Author: Marie Lu
Series: Legend, book #2
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Publication Date: January 29, 2013
Source: ARC gifted by Jen at YA Romantics
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
I was so excited to return to the world Marie Lu created in Legend that I may or may not have completely
overlooked forgotten the trouble June and Day were facing when the book ended. And when I opened Prodigy, there it was, glaring at me. Here we go again!
As fast-paced and keep-you-on-your-toes-crazy as Legend was, Patriot was even more so. I felt like I didn't even have a second to breathe as life-altering decisions were being made and a new facet of the war was unfolding. We didn't see much of the battle in Legend, and honestly, we still don't witness much of it in this sequel. What we do see is a war at home, a war between the people: between the Patriots and those still loyal to the Republic. And this is where June must make a choice. After the events that transpired in Legend, it is clearer than ever that Day will do whatever he can to save his younger brother and take down the Republic. But June -- though she has suffered losses just like Day at the hands of the Republic -- still finds it difficult to align herself with the Patriots, especially when their newest target is the new Elector, a young man she hardly knows but thinks is capable of bringing about great changes.
One of the things I praised Legend for was the great characterization, how genuine the characters felt. How, even if the transitions between June and Day's points-of-view hadn't been easily identifiable with the change in color and type-face (or the names heading up each chapter), I still would have been able to mark the difference between each voice because each was singular to the character it represented. I think that the characters are even more themselves in Prodigy. They are no longer pretending to be other; they just are who they are. Day is damn near enthusiastic, once he learns of the Patriots' plans to assassinate the young Elector. This government has taken almost everything from Day and he is ready to exact his revenge on everyone involved with it. June, on the other hand, senses something off about the Patriots' leader, but try as she might to call Day's attention to it and convince him that there might be another way to save his brother, she actually ends up causing him to second-guess her loyalty to the cause.
And herein lies the problem: there is such a disconnect, such a lack of communication between Day and June in this novel, that I almost began to wonder if they ever truly loved each other to begin with. Day lets the disparaging words of Tess and others grow his ever-increasing doubt in June's loyalties. And it doesn't help that June has been sent back to the Republic as a double-agent to lure the Elector into a trap. But even in the beginning of this book, it felt like something was missing between the pair. Maybe it's because I read Legend over a year ago that things feel all wrong, but doesn't June rescuing Day kind of negate everything else that happened?
Apparently not. But even if it did, you'd better believe that Tess won't let Day forget what June did, what hand she played in the events that led up to Day's capture. There's the potential here for a love square, but thankfully, the author doesn't let the characters get all angsty on us. Okay, well, they get a little angsty, especially when June and Day start internally reflecting on how they can ever work out, being from two different socioeconomic backgrounds as they are. And the differences between their worlds, their classes, is even more glaringly obvious now than it ever was before. But their introspection is necessary to show just how much each character has grown in such a short time. June won't make the same mistakes, won't trust so easily, and Day, well, he's obviously still learning to trust June.
It's a crazy world they live in, but they each just want to make it a better place for everyone and reunite the country. It's through their eyes that we start to see how the decline of North America came about in the first place. For those who complained that the world-building in Legend was sub-par, I think you'll be fairly impressed with what the author has done in Prodigy. Not only is there a history lesson in there, courtesy of the new Elector Primo, but we get a brief glance at how the Colonies are actually faring. That in itself was shocking.
What was even more shocking was the revelation made at the end of the book. I don't know if I'd call it a cliffhanger, but it is definitely a game-changer, that's for sure. I don't think I breathed for the last 60 pages or so of this book. I knew better than to expect any kind of happy ending since this is only the second book in a planned trilogy, but damn, Marie Lu really goes for the heart. I know, I know...should've seen it coming after what she put us through in Legend. And I suppose I did...there were subtle hints throughout the novel, but I turned a blind eye to them, in hopes that if I didn't acknowledge them, nothing bad could happen. Oh, what a fool I was.
In summation: lots of trust issues, a civilization on the brink of revolution, and a bit of angsty teenage romance to round out the whole shebang. And an ending that could quite possibly leave you in tears. Possibly. But I like to remain optimistic, and if these first two novels have taught me anything, it's that Marie Lu is full of surprises. Now, whether they're the good kind or not, I can't say. But I can hope. I'll be wishing on every falling star I see for an early copy of the final book in this series so that I don't have to wait in agony for another year.
"Well enough," I reply. "Remember, you're drunk. And happy. You're supposed to be lusting over your escort. Try smiling a little more."
Day plasters a giant artificial smile on his face. As charming as ever. "Aw, come on, sweetheart. I thought I was doing a pretty good job. I got my arm around the prettiest escort on this block -- how could I not be lusting over you? Don't I look like I'm lusting? This is me, lusting." His lashes flutter at me.