Legend by Marie Lu

Title: Legend
Loved it
Author: Marie Lu
Genre: Dystopian
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Elements: Militaristic, spies
Series: Book 1 of the Legend series

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.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a great dystopian book. LEGEND’s setting feels realistic, like something that could actually happen sometime soon. Taking place in the United States about two hundred years from now, it features a country governed by the military. The US is having another civil war against the Colonies. Its people are poor and practically live on the street, where one works a heck of a lot to afford a chicken.

You know things are bad when the average citizen cannot afford a chicken, which I’m guessing is a rare commodity in that time. *whimpers*

Every child undergoes a standardised text called the Trial, and having scored low, will start working. Those who score high enough, their esteemed prodigies, will be sent to one of four colleges where they have their future practically handed to them working for the military.

LEGEND is character driven, has tight pacing, features likeable protagonists and in-depth, realistic world building. It is narrated by two protagonists, Day–a criminal in the eyes of the military, a hero to the people, and June, the military’s most valuable asset. This is the first I’ve read of two protagonists who are equally matched in every measure, from their skills to their emotions. They’re both fearless, dedicated to their cause, and unwavering in their loyalties.

I can’t decide whom I like better, which has never occurred before, and I’m fine with that. I adore both of them and their devious minds. I love how neither of them swayed in their beliefs throughout the course of the book, and had to make harsh decisions that impacted the people around them. Lu doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to building the world and its characters. They suffer horrible consequences, and really, no one is safe in that book.

It’s kind of sad that I read LEGEND so close to its publication date, because I’m now super impatient for the sequel. Like, it’s ridiculous, but the wait for book two would have been much shorter had I read LEGEND later. What does a reader have to do to get more information here? Stalk the author’s website for more news, of course.

Aside: Brodie, Kai and I were having a discussion where we wondered: what is it with YA heroes and their parkour skills? It’s crazy, that’s what it is. There must be a workshop for aspiring YA heroes.

  6 comments for “Legend by Marie Lu

  1. Thursday, 15 December 2011 at 8:35 AM

    I wasn’t sure about this one but wow a 10! We have pretty similar taste in reading so I am definitely looking forward to it!

  2. Thursday, 15 December 2011 at 9:32 PM

    “I can’t decide whom I like better, which has never occurred before,” AGREED. Day and June both surprised me. I really grew emotionally invested with the pair of them and find it so difficult to choose a favourite. I so, so loved this book. I’m giddy with excitement for both the sequel and the movie adaptation.

    Haha! Their parkour skills are so crazy awesome. Please can I attend one of these workshops??

    Fabulous review, Liyana, you summed up exactly why I love this book!

  3. Thursday, 15 December 2011 at 10:32 PM

    Llehn: *hi fives* It’s in store already, but it’s the paperback and doesn’t have the pretty hardcover… uh, cover. ):

    Brodie: Thank you! They are equally appealing (to each other and to us :P). YES SEQUEL. Parkour workshops should be fun! They have that as part of the Trial, right?

  4. Thursday, 15 December 2011 at 11:34 PM

    Thanks for the heads up. I’ll wait till its available in the library and buy my own copy if I love it. I’m a little wary about buying books based on hype these days because my last few purchases have been, well, let’s just say, disappointing.

    • Monday, 19 March 2012 at 12:56 PM

      Great! What did you get?

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