Prodigy - YA Review by Elise S

Reader:  Elise S
Age: 17
Title: Prodigy
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: The Penguin Group
Pub Date: 1/29/13
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: Prodigy was missing the same zap that Legend drew me in with. Reading the first book it was absolutely exhilarating to process this whole new world, finding similarities to our own backward politics. I came to the end wanting conclusion, only to be told that this whole story was going to keep on going. YA is flooded with sequels, prequels, trilogies, quartets, quintets, and series, series, series. I wanted Legend to have its whole plot arc in that book, which, with some careful editing, is completely doable. Prodigy affirmed that wish. Some plot and character back story would have to be cut, but in my experience with rewrites that can be an extremely helpful step. A solid condensing of the story into one, fabulous standalone book would launch Lu’s series to the next level.
Memorable or Forgettable: Hollywood knows the power of a good action flick, but I think YA fiction is still discovering the wonder of a book that turns off your mind, while still engaging your emotions. Marie Lu balances quality and fluff into perfect equilibrium for AP testing season.  I received Legend in the mail about a year ago, and was honestly blown away. The plot drew me in, the character development and realization process was masterfully paced, and the relationship between political power structures and justice shot just enough of a thoughtful-edge into a fun novel. Prodigy echoes many of these qualities. The fast fighting kept me reading with its sheer entertainment value. The characters still thought at a believably interactive clip. The injuries actually took time to heal themselves (a detail which a surprising number of author overlook).
Cover: The covers were a point for improvement. What they lacked, in the words of the wise Project Runway, was “wow factor.” The chrome palate and nondescript symbol frankly do not stand out in a sea of post-apocalyptic fiction. Overall, design needs to be reevaluated for that special BANG that makes Legend really different, because there is so much well used potential. Prodigy has that same spark, but to really ignite the fire that could make it amazing, the books should have been condensed into a stand alone, and it needs a better package. Right now they’re enjoyable; with a little bit of work, they could be a smash.
Age Range: 12 through 15
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

tags: science fiction / romance / intrigue / BFYA nominee / ya lit

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