Review of “Prodigy” by Marie Lu

Title: Prodigy
Author: Marie Lu
Series: Legend #2
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia
Pages: 371
Published: 2013, Penguin Books
My Grade: 3.5 out of 5 paper clips

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Injured and on the run, it has been seven days since June and Day barely escaped Los Angeles and the Republic with their lives. Day is believed dead having lost his own brother to an execution squad who thought they were assassinating him. June is now the Republic’s most wanted traitor. Desperate for help, they turn to the Patriots – a vigilante rebel group sworn to bring down the Republic. But can they trust them or have they unwittingly become pawns in the most terrifying of political games?

MY REVIEW

I am not sure why exactly this got a slighty better grade than Legend. It might have been because I listened to Legend as an audiobook and I did it in two sittings so it felt like nothing happened. Or perhaps because this one was slightly better. Maybe they were as good? I got a good impression of it anyway. 3 feels low, but according to my scale, it was a good book so I guess that is accurate.

What was good about it? First of all, it was very intimately written. I got the impression that this book’s focus was the development of the characters and their point of view rather than the story. The story is good, but the closeness to the characters really make it pop.

Second, any type of realistic dystopian story intrigues me. Well, it doesn’t even have to be realistic, but this is. More of the backstory to why it became the Republic of America is revealed in Prodigy and it is so cool that the author sits on so much information that never really gets out to the reader. This is something I have definitely learned since starting to write myself and Marie Lu has drawn up a very colorful (maybe vivid is the more correct term since her future is really really grey and dull) world.

Definitely better than the first. Is perhaps Champion (the last in the trilogy) even better? We will have to wait and see.

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Review of “Legend” by Marie Lu

Title: Legend
Author: Marie Lu
Series: Legend #1
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia
Pages: 305
Published: 2011, Penguin Books
My Grade: 3 out of 5 plague victims

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

MY REVIEW

First, before anything else, I have to say that the grade might have been affected by the fact that this was not read, but listened to. I almost feel like I have cheated. For the first time in my life, I have listened to an audiobook. I took a trip up to my cousins in Nynäshamn and it is 5 hours each way. I was alone and felt that I would get bored if I only listened to music, so I tried an audiobook for the very first time. During those 10 hours it took me to drive back and forth, I managed to finish Legend and 25% of Prodigy (#2).

I usually don’t have big expectations on books. But I was a little disappointed by this. Don’t mistake me, it was a good book and definitely enjoyable listening too. Perhaps I went through too much of it in too short time, but it felt like not much was happening. I also got the feeling that this was a very long introduction to the story, that most of the exciting things are happening in #2 and forward.

I really liked the characters, they felt real. Although it is pretty cliché-y that the main characters are from opposite sides of the social hierarchy and that they fall in love and all of that. But it does not overtake the main story of the new Republic of America.

One thing I really liked when listening to it was that they had two people reading, one man for the boy and one woman for the girl. It made it feel more alive, even if perhaps I wouldn’t have given them those voices in my head.

Review of “1984” by George Orwell

1984-george-orwellTitle: 1984
Author: George Orwell
Series: –
Genre: Science Fiction, Political Fiction, Dystopian
Pages: 328
Published: 1949, Penguin Books
My Grade: 5 out of 5 posters

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

The year 1984 has come and gone, but George Orwell’s prophetic, nightmarish vision in 1949 of the world we were becoming is timelier than ever. 1984 is still the great modern classic of “negative utopia” -a startlingly original and haunting novel that creates an imaginary world that is completely convincing, from the first sentence to the last four words. No one can deny the novel’s hold on the imaginations of whole generations, or the power of its admonitions -a power that seems to grow, not lessen, with the passage of time.

 

MY REVIEW

Wow! Just wow. It has truly been a delight to read this extremely dark dystopian novel. After about ten pages I felt connection to this book because of the way it was written. It has now been 67 years since this book was first published, it came out right after WWII, it’s forever ago!! But you couldn’t tell (like with Lord of the Flies). I don’t know how to describe it, but the words Orwell used, the sentence structure, it just made so much sense and I felt the flow when I was reading it like I have never done before.

And then comes the story on top of that. Wow again! It is not a story in a way that the characters move around and do stuff all the time, not like Lord of the Rings for example, or Maze Runner. This is just simply about a man in a big-brother society who questions big brother. You get to follow his line of thought, you get to see him fall in love, and seemingly getting away with it all. I can’t really say anything that won’t spoil, but most of the book was just a long way towards the end where everything happened. I still don’t really understand how or why it ended like it did. The last page and what happened there, I totally get, but not the part before that. It was really a mindfuck-read. I didn’t expect it to be, but it really was. This book kind of reminded me of the movie Shutter Island (I haven’t read the book yet, Patient 97, but it is on my list).

It’s scary to think about really. I know it is a made-up story, but how can a country (or empire maybe? I don’t know what they called it) just so easily buy everything that Big Brother says? One day the news sadly announced that the chocolate ratio had gone down from 30g per week to 20g. And literally the next day the news announced that the chocolate ratio had increased to 20g and everyone is super happy about it. No questions whatsoever about the news the day before! It is the same with everything Big Brother tells them. Winston (the main character) understands how, but not the why. The end of the book explains why, and it is scary because that is probably true in reality too.

It is hard to write reviews without spoiling. To sum it up, it is an easy and very enjoyable read, you kind of have to be focused while reading it to not miss something, lots of things happen in the end and after it is all done, you can’t stop yourself from asking “what the fuck?” Definitely one of the best books I have ever read, so I strongly recommend everyone to read it, especially people who love dystopian future novels. Crystal clear five!