“Day jolts awake beside me.”
Within minutes of their arrival in Las Vegas in search of the Patriots, fugitives June and Day learn that the Elector has died and been replaced by his son, Anden. When the Patriots agree to take June and Day in on the condition that they assist in the assassination of the new Elector, the two young lovers must go their separate ways to play their parts in the plot; June, to Denver to manipulate Anden into falling into the Patriots’ plot, and Day, with the Patriots to stir up “the people” before he personally shoots the Elector. The roles they each play in the assassination plot causes them to question the nature of the Republic, the Patriots, and their relationship with each other.
First sentence: weak sauce.
Woof. This is the first book in a long time that I nearly gave up on after reading 200 pages. It was that bad. The best thing about the first book in this sequence, Legend, was its plot. It was fast, it was tense, it was an enjoyable popcorn read. This clunker of a sequel gets totally bogged down by plodding and incongruous character development and ANGST. So. Much. ANGST. I know this book is about teenagers. I get it. But do they have to be so fucking unbearable? Every time it switched to Day’s point of view I wanted to throw the book across the room. For being such a spontaneously charismatic orator in front of thousands of people, he sure does put his foot in it literally every other time he speaks.
Which brings me to my second issue: June and Day. Their total inability to communicate went from an interesting commentary on the gulf between the classes to being a constant pillow biter. Every single time they spoke to each other one of them said something ridiculously insensitive and pissed the other one off, to the point that I was ready for them to tell each other to fuck off and die and go their separate ways. The only time they actually liked each other was when June was all feverish and quasi-unconscious, which is generally a portent of doom when it comes to relationships. Marie Lu, here’s a hint: if you want people to side with your couple, you should make at least some of their page time enjoyable. Just a little. But, maybe that’s just me.
And, the love square. Jesus. Tess is thirteen years old and apparently has multiple personalities, because she flip flops between wide-eyed innocent healer girl that everyone just adores to a mean ass Hera of a jealous bitch. Her character was so unappealing that whenever we were left alone with her and Day to rehash her crush on him and his total shock that she’s not a little girl any more I felt myself die a little more inside. And re: Anden having a boner for June: he is twenty something and she is fifteen. Gross.
Now, the writing. I believe I mentioned in my review of Legend that the writing was no great shakes, but the abundance of hackneyed phrases in Prodigy made me feel like I was being stabbed in the brain every time I came across them. Lu clearly read reviews in which June’s keen eye for detail was a high point, because she took that element of description and used it. And used it. And used it. Until it was nothing but a distracting disruption to the narrative flow, especially considering she inserted the most banal details into June’s observations. In Legend we got the microscopic analysis that made June such a badass little bloodhound, but in Prodigy everything June looks at seems to get that treatment. Obnoxious.
The plot finally picks up a bit towards the end of the narrative only to be poisoned by a bizarrely out-of-place dose of melodrama. It kind of read like Days of Our Lives, but in a shitty, shitty future world. The last three lines, which I keep seeing quoted by sentimental teenage girls on Goodreads, made me want to barf:
He is beauty, inside and out.
He is the silver lining in a world of darkness.
He is my light.
I’m sorry, I thought I had picked up some YA dystopian sci-fi. I guess I picked upTwilight instead. Gag. Why, why, WHY did June, who somehow ended up being the most appealing character in this whole book, a fierce, hyper-logical, brilliant little femme fatale have to be reduced to a mewling, lovesick poop stain?
So, in case you were wondering: no, I will not be reading any further installments in this trilogy.
For music, I am taking it back to the emo I listened to when I was a teenager, because there isn’t really any (dare I say “adult”) music I can think of to capture the angst of both June’s and Day’s utter inability to express their GOOD feelings for each other. I.e.: “The Choke” by Saves the Day. And, for the record, I am sorry Saves the Day for pairing you with this book. My teenage self still loves you.