Review: Prodigy (Legend #2) by Marie Lu

Rating: ***** / 5 out of 5
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopian, Action
Published January 29, 2013 by Putnam Juvenile
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June and Day arrive 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 vengeance, anger and blood—what if the Patriots are wrong?
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I’ll be honest here. I wasn’t expecting to love Prodigy at all, given my, erm, so-so/lukewarm response to its predecessor, Legend. While I enjoyed the previous installment, especially its abundant and thrilling action scenes, I did find it lacking in certain parts (such as plot, character development, drama and world-building… but let’s leave those for another day, yeah?) that made me just take and consume it as it is – an entertaining book, and nothing more, nothing less. It didn’t leave a lingering feeling of yearning or a reaction that go along the lines of, “Oh em gee, I frigging need the next book, like, IDK, NOW!” But Prodigy? Wow. Just… wow. It gave me what Legend didn’t. That impact. That sense of urgency. That BOOM KAPOW to the gut! Whew!

There are so many things that I like about this book. As previously stated, it’s a huge improvement, and becomes more than Legend in so many aspects. Here are the highlights:

Plot starts to have more substance, especially with all the political conspiracies and drama.

The story becomes especially exciting this time around. Yes, trouble is still brewing in the Republic; yes, the people are exhausted of the social injustices they face everyday; and no, the Elector’s death and his young son’s ascension doesn’t make things better. June and Day have joined forces with the Patriots, and find themselves included in a revolutionary plan that may make a new Republic, or destroy it. Trust me when I tell you the story will leave you absolutely breathless. It’s fast-paced. There’s a sense of purpose. A real sense of urgency. You think it’s predictable like Legend? Think again. Just when you thought you had it all figured out, the book smirks at you and gives you another frigging twist and/or political conspiracy that you just didn’t see coming. Things happen so fast here that even the readers will probably ask themselves where their loyalties are. Are you rooting for the Patriots? Or are you rooting for the new Elector?

June and Day come out of their cardboard shells.

One of the problems I encountered in Legend were the characters. June and Day were portrayed as two intelligent and strong 15 year old prodigies, both born into different classes. A rich girl looked up to by her aristocratic peers. A poor boy seen as a savior and a beacon of hope by the poor masses. As fun as they are to read, their “too-good-to-be-true” portrayals made them one-dimensional to me. I was afraid the same thing would happen here in Prodigy and that nothing would change, but thankfully and fortunately, they become more than their characters. In this installment, we see both of these protagonists experience a lot of struggles and internal conflicts that will eventually lead them into becoming more responsible and mature individuals. It was so good to see them grow up and be more than what was expected of them. There’s always a saying that it will get worse before it gets better, and that definitely is true here. I think this is the part I love the best, since it is during their maturity process that I’ve grown attached to them.

The world-building becomes clearer, making it easier to visualize.

In Legend, the world-building was hazy at best. In Legend, we only know of the Republic, which is run by a harsh military, who is at odds with the Colonies. The Republic chooses its brightest and the best through a process called “Trial”. Somehow it kind of ends there. But this gets expounded more in Prodigy and we get a wider and more profound view of the world. I think it was well thought out, and I’m really excited to see the rest of them in the future books :)

Side characters become more than just side characters. They get more exposure and more impact in the storyline.

If you loved the side characters in Legend, you’ll find yourself getting more attached to them here. They’re given heavier roles in the story, making them more involved than just being in the sidelines, and it was really heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time to see them grow and become more than they are. A lot of sacrifices are made, a lot of risky decisions and courageous attempts, and these things shaped them into becoming more than just a bystander – more than just someone who watches the events unfold. They became those events.

Marie Lu wrote a lot of risky twists in this story, twists that I didn’t see coming but welcomed nonetheless

If you read this book, prepare for a lot of angst up ahead. Marie Lu decided to become full-on badass and dumped a lot of twists in this story that will really pull your heart strings. I was actually quite surprised because not a lot of others take the route she took, but it was such a welcomed change in the pace of the story and it only made more fond of the characters and the conflicts they go through. Sigh. I wish Legend was as good as this, but nevermind, Prodigy totally made up for it :)

All in all, it was a highly impressive read. I’m so motivated now to read the rest of the series. I wish they release soon! It’s such a looong wait!

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Faye

Faye

A 21 years old Filipina who loves books, games, languages, and most especially, food. Secretly wishes to be an astronaut so she can explore the stars. Has a love-hate relationship with Philippine politics. To get in her good graces, offer her Foie Gras, Or shrimp. Or a JRPG. A YA sci-fi book works, too. You can follow her on twitter here: @kawaiileena

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  1. says

    I have been hearing lots of great, fantastic things about Prodigy, especially from people who didn’t enjoy Legend that much. Like you, I found Legend to be mediocre. There were certainly a lot better dystopians out there. I’m just waiting for this to come from my library so I can finally sink my teeth into it! Great review!

    • says

      Yes, Legend was definitely mediocre. It could’ve used a lot of character development and world building, but as I said in the review, Prodigy definitely makes up for it. I can’t wait to know what you think about it!

  2. Becky Gardner says

    This is a really good book. I was anticipating the release date weeks before it was able to be bought. It was a hard book to put down, and the writing was suburb, in which I could visualize the charector’s and the scenery in the background so well as if a movie of the book was playing in my head.

    So given that, I fully agree with your review of this book, and you really nailed a lot of great points about the book and why it should be a must read for all.

  3. Elizabeth says

    I liked LEGEND but thought it had major issues (the ending fell flat, for instance), so it’s good to know that PRODIGY is a big step forward!

  4. Thomas says

    Among the three books in the series, This one’s my Favorite. Legend is not that good as PRODIGY which is 5x greater than LEGEND. Champion on the other hand didn’t gave me a satisfactory ending. I WANT MORE!!!

  5. laila bc says

    i am glad you feel this same way about this sequel. i wasn’t so sure at first with this series after reading Legend, but with Prodigy this series really took off and ended with a cliffy that left me clamoring for the next book freaking ASAP! this was action packed and filled with some unpredictable twist that kept me on my toes. June and Day really started to transform before my very eyes. It was an exhilarating read. Thank you for this review Faye, you sum it up spot on :))

  6. says

    I love this review! I completely agree with all that you’ve said especially just recently I finished the book. Lu’s just such an impressive writer.