Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Review: Legend by Marie Lu

Hardcover: 305
Release Date: November 29, 2011
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Author Info: Website | Twitter
Buy the Book: Amazon | IndieBound
Pre-Order the Paperback: Amazon
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' 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.
Legend takes place in a futuristic, dystopian society, corrupt as most dystopian governments are, where the United States has been split into two warring governments, the Republic and the Colonies. Major flooding worldwide has caused most of what we would consider America today is underwater leaving less land to war over. It is told from the perspective of two teenagers from different social classes. June is a military prodigy at 15 and has a bright future with the Republic's military ahead of her, while Day is the most wanted criminal in the country. June has been born and bred into a highly-educated family, while Day was raised in the slums of Los Angeles. You wouldn't expect two people from such different backgrounds and lives to meet, but -wait for it- they do.

Legend is told from alternating point of views every other chapter, so the reader gets a little glimpse of each scene told from the mindset of each character. From chapter one, we are conditioned to side with Day, but about a third of the way through I started questioning my prior loyalties. It started to feel like maybe June and the Republic were the ones to side with. It challenged my thinking of trust and loyalty. Day was always loyal to his cause of revealing the Republic for its corruptness, but June, being raised in that environment and hidden from the secrets, was loyal to her family and its ties to the government. It really got me thinking about critical thinking and exploring new beliefs that you weren't necessarily taught growing up. June had to look at herself and judge for herself if she was the person she wanted to be. Which I think is part of the process of growing up and maturing.

I don't mind a little romance in my dystopians as long as it's not too much. I mean, I get that people want to scoodilypoop when they think they're going to die or the world is coming to an end. I GET IT (See also: Baby Boomers). So when I read the first mention of googly eyes and butterflies, I was upset. Not that it was in my dystopian, but that it happened so quickly and so easily for the characters. It wasn't quite insta-love though. Definitely not. It was just more like "Hey girl, you're beautiful. I could stare into those baby blues all day. Let's kiss." Which I'm totally fine with. It's a normal thought for the most part. I just didn't like that it happened so quickly. Anyways, it balanced itself out and got back to the corruptness quickly enough which I am all for!

I was halfway through reading Legend before meeting the author, Marie Lu, at an event this past Tuesday and after hearing her speak about her inspiration for this novel and how she wove reality into her dystopian society, the story held new meaning for me when I continued reading that night. She spoke of seeing a picture of what the world would look like if all the polar ice caps melted and how it would drastically change the topography of our world, about the split of Korea into two warring states (represented by the Republic and the Colonies in Legend), and about being 5 years old in Beijing when the Tienanmen Square Massacre happened just a few blocks away from where she lived at the time. Knowing her inspirations for the story made it feel that much more real or possible.

And I have to say this, I know the authors don't have any say in book/cover design, but the design of this book was not good. Every other chapter was in a gold sans serif font which wasn't easy on my eyes and it made those chapters hard to read for me. And if there's one thing I don't want in a book is a distraction from the story.

I wouldn't say this is the "next Hunger Games" like it's been said to be, but I still enjoyed it and am really curious to see where the series goes. Though I would recommend this to fans of the Hunger Games for sure.


  1. Great review! I actually liked the gold font. :D But it could easily be a distraction from the story with others.

  2. Super review; it's wonderful you got to meet the author while you were reading this!

  3. I listened to this one on audio and really liked it - good thing since I didn't get to experience the annoying font issue. And agree about romance in young adults - it's definitely done too much many times (too soon & take it too far), but I did like this sort of crush that slowly developed.