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Prodigy - Marie Lu I'll be honest here. I wasn't expecting to love Prodigy at all, given my, erm, so-so/lukewarm response to its predecessor, Legend. While I enjoyed the previous installment, especially its abundant and thrilling action scenes, I did find it lacking in certain parts (such as plot, character development, drama and world-building... but let's leave those for another day, yeah?) that made me just take and consume it as it is - an entertaining book, and nothing more, nothing less. It didn't leave a lingering feeling of yearning or a reaction that go along the lines of, "Oh em gee, I frigging need the next book, like, IDK, NOW!" But Prodigy? Wow. Just... wow. It gave me what Legend didn't. That impact. That sense of urgency. That BOOM KAPOW to the gut! Whew!

There are so many things that I like about this book. As previously stated, it's a huge improvement, and becomes more than Legend in so many aspects. Here are the highlights:

Plot starts to have more substance, especially with all the political conspiracies and drama.

The story becomes especially exciting this time around. Yes, trouble is still brewing in the Republic; yes, the people are exhausted of the social injustices they face everyday; and no, the Elector's death and his young son's ascension doesn't make things better. June and Day have joined forces with the Patriots, and find themselves included in a revolutionary plan that may make a new Republic, or destroy it. Trust me when I tell you the story will leave you absolutely breathless. It's fast-paced. There's a sense of purpose. A real sense of urgency. You think it's predictable like Legend? Think again. Just when you thought you had it all figured out, the book smirks at you and gives you another frigging twist and/or political conspiracy that you just didn't see coming. Things happen so fast here that even the readers will probably ask themselves where their loyalties are. Are you rooting for the Patriots? Or are you rooting for the new Elector?

June and Day come out of their cardboard shells.

One of the problems I encountered in Legend were the characters. June and Day were portrayed as two intelligent and strong 15 year old prodigies, both born into different classes. A rich girl looked up to by her aristocratic peers. A poor boy seen as a savior and a beacon of hope by the poor masses. As fun as they are to read, their "too-good-to-be-true" portrayals made them one-dimensional to me. I was afraid the same thing would happen here in Prodigy and that nothing would change, but thankfully and fortunately, they become more than their characters. In this installment, we see both of these protagonists experience a lot of struggles and internal conflicts that will eventually lead them into becoming more responsible and mature individuals. It was so good to see them grow up and be more than what was expected of them. There's always a saying that it will get worse before it gets better, and that definitely is true here. I think this is the part I love the best, since it is during their maturity process that I've grown attached to them.

The world-building becomes clearer, making it easier to visualize.

In Legend, the world-building was hazy at best. In Legend, we only know of the Republic, which is run by a harsh military, who is at odds with the Colonies. The Republic chooses its brightest and the best through a process called "Trial". Somehow it kind of ends there. But this gets expounded more in Prodigy and we get a wider and more profound view of the world. I think it was well thought out, and I'm really excited to see the rest of them in the future books :)

Side characters become more than just side characters. They get more exposure and more impact in the storyline.

If you loved the side characters in Legend, you'll find yourself getting more attached to them here. They're given heavier roles in the story, making them more involved than just being in the sidelines, and it was really heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time to see them grow and become more than they are. A lot of sacrifices are made, a lot of risky decisions and courageous attempts, and these things shaped them into becoming more than just a bystander - more than just someone who watches the events unfold. They became those events.

Marie Lu wrote a lot of risky twists in this story, twists that I didn't see coming but welcomed nonetheless

If you read this book, prepare for a lot of angst up ahead. Marie Lu decided to become full-on badass and dumped a lot of twists in this story that will really pull your heart strings. I was actually quite surprised because not a lot of others take the route she took, but it was such a welcomed change in the pace of the story and it only made more fond of the characters and the conflicts they go through. Sigh. I wish Legend was as good as this, but nevermind, Prodigy totally made up for it :)

All in all, it was a highly impressive read. I'm so motivated now to read the rest of the series. I wish they release soon! It's such a looong wait!

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