June is an incredibly gifted and bright student at Drake University, in training to become a soldier a few years earlier than her peers because of her perfect score in the Trials. Meanwhile, Day is wondering the streets, looking for scraps and supplies to send to his family to keep them alive. Then things start to go wrong when June’s brother is murdered, presumably by Day, as he makes his escape after stealing plague medicine from a hospital, and June goes undercover in the slums of the city to find the legendary troublemaker who killed her brother. Or so she is led to believe.
This was told in dual narrative; I don’t think I’ve read a dystopia in dual perspective. Apart from Allegiant, and I’m not sure that counts. Anyway, it worked, as June and Day were such different people and ran in very different parts of the city, they each saw different flaws in the system. As June learns more about Day, the more she realises that he isn’t the villain that the Republic have been making him out to be. Especially after she discovers some truths about her brother and his investigation into their parents’ deaths.
I really liked this. I liked hearing from both perspectives, I liked the world building and the mirroring from our world, and the complexity of our characters.
Elector dies and his son Anden takes over – immediately a very different feel with such a young leader and Anden obviously wants different things for his country. We also see a bit more history and learn that the Republic came about after extreme martial law.
Day and June join the Patriots, the radical group that want to bring back the United States – definitely a radical lot, planning the assassination of the new Elector to spark revolution while change has made the Republic weak. On some level I understood this but as June is taken back into the Republic’s army and gets to know Anden, it is very clear that he is not his father. And then comes the moral dilemma on who to believe! The young couple also escape briefly into Colonies land and it was fascinating to see their development – where the Republic is all about the military, the Colonies have super-commercialism.
I actually think it could have ended here – it might have been a crappy ending with June and Day not quite together, but things with the Patriots and Anden were mostly wrapped up and I honestly wasn't sure where the last book was going to go.
Last book in the trilogy is set 8 months after Prodigy, so we kind of skip the personal growth and the time apart for June and Daniel but get right back into it. The Colonies are attacking and there’s a deadly virus spreading through the public.
Like I said, I wasn't sure what the last book was going to resolve, especially as the Republic and the Colonies were at war again, but it gave everyone a chance to shine and really put an effort into changing the future of their country.
Still told in dual narrative, we got a balanced story between the two of them and saw things from all sides. It’s a good thing we’re inside both of their heads because if I was only in one of them, or neither, I would not understand either of their motivation! June especially, because with her training she did not display emotion but being inside her head we saw how difficult it was for her, with her brother, with her conflicting feelings for Day, and for Anden. In fact, I think if we weren't inside her head, I wouldn't like June very much.
Finally, I quite adored the epilogue. It rounded everything up, wrapped things with a cute little bow and gave our couple the happy, hopeful ending they deserved.