Yanni, stop reading this.
Hopefully she’s gone now and we won’t ruin the book for her.
Oh come on. Let’s be honest. This is Yanni. No warning labels will be able to deter her. Speaking of warning labels….
This review is full of me dealing with the emotional state the ending of Prodigy has left me in. Especially near the end of this. Blame Marie Lu and her evil genius writing skills. If you want a coherent, structured review with no rambling and no raw pain, then just leave. Save yourself from the horrors that lie ahead.
Prodigy is the sequel to the amazing amazing amazing Legend, where lots of stuff happens (seriously, I can’t be more specific. Yanni’s reading this, I know, and I can’t let her ruin it for herself).
If you haven’t read Legend, the quick answer to this is to go and read Legend, because you’re not going to understand what’s going on otherwise. Seriously, you won’t regret it.
For those of you who have stayed (and Yanni, who’s probably fruitlessly searching for spoilers which I WILL NOT GIVE TO HER NO WAY), here’s a summary.
The Elector Primo has died, and Anden, his son, has been chosen to be the new Elector. June and Day are hired by the Patriots to assassinate him. That’s really all I can share.
(Side note: If you think there are a lot of cons comparatively compared to other books with similar ratings as this one, it’s mainly because I’m grasping around trying to find bad things to say, so this isn’t completely a shower of praise and emotions. Also, most of these things are personal annoyances rather than actual problems.)
Love Triangles and Bermudalees
Bermudalee – Definition: A Love Triangle that is one sided. Named after the romance of Todd and Viola, from the Chaos Walking Trilogy, in which Lee wants to be with Viola, but she does not reciprocate those feelings, and eventually she ends up with Todd.
No, this is not an actual thing. I just made it up because it sounded cool in my head. (Because it’s BermudaLEE. Get it? Right, sorry, I should try not to make jokes. I just really love bad puns and funny words.)
What was the point of this again… oh right!
Prodigy has a LOT of love triangles.
For most people this would be fine, good even. But my personal growing dislike over love triangles in YA Fiction has caused me to put it in the cons.
Not that the love triangles weren’t done well, because they were. It’s just that in general, I can’t stand them. I can stand Bermudalees, for example the obvious one involving Pascao. (Though I don’t know if attraction to Day counts as a Bermudalee any more, since everyone who likes guys will instantly fall for Day. He’s like a freaking enormous magnet for romantic attraction.) However, my dislike of Love Triangles – and Love Squares, which did also feature – made me very conflicted about it. I dislike them so much that I’d just rather the third point would die, even if I like them as a character.
Now, I’m not going to name some points of the Love Triangle, in case Yanni hasn’t already pried this out of me, but believe me, they are more like Bermudalees. It’s obvious who will end up together in the end. (Or at least it was, until Marie Lu dropped the bombshell of an ending on us and left me and my emotions dead on the floor.)
Great writing, great character development by Marie Lu, and it really did make an interesting dilemma in the plotline.
Tess was like one of my favourite characters, (which makes her fate make sense, since most of my other favourite characters in Legend end up dead or kidnapped), and then Prodigy happened.
Seriously, Tess, you just had to make it so complicated. You just had to ruin Day’s resolve and fill him with doubt. You just had to insult my number one favourite character (if you haven’t guessed it, it’s June) multiple times and then be adorable and lovely the next instance, so that even I was conflicted about whether I liked you or not.
Seriously, great writing, because I ended up getting so attached to the situation, and only really good books can do that. Tess, why do you have to be so infuriating?
This is not a criticism. This is merely speculation. I am not saying that Marie Lu copied Suzanne Collins and Lauren Oliver, or vice versa. Complete and total speculation.
I read Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver not so long ago, and this may just be my weird brain picking up connections, but I couldn’t help but see lots of similarities between Pandemonium, Mockingjay and Prodigy. (Which is funny, because Pandemonium and Mockingjay combined kind of sounds like Prodigy… If you try really hard and delude yourself because actually no, it doesn’t sound like that at all).
(Another side note: I’m using a lot of brackets in this review; far more than I would usually use. I think by obsessive reading of this book has made me start talking like June.)
In Mockingjay, (SPOILERS IF YOU HAVEN’T READ IT) Katniss is tasked with aiding the rebellion and assassinating President Snow, but finds herself feeling more like a pawn for district 13, and not trusting their motives. She ends up murdering Coin instead, and President Snow gets trampled by protestors or the crowd or something. Seriously, it’s been a long time since I read Mockingjay.
In Pandemonium, (MORE SPOILERS) Lena goes undercover from the Wilds, and ends up being kidnapped with Julian, the son of the mayor or president or something important. While undercover, she falls in love with him, and finds out this other thing about the savages that I can’t say because it’s a massive spoiler for Prodigy. And then her previous boyfriend that she believed to be dead, walks in on her and Julian making out (which just screams awkward).
So yeah. Let me put it this way. Day is kind of like Katniss; June is kind of like Lena. Not in terms of personality (god no, their personalities are so different), but in terms of situation. I can’t even give a comparison because that has way too many spoilers in it. Just believe me, the similarities are there if you look for them.
Seriously, I might need to rewrite this after Yanni reads Prodigy. I hate trying to keep stuff spoiler free when I just want to scream OH MY GOD THE BIT WITH THE THING AND THE STUFF WASN’T IT AMAZING.
Holy Freaking Waffles this review is getting long. As long as it doesn’t surpass the hush, hush word count, then I’m sure we’ll be fine.
God, I need to learn how to stop rambling.
Stop it, Weishi. (That’s me, by the way. I’m not talking to some random stranger in my head.) Get back to the point.
Let’s cover the basics, before we start going into lots of rambling details.
Plot – Awesome. At first I thought it was predictable, but it turned into much more than what I expected.
Characters – Heartbreakingly awesome. A lot of development happens in Prodigy, and we really see the good and ugly sides of these characters.
Writing Style – Awesome and completely fitting for the characters.
Conclusion – Awesome.
Day & June
I feel like they deserve they’re own section, because I love those guys so much.
Prodigy is told from two alternating POVs, Day and June, so we really get a good look at these characters. I always thought it was very interesting to see the similarities in their points of view – how it is very matter of fact, intelligent and observant – but also the large differences.
Day’s POV always consists of more slang and emotion than June’s, which is usually very blunt and factual (with brackets around details of her observations, whether it’s the time down to the second, or the exact height and weight of something from a glance). The writing is not very flowery or descriptive, but it’s not plain, either. Understandable, considering their characters. Day and June are two teenagers that have had to grow up extremely fast, and are a lot more mature than their years. They have been through horrible situations, and treated more like adults than children. They witness horrible deaths of the people close to them, and constantly have to be checking if they can trust anyone, or it might get them killed.
It makes sense that their narrations are going to be very realistic, analytical, and very blunt. They’re not going to have the flowing, descriptive, idealistic nature that’s present in Pandemonium or Matched – stories about the beauty of poetry, art and love being oppressed by an overbearing government, and our narrators struggling to bring it back. While I love this descriptive writing style, it just wouldn’t work in the Legend trilogy, with two characters who are completely the opposite of these idealistic dreamers. Many times, I forgot that Day and June were just kids, and found myself imagining them as in their twenties, because of the maturity that they were forced to develop, and the sheer lack of naivety and false hope in their voices, that they probably grew out of a long time ago.
June is my favourite character, for the reason that she is complete bad ass. She begins as cold, ruthless and a seemingly unstoppable military prodigy. A lot of these seemingly badass girls in YA Fiction usually have some sort of deep, emotional side buried under these false layers, and turn out to be more of an object of pity than action hero. June is not like that. You can’t exploit her, even with her deepest weaknesses. You punch her, and she’ll probably slice that arm off. She’s far from perfect, but her flaws (mainly of being very awkward and very disconnected from her emotions as well as her inability to show weakness) don’t change the fact that she’s a bloody ninja. You see her battling with her faults in Prodigy, and trying to face her insecurities, but never letting go of her badassery.
Day, in Prodigy, is driven by his emotions. He’s still haunted by the memory of his mother, his brother, his father, and that it was the Republic who caused his pain. He battles with trying to discern June from the Republic soldier she used to be. His own insecurities come out very severely in this book, and you see that Day (the seemingly unstoppable, infallible criminal) is making mistakes, because he can’t think logically. His commitment and unending loyalty to his family becomes the reason for a lot of his mistakes. (That, and his terrible timing with words.)
The End (also known as reader torture)
Oh. My. God.
It happened again.
It bloody happened again.
This is Skulduggery Pleasant all over again.
Throughout my reading of Prodigy, I kept feeling that this felt more like a final book, than a middle book. Everything was going to end up seemingly resolved and happy, which doesn’t usually happen in middle books. There’s usually some ongoing trouble that will finally be concluded in the third book, as the second book is usually set up for it. But no – Prodigy resolved it’s conflict about 90% in (I say it in a percentage, because I was reading it on my kindle, so I have no clue how many pages in it was). This did nothing but instil dread in me, as there were still three chapters for everything to go wrong.
And boy, did it go wrong.
In my head, there are three (maybe four, if you include Thomas and Metias) major events or revelations that happen during Prodigy, that made me actually gape in surprise. I don’t gasp and cover my mouth that much during books, unless I’m seriously hooked. The first was shocking, though slightly predictable. The second had me in complete surprise and horror. But the third… Those last three chapters…
Let me put it this way, I might later go climb into my bed and sob over the last chapter of Prodigy.
I did not realise my attachment to these characters was so strong.
Near the end of the book, there is a massive fight that happens (verbal, not action and explosions and stuff), that put me through being so angry and so upset at the same time. I thought that would be the worst of it.
Not even close.
The last chapter makes me want to curl up and delude myself that it didn’t happen.
And the worst part?
I’m not sure if it will get resolved. As much as I want to believe that good will come out of it, I know how cruel Marie Lu can be. The second horrific plot twist goes like this. Marie Lu hands me a character, makes me slowly admire and love her, gives her a completely epic scene, and shows me how invincible and indestructible this character is that I may have to bump off June to give her this top spot. A few paragraphs later, she’s murdered this character she’s made me love.
Writers are cruel.
There is some part of me that believes the ending can be saved in the next book, and that everything will be good and happy again, but another part that’s telling me that something even worse will happen, and I will have to curl up and cry.
One Last Thing
I don’t know how to function any more.
I don’t know what to do without the next book.
A year. An entire year.
Help me. Dear god, how am I going to go through with life when THOSE LAST CHAPTERS HAVE HAPPENED.
MARIE LU YOU HAVE TO WRITE THE NEXT BOOK NOW BECAUSE I MIGHT DIE IF I DON’T GET IT I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS YOU CAN’T JUST LEAVE ME IN THIS STATE FOR A YEAR PLEASE.
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE.
I don’t think I have enough sanity left to find quotes at the moment.
Can I just go and cry my poor, broken heart out?
I’ll update this later, but right now, I’m too emotional to go back and find quotes. Just looking at that chapter will remind me of my pain.
Here, you can have my broken wailing instead.
- “THIS CAN’T BE THE END YOU CAN’T JUST END IT LIKE THAT NO NOT FAIR NO MARIE LU YOU CRUEL PERSON YOU CRUEL PERSON BUT I CAN’T HATE YOU BECAUSE YOU SEEM LIKE A VERY NICE PERSON AND I CAN’T EVEN TELL ANYONE ABOUT MY EMOTIONAL TURMOIL GOD YANNI READ FASTER”
- “NO YANNI I WILL NOT GIVE YOU SPOILERS NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU BEG ME I WANT TO WATCH YOU GET YOUR HEART RIPPED OUT AND THEN I WILL CRY WITH YOU BECAUSE OH GOD THE PAIN”
- “IF YOU DON’T FIND THE END AS HORRIFIC AS I DID I DON’T UNDERSTAND YOU I DON’T KNOW HOW TO HOLD ONTO ALL THESE EMOTIONS HELP ME THEY’RE SO HEAVY AND SAD AND FILLING ME UP AND LEAKING OUT OF ME AND SOON I’M GOING TO BURST INTO A PUDDLE OF TEARS AND MUSHY FEELINGS THAT I CAN’T CONTROL”
- “HOW DO YOU EXPECT ME TO HOMEWORK AT A TIME LIKE THIS HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO DO ANYTHING WHILE I’M DEAD INSIDE”
Holy Waffles, this review is massive. I will cut this down when I can process logical thoughts once again in my brain.
I want to give this zero shuriken stars for ripping my heart out, then expecting me to wait a year so I can wallow in my misery and seriously question building a time machine to read the next book as soon as possible.
But I can’t do that. I love this book and hate it for turning me into a mushy pile of feelings.
5 shuriken stars. It might have started out as 4, but it rose to that rating by the end. The ending deserves nothing more than 5 for being able to get that response out of me. Anything that can make me this invested and on the verge of toppling into a complete emotional breakdown is worth something grand.
Now excuse me while I go rock in a corner and sob my heart out.