nicked from the author’s website.)

“June and Dayarrive 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 vengence, anger and blood—what if the Patriots are wrong?”

The first thing that comes to mind after reading this book is “Thank goodness, a trilogy in which the second novel doesn’t disappoint!”  A problem with trilogies is often that the middle book suffers—it’s not the first volume that sets things up, and it’s not the last novel in which the big climax is revealed.  Luckily, Prodigy doesn’t have that slump that often plagues trilogies.  There is plenty of action and lots of information about the world that Lu has created.

Whereas in the first novel I thought that June and Day’s relationship verged a bit on the unbelievable, this time out it was more solid.  Their connection is undeniable, but the author doesn’t ignore the problems inherent in a relationship between two people who are socially so unequal.  Neither really understands the world (and worldview) that the other has internalized, and it leads to some lapses in trust that cost them dearly.

The worldbuilding is as strong as ever, with readers getting not only a bigger picture of the world at large, but also at the roots of the conflict between the Republic and the Colonies.  On a smaller scale, there’s also some light shed on how the Republic came about and turned into the darker society that we see in this story.

Something that I really liked was how Lu plays with the notions of who is the “bad guy” in this society.  What you think you believe in the Elector Primo versus the Patriots, the Republic versus the Colonies, and military versus civilians is liable to be turned on its head a few times as you’re reading.  While there are a few things that you can guess at before the tale confirms it, other things are complete surprises.  A novel that keeps me in suspense always gets high marks.

Marie Lu is creating the most intriguing young adult dystopian trilogy since The Hunger Games burst onto the scene.  Filled with action, suspense and some surprising twists, Prodigy is a novel that I’ll most definitely be keeping on my shelves.

Also by this author: Legend

This review appeared on Owlcat Mountain on February 5, 2013.

Series: Legend
ISBN: 9780399256769
Publisher: Penguin Putnam
Page Count: 384
Publication Date: January 29, 2013
Acquired: Provided by the publisher
Author Website
Read an excerpt