Its been a pretty awesome week for me. I’ve really realized how much AWESOME is coming this year. Cassandra Clare alone is bringing a ton of awesome this year, this web if you read my blog post yesterday. So many movies (City of Bones, order Sea of Monsters, drug Ironman 3, The Hobbit 2, Catching Fire, Monsters University, 42, and on and on) are coming out, and books. Fall Out Boy is back together; I get to see my music god, Andrew McMahon, back in concert.
So much awesome. Its also been awesome in my reading this week.
I’ve been looking forward to sharing this book with you guys ALL WEEK.
I’ve fallen really behind on my 200 books goal. It was my first week back at school, and I’m working extra hours at work this week so not a lot of time for casual reading. Kind of makes me sad, I was on a roll!
But anyway, the last book I finished was Prodigy by Marie Lu. Right before that, I read the first book, Legend. And I was pretty blown away. I knew immediately that I wanted it to be the Book of the Week.
In a world of dystopian novels, an absolute explosion of dystopian novels, this one stands out, most definitely.
So I give you, this week’s Book of the Week.
dystopian, young adult, mild romance
You May Like if You Liked:
The Hunger Games, Matched series, The Maze Runner series
Its the United States of the Future, after things have started falling apart. Global warming is more than just a thing to come, its here and its destroyed many countries. Whats left is a few countries here and there. One is the Republic of America, a militant country, keeping their citizens in line for survival of the fittest. Two young people of this nation are June and Day, living on completely opposite spectrums.
June is of the wealthiest class in Los Angeles, and of the most intelligent as well. She’s scored a perfect score on her Trials, which has never been done before, and is close to graduating college at 15 years old. She worships the Republic and what it stands for. She wants to follow in her older brother, Metias’ footsteps and become a soldier of the Republic. She has everything she could possibly want; a nice home, good food, a new vaccine every year for the growing plague, and a purpose in life. That is, until her brother Metias is murdered and she’s suddenly on a chase to find the notorious criminal, Day, and bring him to justice.
Enter Day. Day came from the poor neighborhoods of Los Angeles, and when he scores an impossibly low score on his Trials, he’s taken away to the labor camps. Five years, at 15 years old, he’s a criminal on the run, fighting to survive the streets and fighting to provide for the family who thinks he is dead. His escape from the Republic and his knowledge of what really happens at these “labor camps” has given Day a reason to be very, very mad at the Republic. When his brother contracts the plague and his family has no way of paying for the cure, he does everything he can, even running headfirst into Republic soldiers, to save his brother’s life.
The novel is told in two different points of views, June and Day, as their two stories intertwine and collide, providing two very different stories of their lives in the Republic of America.
To be 100% honest, there wasn’t a lot of bad to me. I mean, I can’t even think of anything bad. The only bad I could maybe find for those people really looking for a “bad”, is that its another dystopian romance. However, it stands out in the dystopian novel world, in my opinion at least, and the romance is very small and very subtle. Its not overwhelming, like most books seem to be nowadays.
The only bad in my opinion was that it was soo good, and the sequel was good and the third book probably won’t be out for another year, at least, and I’m not good with waiting.
Marie Lu tells her version of a dystopian society in a way that comes across at maybe not 100% original but is a breath of fresh air when compared to others. There’s a lot of United States history and backstory of this; instead of just hinting that the society used to be the democratic USA, they say it was, and the Republic saved them from the mess that it was. You have the Patriots, and the Colonies, two separate rebel forces, reminiscent of the old ways.
I also like the characters as well. Day is the bad guy for much of this novel, but because you get his side of the story as well as June’s, you don’t see him as a bad guy. When you learned what happened to him, what really happened to him after he failed his Trial, you’re glad that he has been stealing from the Republic and causing mayhem. You want him to find the plague medication to give to his younger brother, you want him to make money to help his family. When it comes out that Metias is dead at the hands of Day, I couldn’t believe it. I thought, its an accident. He threw that knife to stop him but he would never kill him.
Then you have June, who honestly I couldn’t stand, because you’re getting Day’s side of the story and you’re watching June hunt down Day, even though she’s wrong. She doesn’t know she’s wrong and as you watch her discover more and more things about the Republic, like the truth behind her brother’s death, and her parents’ deaths from when she was a child, the truth about Day’s Trial score and the reason his brother is so sick. You watch her see the truth, but unlike a lot of the heroines of other novels that just see the truth and immediately change their loyalties, you see some realness in June. She’s been raised her entire life for the love of the Republic and the loyalty to the Elector Primo. She has been bred to become a loyal soldier and she’s good it. She struggles with the truths. When she makes the decision to help Day, its because she can’t stand to have someone punished for a crime they didn’t commit. She doesn’t become a rebel against this dystopian society so quickly as Lena or Cassia do in their novels.
Plus its just a good story. The Republic of America, combined with the Colonies and the Patriots, are all so confusing and you can’t figure out who is bad and who is good. Because you’re getting two very different viewpoints of a similar story, you’re having a hard time deciding who is wrong and who is right. The mysteries build up. You see June mourn her brother, and you’re so sad because he was all she had and you want someone to pay for it, but you see Day, and his struggles and you obviously don’t want him executed. There’s so much going on here. Neither one of the characters is a rebel, even though the society isn’t what it is made off to be. Day is just struggling to survive and doesn’t care about the politics of it all; his family comes first. June reveals truths about the perfect society that she loved but she has a hard time grappling with them, and her loyalty.
I give it a 5 out of 5 stars. The book has fresh characters, a fresh story and it made me want to immediately go out and buy the very recently released sequel, Prodigy, which I did and finished in a day or two. Now I’m dying for the next one.
Recommended or Not?
Definitely. I recommend for those who like young adult, dystopian novels but are looking for something new to read. Its fresh and fun. It has enough action without sacrificing character development, enough romance without sacrificing the entire story, enough rebellion without sacrificing the reality of it. This is good for both GIRLS and BOYs as well, whereas a lot of dystopian novels nowadays are more fitting for girls. Definitely go out and pick up this book.