Prodigy Takes A Hit But Still Good For The Count
Prodigy by Marie Lu
A book review by Christopher Moore
The explosive follow-up to Legend sees June and Day journey to the military town of Vegas. Upon their arrival, they discover that the Elector Primo has died and his son, Anden, will succeed him. It took me a while to get around to reading the sequel, mainly because I feared that the secrets and betrayals that sustained my interest in the first book would be lost in the second instalment but boy, was I wrong! It takes a while to get into the swing of things but once June and Day meet with the Patriots, it all kicks off. Danger, adventure, romance, and action are all knitted into the plot to ensure an edge-of-your-seat read. It is slow at the beginning but read on because it is a gem.
Once again, the dual narration is sustained throughout. It allows us to observe what things are like in the Republic and with the Patriots simultaneously. Day’s narrative voice is lacking at times though while June’s narration is strong throughout.
I’m still having issues with the characterisation. Day seems a little hollow at times. The over-reliance on terms like “goddy” and “rich trot” make him sound a bit derivative. I like June aside from her lack of observation. I can understand how she was duped into believing her brother was murdered by Day in the first book but for God’s sake, she hasn’t gotten any more observant. I mean, she walks straight into the heart of the Republic without finding it strange that the Patriots are enjoying the Republic’s luxuries? It’s bizarre. I also question the love interests. Love triangles in YA are not uncommon but this is more of a love square and let’s face it, who wants to read about a love square? I don’t buy Tess’ dramatic transformation. Why does she have to be so irritatingly whiny?
I’m blown away with Lu’s world-building. She roots us in Vegas like we’re actually there – in her version of Vegas – and then transports us to the Colonies where she expertly and subtly draws comparisons between the Republic and the Colonies. Lu avoids lengthy descriptions and filters in detail so we can slowly paint a picture of her world.
Quality of Writing: 7/10
There’s no doubt about it: Lu’s writing is beautiful. I read a line and I think, “wow”, and then I read on and cringe. Case in point:
“He is beauty, inside and out. He is the silver lining in a world of darkness. He is my light.”
The last line alone would have sufficed. The first two sentences come off clichéd and I actually cringed reading these and similar lines.
Comparative Literature: 8/10
Lu’s follow-up isn’t as strong as the second novel of other dystopian trilogies. It lacks the quick pace and gruelling action scenes of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games: Catching Fire though that said, it’s still a good read. The secrets Lu’s characters carry give the story a complexity that other books – like Ally Condie’s Crossed – lack.
Overall Score: 80/100
NOW, to Skip to the GOOD BIT:
- Curveballs that hit you like a bucket of ice cold water
- Descriptions that transport you to a different world
- An ending that will leave you wanting more… and possibly in tears…
Books You May Also Like:
Crossed by Ally Condie – for more romance with your slice of dystopian fiction
Insurgent by Veronica Roth – if you want a side of danger with your rebellion
Champion by Marie Lu – because you’re definitely going to want to know how this one ends