Review: “Prodigy” by Marie Lu

ProdigyProdigy (Legend #2) by Marie Lu

Goodreads | Amazon

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?

In this highly-anticipated sequel, Lu delivers a breathtaking thriller with high stakes and cinematic action.

2 1/2 stars

WARNING: This review WILL have spoilers of the first book; read my review of Legend if you’re interested!

I need to stop reading sophomore/middle/second books in trilogies. I can’t seem to find one that isn’t suffering from a sophomore slump HARD.

To put it bluntly? This was not a “breathtaking thriller”–I was so bored, I might not have finished the book if it wasn’t due back at the library and I didn’t want to have to rent it out again.

When the book begins, Day and June are hunting for the Patriots…despite the fact that Day has ardently tried to have nothing to do with them for years upon years. Right before they find the Patriots, the old Elector Primo dies and his son, Anden, ascends to the position. When they meet up with the Patriots, they realize–quite quickly and without asking the price–that it is best to take the mission the Patriots want to give them in order to get Day medical attention. Only after they agree are they told that the Patriots want them to assassinate the new Elector–and they want to pimp June out as bait.

Now, maybe this is a personal opinion, but Day and June’s relationship has always been iffy for me. I mean, they’re fifteen, even if it is hard to remember that sometimes. In Legend, I thought it could work because, hey, it’s young love and what have you. In Prodigy, it just gets ridiculous. Too much of the book is driven by their “love,” even though they spend a majority of the book apart. Also, I wasn’t kidding. The Patriots grand plan is to send June out to win the new Elector’s heart because he’s ridiculously attracted to this fifteen year old girl and wants to make her his wife so bad he conveniently forgets there’s pretty compelling evidence she’s a traitor. The entire situation makes me feel awkward, and I don’t buy a cent of it. It gets worse when even Lu seems to forget that they are actually fifteen, not older.

This isn’t the only characterization problem, though. Remember Day’s friend, Tessa? Well, when we get back to her–and it really hasn’t been that long since we’ve seen her–she’s suddenly really in love with Day and “a lot more grown up.” Though there may have been a gap between the publishing of the two books, in book time this is like her character flipped a switch real fast. Her severe hatred of all things June also makes this worse.

The way this book is written also works against it this time. It tries to go back and forth between Day and June, but this is totally Day’s book–despite the fact that June is the one constantly referred to as the “prodigy.” June has her own story line, yes, but where it really gets interesting is how it affects Day and their combined relationship.

There is also a brief jaunt into the Colonies for some reason, which paints the Colonies as some communist crazy town. Why this happens I have no idea, and it just seems to take up space at the end of the book.

I don’t want to spoil anything, but the ending is also a complete cliche. The things that happen between Day and June were the final straw in leaving me to close to book and whallop it against my forehead.

I continued to read this book for the character of Day, and he did not disappoint me–except when he was thinking about June. I honestly hope that they end up with different people, because that seems to make them both happier. I might read the last book in this trilogy, only because I made it so far. I rated Legend 4 stars, and I do think this story can get back to that. Here’s to hoping.

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Top Ten Most Anticipated Books For 2013

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish!

I’m fairly certain this entire topic lives to hurt my soul. ONLY TEN? ONLY TEN? The only way I could even CONCEIVE of doing this was by going by month and just picking the first 10 off the list. I’m ridiculously lucky I made it to March, and that was only through severe jumping of hoops.

1. Prophecy by Ellen Oh

You HAVE read this blurb, right? Because DROOL. I won a giveaway for bookmarks and a phone charm a little while ago, and I love both of them dearly. 😀

2. Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi

Under the Never Sky didn’t thrill me to begin with, but it really won me over in the end. (See my review!) Now I’m hooked, and I NEED to know what happens next!

3. Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans (due out January 15th)

I don’t know what it is about this book (well, besides the awesome cover and the freaking fantastic blurb) but I’ve been hooked on it ever since I first heard about it. I feel like it is going to be SUPER fantastic.

4. Shadows in the Silence by Courtney Allison Moulton (due out January 29th)

GUYS. GUYS IT’S THE THIRD AND FINAL ANGELFIRE BOOK. GUYS. I ALMOST CAN’T HANDLE IT. (Don’t miss my review of Wings of the Wicked!)

5. Asunder by Jodi Meadows (due out January 29th)

JANUARY 29TH IS GOING TO BE THE BEST DAY IN EVER OF EVER. YOU ALL SHOULD REALIZE THIS. (You did see my freak out in my review of the first one, right?)

6. Prodigy by Marie Lu (due out January 29th)

Okay, that’s it. On January 29th I’m going to die of happiness. (Even if Legend didn’t entirely thrill me, I still loved it.)

7. City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster (due out February 5th)

This was my Waiting on Wednesday a few weeks ago, and for good reason! I can’t get over this book blurb and cover!

8. Sever by Lauren DeStefano (due out February 12th)

This is one of the most interesting dystopian ideas I’ve yet to read. This is also the last book. AGH THE WAITING. (I reviewed both Wither and Fever on the blog!)

9. The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead (due out February 12th)

Have you missed my freak outs over Mead’s Vampire academy series? Bloodlines? The Golden Lily? BECAUSE I LOVE HER BOOKS AND OHMYGOD ADRIAN AND EEEEEK!

10. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare (due out March 19th)

GUYS. HAVE YOU NOT SEEN ME FREAK OUT OVER THESE BOOKS BEORE BECAUSE I FREAK OUT LIKE NOBODY’S BUSINESS AND I JUST CAN’T HANDLE MYSELF AND– Ahem.

Review: “Legend” by Marie Lu

Legend (Legend #1) by Marie Lu

Goodreads | Amazon

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.
From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.
Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills.

Four stars

On my birthday, I walked into my local indie bookstore and magically happened onto signed copies of Marie Lu’s Legend. I took it as a good sign.

And it was.

Legend was one of those books that I’d heard EVERYTHING about but had yet to actually pick up. In my dystopian rush, it found its way onto the back end and then my want to read dystopian vanished because they were FREAKING EVERYWHERE. But when your teeny tiny local indie has SIGNED STOCK, you do not look away.

Thank goodness, too.

I’m not sure what I expected out of this book, but I got the distinct impression from page one that it wasn’t what I thought. No, I still can’t pinpoint what exactly, but perhaps it was the writing of the book that was different then I expected. Let’s hit some of the things that confused me, first, so we can get that out of the way.

The book is written in the first person, switching back and forth from June and Day’s perspectives. From the beginning, I could not for the life of me remember that June and Day were only 15. In places, they were written feeling much older. In others, it felt like they were younger.

I was also expecting far more action than there was. When I think action, I think fight scenes, car chases, etc. There was in fact far more suspense, as June figures out who really killed her brother and Day tries to save his family.

The romance also threw me for a loop. I mean, Day and June are FIFTEEN. But even they are not immune to insta-love and … make out sessions? They are FIFTEEN. Plus, it almost felt like the romance was thrown in to make sense of June’s actions, but quite frankly I found it irrelevant. June and Day have a bond based on a heck of a lot more than liking to kiss each other, and I wish that had been highlighted more.

Curiously, it was the world building that confounded me most. I’m used to dystopians including infodumps after infodumps, or constructing flimsy worlds that need much more information. This world made plenty of sense and was in fact quite interesting, but there was still no explanation. I felt like I missed a whole chapter of explanation about how the US got to the place that it did in its history. Maybe I just read it too fast and missed it, but I would have died for more background then I got.

Now, I know, I’ve picked at EVERYTHING, right? Wrong. There were plenty of things in the book that I liked! I did like the world, as much as I got anyways, and I did like the characters. By themselves, June and Day were fantastically written. June’s commander seemed a little one-dimensional towards the end, but the character of Thomas was by far my favorite “grey” guy (i.e., not good, not bad … maybe :P). Lu certainly wasn’t afraid to let the bullets fly to raise the stakes, either, which was exciting. Once I got into the rhythm, I just let the book take me along for the ride.

I cannot wait for the second book in this series. The end of Legend left it open for SO MUCH to happen in SO MANY different ways, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. The end certainly held the action I’d been waiting for, and I think there’s going to be a lot more of it in the next one. I’m very glad I finally got around to starting this series, and now I don’t want to stop!

The second book in the Legend series, Prodigy, is schedule to be released January 29th, 2013.

Waiting on Wednesday #16

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine!

Title: Prodigy (Legend #2)

Author: Marie Lu

ETA: January 29, 2013

Summary from Goodreads: The Elector Primo of the Republic has died, with his son assuming power over what’s left of the USA’s West Coast as it teeters on full-blown chaos. June and Day join up with Patriot rebels so they can rescue Day’s brother and head east for the Colonies. In order to help, though, the rebels want June and Day to kill the new Elector, who may pose an even greater threat than his father.

Why I’m Waiting: I finally just finished reading Legend, and it was pretty good! Even my brother enjoyed it, which was awesome. Plus, that summary? It sounds SO DIFFERENT than anything I could have thought would happen. It’s already completely blown away my expectations, and it isn’t even released yet! The cover is also really neat looking, always a plus!