“He is beauty, inside and out.
He is the silver lining in a world of darkness.
He is my light.”
-Marie Lu, ‘Prodigy’
Prodigy is the second book in a young adult dystopian trilogy written by Marie Lu. Check out my review of the first book, Legend!
I had two big hopes when going into this sequel;
2: Defeat the Y.A romance cliche, where in the first book the main couple is madly in love and nothing can stop them, then in the second book one of them (usually the girl) is ‘tempted’ by another guy while she and her boyfriend are having angsty arguments and begin to realize that love is hard.
My first big hope was met quickly and effortlessly; while this sequel takes place very shortly after the final events of the previous book, Marie Lu does a much better job of pacing out the major events of the plot in a way which feels a lot more natural. There is considerable character development compared to the first book, and although there is (once again) still little-to-no different between June and Day’s inner narratives, the sentence structure and over all writing is a lot better than in ‘Legend’.
My second big hope was not met; the ‘cliche’ per say, still occurs, and it can even be argued that this ‘temptation and angst+slight love triangle’ cliche is the biggest influence of all the character development in this book. However, I was not disappointed.
The author takes this tiresome trope, and uses it in a way that not only is (finally!!) realistic, but makes sense, too. Despite the oncoming revolution, the need to rebel and her loyalty to Day, June can’t help but feel drawn to the comfort of the Republic and to its young, handsome new leader.
She can see that he’s trying to make a difference in the country (albeit in a far less rebelling way) and wants to trust him, but feels as though doing so is turning her back on Day and her promise to serve the revolution. Does June only trust him because deep down she desires comfort and familiarity, and was groomed to be a loyal soldier?
Day finds himself going through a similar situation, as seeing June working a double-agent job throughout the majority of the book has him asking himself not only if he can really trust this girl, whom he hasn’t really known that long, but if, as a street fugitive and the face of the rebellion, he can really care for her the way he feels she deserves.
The romantic context and subplot of this book are by far the best aspects, since, once again, any twists or sudden happenings in this book are fairly predictable. However, what I love about this series the more it unfolds, is how heavily-rooted in politics and political themes it seems to be.
The new Elector was unfairly chosen as the leader of a totalitarian, military government full of people who hate him. But is everything, if anything, really his fault? Or is he really that bad of a person?
The rebelling Patriots want to take down the government and have the nation rejoin with the rival country of the American Colonies, but what if this land full of better technology and more freedoms isn’t all it’s cracked up to be?
The ‘Legend’ trilogy by Marie Lu is turning out to be, in my opinion, a very important series for young people to read, because it teaches the reader that, just like in real life, a world full of political propaganda and strategy is rarely as it seems!