**This is the second book in the Legend series so there may be some spoilers in this review for those who have not read the first book. If you would like to read my review of the first book, Legend, click here**
After the amazement at discovering such a great series a couple of months ago, I knew I had to get my hands on a copy of the sequel to Legend soon. With a quick perusal of my library's funky new website, a reserve and a phone call informing me PRODIGY was ready and waiting for me at my library, I had the chance to find out what's next for June and Day.
Synopsis: June and Day arrive in Las Vegas after June helped Day escape his execution. However, within hours of being there, it is announced that the Elector Primo has died with his young son, Anden taking his place. The pair join a group of Patriots - rebels fighting against the Republic government who want to see a united America once again - who are eager for June and Day's involvement. They will help Day find his brother, but only if they help assassinate the new Elector and push the Republic into chaos and revolution. It is the chance to save a nation that has been silenced for so long. But soon, June starts to question whether this is right, are they getting the full story and ultimately, what if Auden is the right person to be Elector?
Review: Okay, so I thought Legend, the first in this extraordinary series, was pretty good, very different and original from many other dystopians out there. But then I read PRODIGY. And Marie Lu just blew me away. Again. But so much more. SOMEHOW I thought this was better than Legend and that book was pretty darn good.
Part of the beauty of dystopians is the action that makes the genre a bit more interesting apart from the whole corrupt world thing. In many dystopian sequels, there is a different kind of 'second-book-syndrome'. Gone is the definition that the second book cannot live up to the first. FAR from that. The second books in many series - Insurgent by Veronica Roth (Divergent series), Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games series) and Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver (Delirium series) to name a few - seem to just be so action packed, like EVERYTHING seems to happen. I guess it's probably because in these trilogies, there is no world-building or setting up the story neither is there any tying up loose ends or creating an ending. But I find, in all the three novels mentioned, the action becomes waaaaay too intense. Just too much to absorb for the humble reader.
BUT in PRODIGY, does that happen? NO. This is so action-packed, don't get me wrong, like literally some chapters - make that MOST chapters, I was breathless by the end, needing a little break to absorb and understand what on earth just happened. But something I found in this novel is that the action was never too much, never too intense and chaotic to read. It's almost cinematic in a way as it is so vivid that I could visualise it all happening so clearly. And THAT, my friends, is due to the amazing writing of Miss Marie Lu.
Lu moves the plot incredibly fast especially with the duel narrative from Day and June, but there are these moments that arise from the surface, moments of romance, kindness, sadness, fear, death. All these emotional moments that once she slows the writing down, the reader appreciates them in full. It's incredibly hard to describe, but if you've read the novel, I really hope you understand what I'm jabbering on about.
There is something compulsive about Marie Lu's writing. She just makes me want to read and read on and on which had me telling myself 'I'll go to sleep after this chapter'. I read half of the book in a couple of hours late one night which as a slow reader, that is a huge achievement for me.
Ah! The characters! I loved June and Day much more and I just love that both these characters share the spotlight in the narrative. These are both quite complex characters who both have a real depth to them and that is handled perfectly. They continue to develop individually and in their relationship together yet none of the aspects that make them so unique and likable in the first book is lost at all.
Some authors have a habit of not developing or evolving their secondary characters which most of the time, make books better or worse whatever the genre. In PRODIGY, that certainly happens in Kaede and Tess as well as the addition of some new characters like Razor, a commander, and Anden (who is just too lovely!). I thought some characters that were in the first book, like Thomas, were left out a little bit. He does appear briefly but then doesn't return so I hope he comes back in the third book.
Can we just pause and look at the ending? I mean Legend was a little bit of a cliffhanger, with me literally about to fall of the edge. BUT THIS ENDING IS JUST...AH. IT'S SO MEAN.
Without ruining anything, for the last quarter of the book, I was sitting there thinking 'This is such a closed ending'. Like it seemed like an end to the series but I KNEW that there was a third book and I was thinking 'What the hell is going to happen in that book then?'.
THEN. POW, POW, POW. All these events and things are thrown at me and before I can react, before I can even think, before I absorb these sudden change of events, it's the last line of the book and once again I'm turning the pages frantically looking for the rest of the story. So basically, watch out for that killer of an end. Because it's unexpected. So unexpected.
If this review didn't quite illustrate my thoughts, in a sentence: this book was brilliant. So brilliant. (okay so two sentences).
It's hard to fathom how good it is and what makes it this good but I'm pretty sure if you read this series and enjoyed it as I did then you'll understand. I haven't come across an amazing dystopian series like this since Divergent, and I read a lot of dystopian fiction. I'll be in the queue for definite for the third and final book and eagerly anticipating with Marie Lu is going to face me with now.
Go buy this book. Buy this series and celebrate the beauty of reading. This book reminded me I'm so in love with reading. And that is just what the doctor ordered.
My thoughts are pretty much summed up in this review I found on Goodreads including the whole thing at the beginning about wondering what I would do if I encountered a zombie. True fact.
I give it a 5 out of 5
Author's Website: http://marielu.org/
Legend - Marie Lu
Noble Conflict - Malorie Blackman
The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness
Divergent - Veronica Roth