Publisher: Putnam Children’s (Penguin Group)
Publish Date: November 29, 2011
Series: Legend #1
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia
Synopsis: 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.
Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills.
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
*Disclaimer: I do not intend to write any spoilers, but some of the information could be taken as such. Please take caution when reading this review.*
Set in a futuristic disordered Los Angeles, Marie Lu brings us to the Republic of America. A corrupt and violent government has ruled the government, splitting the inhabitants like the Red Sea.
In Legend, we meet Day and June. Polar opposites in the society spectrum, and both with a common goal: to bring down the other faction. But that is where their commonalities end and their stories begin.
Day is a Robin Hood-type, but it is not clear if he steals for anyone else but himself and his family. He lives and in the slums of the Lake sector, having escaped the Republic after he flunked his Trials. Day spends each moment stealing from the Republic in hope to get a cure for his family. Day is the Republic’s most-wanted criminal, and the Republic doesn’t even know what he looks like. He is elusive, dangerous, and only fifteen years old.
June is a part of the Republic’s elite. Also fifteen, she in her own right is a military prodigy. She has achieved the perfect score of 1500 on the Trials, a feet that no one else has come close. Her brother, Metias, is the captain in the Republic and is the only family she has known. Too young to remember the death of her parents, she seeks the console and protection of her brother.
June accelerates in her military career when Metias is suddenly killed. The number one suspect is the one and only Day. She will use her skills to capture him, if it is the last thing she does. Powered by anger and filled with revenge, June will stop at nothing to avenge her brother’s murder.
*whew* Exciting, yes?
Lu has written each chapter with alternation point-of-views. She has taken each chapter to introduce us to the characters, their upbringing, and their views on the Republic. It is interesting really, how it pans out. There wasn’t a chapter that was dedicated to setting up the environment or the history of the culture. She jumps into the story, accelerating the suspense and handling the plot with care.
It’s brilliant really.
The story is simple, but the rhythm of each event is beautifully thought out. The progression is on par with the action of the story. Legend is fast-paced but filled with so much detail that you feel you are June, investigating a crime scene. She writes each point of view in a clear voice for each character. Not once did I think the voices overlapped. She clearly wrote each character with a definitive thought process and aesthetic.
I loved what she did to Los Angeles. It has always been a favorite of dystopian societies, and it is easy to see why. Lu’s version of future-day Los Angeles hits on famous landmarks but writes it in a way that you will be familiar with the surroundings no matter where you reside.
I had some trouble getting into the story first, and maybe it was because I did not read the typical chapter of environment set up. But Legend is different and it is an exhilarating read. If you love dystopia, this is the book for you. If you love an action-filled adventure, this is the book for you. If you love reading a story about the common goal for the greater good, this is for you.
If you love a great story, this is the book for you.