Monday, March 25, 2013

Prodigy Book Review

Author: Marie Lu. Release date: 2013. Publisher: Putnam Juvenile. ISBN: 9780399256769.

Annotation: After escaping execution, Day and June are on the run from the Republic. They soon find themselves seeking refuge among the Patriots, an anti-Republic group lead by a man named Razor. In order to keep them safe and help them free Day’s brother Eden, the Patriots make June and Day an offer:  help them assassinate the Elector.

Personal thoughts: I enjoyed Legend quite a bit, but after now after reading Prodigy I can safely say that I have morphed into a huge fan of Marie Lu’s series. I really like the world she has created, especially since we got to learn more about it in this novel. I found myself liking Day and June a lot more than I did in Legend, particularly June who is given the opportunity to come out of her “Republic soldier genius” shell in Prodigy. I would easily recommend this trilogy to fans of dystopian novels, especially readers who are pining for something Hunger Games-y. I am really looking forward to the third novel!

Plot summary: After narrowly escaping execution, Day and June are on the run from the Republic. Not sure where to turn for safety, they soon find themselves at the mercy of the Patriots: an anti-Republic group lead by a man named Razor. The Patriots want to unite the Republic and the Colonies and bring about the return of the United States of America, and offer to help Day and June in exchange for their assistance in bringing about a revolution. After the Elector Primo dies and his son, Anden, takes over as leader of the Republic, the Patriots see their chance to create an uprising. In order to do so, they will assassinate the new Elector; more specifically, Day will pull the trigger. Day and June reluctantly agree to the Patriots’ plan, having nowhere else to turn and desperately wanting the help of the Patriots in rescuing Day’s brother Eden from the clutches of the Republic. But can Day and June truly trust Razor and the rest of the Patriots, or is there something, or someone, else behind the plot to assassinate the new Elector?

Review: Following up 2012’s best-selling and hugely popular Legend was, undoubtedly, a daunting task for author Marie Lu. Fortunately, the sequel, Prodigy, not only lives up to but surpasses its predecessor, bringing the Legend trilogy safely to the forefront of the young adult genre. Where Legend spent a great deal of time setting the stage for the story (i.e. firmly establishing the totalitarian brutality of the Republic, building the romance between Day and June, etc), Prodigy gets to use this plot construction as a springboard into a very exciting series of twists and turns. Full of action from start to finish, most readers will have trouble putting the book down. Day and June are further developed, as are some additional characters, making the reader a lot more invested in the story than they might have been in Legend. In addition, a lot of information is revealed, propelling the world Marie Lu has created into very intriguing new areas. Overall, a stellar sequel that is sure to please already existing fans and draw in new readers as well. The third and final novel in the trilogy, Champion, is set to be released in 2014.

Genre:  Science-Fiction

Reading level: Grade 7+

Similar titles: The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, Divergent series by Veronica Roth, The Pledge series by Kimberly Derting, Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi, Under the Never Sky series by Veronica Rossi, Across the Universe trilogy by Beth Revis, Cinder series by Marissa Meyer.  

Themes:  Dystopian, oppression, government control, loyalty, conspiracy, assassination, trust, love.

Awards/Reviews:  Starred review from Publishers Weekly and Shelf Awareness. Positive reviews from New York Journal of Books, Entertainment Weekly and Los Angeles Times.  

Series Information: Second installment in Legend trilogy. First novel, Legend, released in 2011. Third novel, Champion, set to be released in 2014.   

Discussion questions:

-        Which novel did you like more: Legend or Prodigy? Why?

-      Explain the title of the novel. What is a prodigy? Who is the title referring to?

-          Who would you describe as the protagonists and antagonists in the novel? Do they change as the story progresses?
-        What does the paper clip ring symbolize?

-        If you were Day or June, would you have agreed to be a part of the Patriots' plan? Why or why not?

-         Why does the relationship between Tess and Day become strained? Do you think that’s normal?

-         Who is your favorite character in the novel? Why?

-         What would you like to see happen in the third novel, Champion?

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