Book Two in the Legend series
By Marie Lu
Available now from Putnam (Penguin)
Read my review of LEGEND
PRODIGY lives up to the promise of LEGEND and then some. It's much bigger in scope than the first novel and adds a great deal of complexity for the setting. As Day and June become involved with the Patriots, they learn that the rebels' agenda might not be the best for the people and that the Colonies of America might not be that much better than the Republic. Not to mention Day and June's relationship started very quickly. When they're separated, they are forced to examine what they really want and how far they trust each other.
I really loved how Marie Lu handled the relationship. The book alternates viewpoints, making it easy to understand what both Day and June are thinking and how they interpret each other's actions. June in particular is awkward. She doesn't have any romantic experience and she's already off balance because fighting against the government is the exact opposite of what she expected to do with her life. She keeps putting her foot in her mouth and not explaining what she really meant because she's afraid of compounding her mistake. Their whirlwind romance didn't really work for me in LEGEND, so I appreciated that Lu slowed things down and gave those two crazy kids a chance to figure out why they were together, aside from attraction, and if they wanted to stay together.
Because they do have other options. Aside from the obvious - breaking up - they each gain a love interest. June's is Anden, the Elector's son, and the man June and Day are supposed to assassinate for the Patriots. June, however, is not entirely convinced that he'll follow in his father's footsteps. Day's is Tess, his companion from the streets with whom he reunites. While he notices she's grown up, it felt very weird because I was used to him seeing her as about ten years old. I didn't buy her suddenly being old enough to be a contender for Day's amorous affections.
But PRODIGY would be pretty lame if it was all about the romance. The majority of the novel is about the politics of Lu's future US and what is the ethical path to the greatest good. Lu's clearly spent a lot of time mapping out her world. I loved getting a glimpse beyond the borders of the Republic and the Colonies. What happens to the Republic is life and death for June and Day, but it's small potatoes to the world's population. (And guess what? A lot of African countries have become the major global powers.)
Of course, Lu is also proves to be excellent at tugging on your heartstrings. Metias's death becomes ever more tragic as more about who he was is revealed. Any deaths in PRODIGY have maximum impact. And let's not even talk about the major reveal at the end. One thing is for sure: I'm going to be back for book three.