Title: Prodigy (Legend #2)
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Release Date: January 29, 2013
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Prodigy begins shortly after Legend ends. Day and June are fleeing from the Republic, Day is injured and his older brother and mother have been killed by the Republic. With the help of the rebel group, the Patriots, and June, Day has fled from the firing squad that was meant to kill him but killed his brother instead. His younger brother, Eden, sick with the plague and is taken by the Elector Primo. Both Day and June have fought for their lives and lost those they love but the action is constantly there, never letting up for the prodigy fighter and beloved street con.
Once they have reached Vegas, a military town in the Republic's control, they learn something unimaginable has happened: the Elector Primo has died and his young son is to take his place. From here begins a wild tale of action, espionage, and an assassination attempt. Day and June join forces with the Patriots but they quickly learn they can never be too sure who they can trust.
I had a lot of fun entering into the world of the Legend series. Marie Lu does an amazing job of building the post-apocalyptic, wartorn world that is the future U.S. in both moments of still, coiled reflection and running, bounding adventure, I could picture the setting in detail. The abandoned buildings, the military ships, the tunnels, the streets that were Day's jungle gym. I loved flying and meandering and scratching my way through with Day and June.
As much as I loved the world-building, I loved the characters more. Both June and Day are kickass heroes who bend the stereotypical gender roles. June is the soldier. SHE is the one who is the strategist. That's not saying that she doesn't have her femininity and Day is emasculated, but her physical and intellectual strengths are respected, praised, and she herself is comfortable in them. She's the type of character I want to introduce my young cousins to because they (both girls and boys) need to see more characters, especially female characters, who think for themselves, make their own decisions, and genuinely cares about the people around them. And Day: he loves Junes BECAUSE of these attributes, not in spite of them. He's comfortable in letting the people he cares about know that he cares about them. They don't distrust each other and don't automatically assume the worst in the other. I love these two together. They retain their strengths and grow from them, becoming stronger.
Another thing I loved about Prodigy: Marie Lu consistently has characters surprising you. In this terrible future, where the U.S. has split in two, the women are just as strong as the men and the men don't balk at the idea of it. You meat numerous female generals and pilots and rebels. People's physical characteristics aren't telling of what they do and it was a pleasure finding the treasure hunt of the surprising characters.
And did you know that Marie Lu based Day and June's relationship off of Jean Valjean and Javert's relationship in Les Miserables?
Yeah, awesome, right?
Prodigy was a great sequel that I gobbled up. The twists and turns, the action, world-building, and strong characters have me excited to read book three.