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Now that the MaddAdddam trilogy is complete, I’m reading only a handful of series where once there seemed to be no end:

George R. R. Martin’s epic Song of Ice and Fire series

Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy spin-off, Bloodlines

Ari Berk’s Undertaken trilogy starting with Death Watch

The Old Man’s War novels

And Marie Lu’s Legend books. Prodigy is the second installment and it had a lot to live up to. If you haven’t read Legend and you’re not fatigued by dystopian fiction yet, this is a meaty series  to dive into. The two genius 15-year-old protagonists, June and Day, come from opposite sides of a broken country. She was from a military family on the fast track to a high-paying career working for the Republic. He was considered the Republic’s most dangerous criminal though they didn’t know who he was or what he looked like. Now they’re both famous fugitives on the run.

Prodigy by Marie Lu

Prodigy by Marie Lu

We catch up with June and Day hours after their dramatic escape, riding on a cargo train to Vegas. They’re clearly in love with each other, but there’s no time to deal with the bloody mess wedged between them from book one. Day has a serious leg injury and June has little money to pay the Patriots to heal and protect them. Fortunately for the plot, the Patriots are willing to accept payment in the form of pulling off a high stakes, ruthless strike against the Republic. Even if June and Day were in a position to reject the deal, the mission is in line with their thinking – that things have to change – if not their methods.

June and Day are promptly separated, returning our tension to the level of book one: high.

June is filled with apprehension from the start. She goes against her instincts in part because she’s blinded by guilt. Her role in this mission goes against everything she was brought up to believe. The Republic destroyed her family, but she can’t help but hold on to the loyalty ingrained in her from birth. While she struggles with what she’s about to do, Day wrestles with the incredible attraction he feels for June and his back burner role that gives him a front row seat to June’s G-rated seduction.

The dynamic changes in this book, which made me a little sad because June and Day were so in sync in Legend. June’s perspective expands with each beat while Day’s plateaus then gets smaller. I had to keep reminding myself these two are only 15, that the events of this series could mark the first of many major fights throughout their lives. Lu succeeds at making her characters so real you easily assume they have futures. She wants you to do this so you really feel the gut punch she calls an ending.

What I like most about this series is the high doses of action and how the antagonists aren’t as clearly defined as we thought. I could have done without the constant reminders of how beautiful and intelligent June and Day are. They’re pretty and so smart, we get it.

Champion is the final installment and it’s already out.

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