Monday, February 18, 2013

Review: Prodigy

Author: Marie Lu
Published: January 29, 2013
384 Pages
4 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

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?

Lu has taken the dystopian craze and made it into a civil war novel as well. Although there is disease killing those living in this world, it's not the main focal point. In fact, you almost forget its there until its mentioned and I like that about this series. It does not force us to look this plague in the eye, just like most of the people involved don't. It's always there, lingering in the background, but it's more important to have a reliable government to take care of it than it is to run from it. 

June used to be the government's prodigy, that is until she helped rescue Day from his public death penelty. Now, on the run with the Republic's most notorious criminal, June needs to figure out where her loyalties lay. Working with the Patriots, a group of rebels set to take down the Republic, June and Day are given the task to assassinate the new Elector Primo, a young man whom June has met before. Before they know it, June and Day are separated and June is getting herself kidnapped in order to talk to the new Elector. 

Lu's pace for these novels keeps the story going fluently. With both June and Day's point of views, we see how each of them is dealing with everything that's been happening and get to see more action when they are apart. They learn a lot about each other and themselves in this second instalment, which I think is important in the long run. For teenagers, especially in YA fiction, the love they feel is usually the first time they've felt that way, so I think it's important to show that just because they like one person, that doesn't mean there isn't the possibility to love others. Even if nothing happens with those other people (no need for love triangles) it's the fact that they're young and they wonder what if? Few authors can tap into this without making it into a love triangle and I think Lu has done it right. It reminds me of Rossi's Through the Ever Night, where there are other people interested in the main characters, and they may flirt with the idea but they don't follow through with it. It's part of growing up and to me, it makes the main relationship stronger in the end.

There is definitely a uniqueness to this series that gives it its own voice. June and Day are both strong, confident characters, and are both a welcome change from the usual teens we see in some series. They are good to each other, good for each other, and deserve a happy ending. No spoilers allowed. Lu certainly knows how to capture our attention and not let it go. Although I found the book slow at times, it would pick up speed in the next chapter and I'd want to keep reading. Every character is so unique that it's hard to pick a favourite. The minor characters are just as important as June and Day, such as Tess and Kaede. Anden, the Elector, was a breath of fresh air for the government and it gives me some good hope for the final book in the series. Matias still plays a large part in this novel even though he is no longer alive. His role as June's older brother is so significant that he is almost a main character. 

Everything that happened in the first book comes crashing in on our main characters and they set out on new journeys, meet new people, and discover more things about the government they really know nothing about. Everything leads up to what will surely be an action packed finale. This book will break your heart, mend it, and then break it again. You've been warned, but it'll still be one of the best adventures you will read.

“He pauses when he finishes undoing the last button, then closes his eyes. I can see the pain slashed across his face, and the sight tears at me. The Republic's most wanted criminal is just a boy, sitting before me, suddenly vulnerable, laying all his weaknesses out for me to see.” 

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