Thursday, March 21, 2013

Review: Prodigy by Marie Lu

Review: Prodigy by Marie Lu

Publishing Date: January 29, 2013

Publisher: Putnam Juvenile

Pages: 371 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 2 of 5 stars

Summary (From Goodreads): 

June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the two join a group of Patriot rebels eager to help Day rescue his brother and offer passage to the Colonies. They have only one request—June and Day must assassinate the new Elector.

 It’s their chance to change the nation, to give voice to a people silenced for too long.

 But as June realizes this Elector is nothing like his father, she’s haunted by the choice ahead. What if Anden is a new beginning? What if revolution must be more than loss and vengeance, anger and blood—what if the Patriots are wrong?

Warning- If you have not read Legend, the first book in the trilogy, there may be a few spoilers in this review.  Sorry guys. I'll start reading some first installments or stand-alones soon, I promise!

My expectations for Prodigy were sky high.  I expected this to be an awesome, adrenaline-filled, emotional, blow-it-out-of-the-park book.  Unfortunately, however, Prodigy met absolutely none of my standards.

First things first though: THERE IS HOPE.  At the end, I got somewhat emotionally involved (for the first time in the entire book), so it's possible that Champion (book 3) could be a complete mind-numbing blowout of a book.  Prodigy just didn't happen to be in my case.

For starters, Prodigy had the worst case of Bridge Book (basically Middle Child Syndrome for books) that I have seen in quite some time.  I've seen authors make their bridge books absolutely awesome before, but on average, most middle books in a series are exactly what the name implies: a bridge from the first book to the last book.  Prodigy was definitely one of them.  It just lacked emotion on my part.

Also, June seriously got on my nerves this time.  And she might have been likable, if Marie Lu had not written EVERY FLITTING THOUGHT THAT WENT THROUGH HER MIND.  I understand, you want to make a point that June pays attention to detail.  But I also do not need, or want, to know every little piece of information around her.  I do not care if "Ninety-two seconds later, we stop before a set of wide glass doors.  Then someone scans a thin card (about three by five inches large, black, with a reflective sheen and a gold Republic seal logo in one corner) across the entry screen."  Especially if that card had absolutely zero relevance to the scene.  I'm not recreating it.  I do not need its dimensions or its every single little detail.

She also keeps up with time on an inhuman level.  Not merely to the minute, but to the second.  NO ONE IN REAL LIFE KNOWS THAT IT'S BEEN EXACTLY 92 SECONDS THEY'VE BEEN WALKING DOWN A CORRIDOR. In Legend, June seemed very elite, but still human.  In Prodigy, however, she took on very robotic characteristics, and it got quite annoying.  Marie made it out to be that June had virtually no weaknesses.  Frankly, I can't stand a main character who knows and can do everything.  And that's more or less what June became in this book.

Moving away from June, let's talk about the dialect.  I normally never get mad at authors for putting dialect into their stories.  It has to be seriously bad for me to get annoyed.  But.  Marie did not use slang or dialect (to my recollection) in Legend, but she chose to in Prodigy.  Which seriously bugs me.  It would be fine if they were set years apart.  But there is only a week or two between the end of Legend and the beginning of Prodigy.  DIALECT AND SLANG DO NOT CHANGE IN THE COURSE OF TWO WEEKS.  She didn't even mildly work it in.  She added the word "..., yeah?" to the end of almost every. single. sentence.  And she made up a word, goddy, which she also proceeded to use at least 50 (or more) times in the novel.  I am all for an author using dialect or slang, but only if it is executed well.

In addition to all of that, the writing also felt somewhat childish to me.  There were several times that I though, "There is no way that an adult woman was writing this." Many parts of the book were ridiculous, irrational, or implausible.

Finally, the lack of emotional connection seriously irked me.  In several parts of this story, I felt like I was simply reading words on a page rather than being completely immersed in a story.  Any time there were serious moments, I had an urge to laugh.  I'm normally a person who gets emotionally involved in a book pretty easily.  But this book was so cheesy that I laughed through over half of the scenes that were supposed to come off as emotional or intense.

There were several moments when you could tell that Marie Lu was attempting to give the audience a good scare or to blow their minds.  But most of those moments were either super-predictable, or just kind of, "eh." Any time she was shooting for extreme emotion, I found myself with a severe lack of reaction.

So.  To say that I was disappointed with Prodigy is an understatement.  I expected so much from this book, and it certainly did not come to par in my opinion.  I've read several reviews of friends who liked it, but it just really irked me. I am a very detail-oriented person, and I feel like the details just weren't really thought about in this installment.  I will still most certainly read Champion, because I think Marie could pull off an awesome book if she writes as well as she did with Legend.  So, I'm crossing my fingers that Champion is the best book of them all, and hopefully the series can only go upward from this point.

Peace out, Girl Scouts,

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