Monday, April 29, 2013

Prodigy by Marie Lu

Prodigy by Marie Lu is the second book in the Legend series of novels for young adult reader set in a dystopian world where the ice over Anterctica has melted destabilizing the world causing strife around the globe and two successor states to rise out of the ruins of the former United States of America.

 The book itself begins after the events of Legend with Day and June on the run from the Republic and its thousands of troops trying to find the Patriots a rebel organization bent on reuniting the States. Unlike most novels set in a dystopian world the setting is just that a setting and while it does have a political point the characters and their development drive the story for its own end not to simply explore the world to a greater depth as most dystopian novels such as Huxley's Brave New World or Orwell's 1984 do. Furthermore in part because of these choices and several of the characters and plots within it make it resemble the cyberpunk genre more closely than the before mentioned dystopian genre although there is a large degree of overlap to be noticed both within the book as well as the literary styles.

There are only a few flaws with this book to be spoken of but they still must be addressed to begin with the book will seem disjointed to new readers; the reason as noted before is that the book is a sequel to an earlier book and while many stories begin with the story in motion in this book it creates a bit of a problem. The problem is that during the fast paced early chapters the reader is on overload trying to find out what is going on and more importantly why they should care about these characters, neither question is truly addressed until the character meet the rebel forces far after the beginning of the story. The other issue is that Lu makes several choices that cause the reader to have to suspend their disbelief to be able to enjoy the story, for example while reading the story most will assume the characters are in their early twenties or very late teens Lu places them firmly in their early to mid teens, kids who revolt, fight police and soldiers and two governments and still come out on top. The age issue becomes even more curious when very adult relationships begin to form between several of the characters in this novel and while Lu keeps it age appropriate it can come off as a bit confusing and make the reader believe that the age was chosen arbitrarily for the character to increase sales.

One very interesting aspect of the book is it the parallels that can be drawn between one of the main characters Anden becomes the new leader of the Republic and the rise and fall of Gorbachev of the Soviet Union. To explain a bit farther Gorbachev tried to reform the Soviet Union but a coup by conservatives in the party to stop these changes in fact caused it to finally collapse; in the story Anden gains power after the death of his father leading to a near revolution in the country and reforms promised by him.

The book itself for all of its shortcomings is an excellent read for fans of the series and has gained many positive reviews, for newcomers to the series it can still be an enjoyable read if a bit disjointed at first and by the end of the book you the reader will be attached enough to the plot to seemingly fly through it to the conclusion.

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