by Marie Lu
Published by Putnam Books
on January 29, 2013
Source: ARC giveaway at BEA (Book Expo America)
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.Spoiler free for Prodigy. One Legend spoiler -- sorry!
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?
My take: Fourteen months passed between the time I read Legend and the day I started Prodigy. I had just started reviewing when Legend came out, and I didn't review the book, and didn't take notes. So it was a bit of a problem for me that there's almost no recap in Prodigy. I mean, I don't want a huge info-dump, but I'm in the middle of a LOT of series,** so little memory-jogging is always appreciated.
All I really remembered about Legend was that June is some kind of child prodigy (ooh -- lightbulb moment on that title!) and darling of the Republic, while Day is a scrappy outsider. Then Day is accused of murdering June's beloved brother Mathias, and becomes the Republic's Most Wanted. But June realizes that Day is innocent. No spoilers there -- that's all pretty much in Legend's blurb.
Prodigy takes up right where Legend left off. June and Day are hiding on a train headed to Las Vegas, and Day has a badly injured leg. They are trying to make contact with the Patriots, a rebel group, and find Day's brother.
Like Legend, Prodigy's story alternates from June and Day's points of view, with June's in black text and Day's in blue. Usually in dual POV stories I prefer one point of view, and this time it was June's. I'm not sure if that was because I found Day's typeface a little harder on the eyes, or because his storyline dealt mostly with his medical problems, Patriot tactical strategy and arguing with Tess, a girl he grew up with, about why he shouldn't trust June.
Middle books in trilogies often either separate a couple or create circumstances in which their love is tested, and Prodigy is no exception, using the latter to great effect. I'd forgotten how ridiculously young these two are and what a short time they've known each other. At one point, Tess says to Day, "You think you're in love with a girl you've known for less than a month, a girl who's responsible for your mother's death." Me: Yes, exactly. And... what was that last part? I'd forgotten everything about Day's family from the first book and still am pretty much in the dark in that department. So I have to take Day's word that June is not technically responsible for his mother's death. But kind of.
June -- as the blurb indicates -- gets assigned to assassinate someone. She also throws knives, takes lie detector tests, plays dress-up, and generally does all this great Mata Hari stuff, which was a lot of fun. Needless to say, I loved her chapters.
Some people have said that a love rectangle develops in Prodigy, but I can't quite agree. Day's affection for Tess seems brotherly to me, and while June comes to admire Anden, the Elector-to-be, I thinks she's a straight-arrow of a girl who will at least figure out where she stands with Day before taking up with some other guy. The two do have a huge, nicely-written, wow-they-really-do-seem-like-a-real-couple kind of argument. Then there's a fantastic series of events around the assassination attempt that force Day to decide whether or not to trust June, the girl who he's known for a month who (kind of) killed his mother. Good stuff!
I won't tell you what Day decides. But right after he makes up his mind, there's a big "whoa" moment -- a shocking revelation. Interesting. Let's just hope this Romeo and Juliet-inspired dystopian tale doesn't wrap up as tragically as the original.
**So I always complain how many series I'm in the middle of, and this weekend I decided to put my money where my mouth was and count them. Here's the list. I stopped counting when I hit 75. That does NOT even count multiple books in the same series. And I don't think I'm that unusual.