A New York Times bestseller! 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.
I'll admit that I had no intention of reading this novel. For some reason, I simply wasn't drawn to it at first. And upon spotting it in all of its beautiful hardcover glory, I decided to give in, hoping that it lived up to its acclaim. Ladies and Gentlemen, I want to smack myself for even considering giving this series the brush off.
Legend is a high octane Dystopian novel set in a civil war torn country that once was the United States. June is the wonder prize of the Republic, that seeks to mold her into a kind of exemplary model of loyalty. She is honored to get out and fight the Colonies, the other half of the US who threaten Republic Territory. However, when her brother, and Republic officer, Mettias, is June sets out on a mission to hunt down the only possible suspect, Day.
First off, this novel is highly ambitious. I would never, in most cases, want so badly for a novel to be adapted to film, but Legend written in a sweeping, cinematic way that begs to be filmed. I loved Marie Lu's portrayal of the overwhelmingly intimidating Republic. Lu does such a beautiful job of painting this frightening dictatorship, along with shedding light on the secrets they hold back from their people. I also adored that it was set in a war ravaged Los Angeles.
Legend is written in the dual point of views of June and Day. Though I have read of some who found this off putting, I found it fascinating to see the Republic through the eyes of a girl on the inside, and a guy on the outside. One of the things I also heard around the blogosphere is the positive impression that June leaves on readers. I have to agree. With the trend of seemingly childlike and naive female protagonists in Young Adult fiction, June puts all of our arguments to rest. She is a prodigy, whose military background has turned her into a calculated, well thought, highly observant fighting machine. She is confident of her abilities, and really only ever seems unsure of herself when it comes to Day.
Day is on the opposite side of the coin. He has become the first criminal to ever evade the Republic, because of the great love he holds for his family, and the great lengths he will take to get them the aid they need. He is just as talented, agile, and prolific as June is, and to watch them both meet is like fireworks on the Fourth of July. I loved the dynamic between the two of them. They challenge one another. Marie Lu has captured two awesome characters who are beautifully balanced between their identities toward the Republic and behind closed doors. Both hold such vulnerability that rival their seeming perfect personas very nicely.
Marie Lu has created a wonderful supporting cast as well. Tess, Day's friend, is so precious, and selfless. It made me angry that such a sweetheart even has to endure all that she does. Another character that really blew my mind is Kaede, who is a spitfire. She really adds spunk to the plot. Mettias, June's brother is all that anyone could ever want in a brother, supportive, protective, the works. Thomas. This one is a bit grayer. He seems caring, and protective of June, but is also very robotic a times.
Bare in Mind: Legend contains violence.
Legend is simply one of the best dystopian books I've read since The Hunger Games. Not many books in this genre has thrilled and captured my heart as this series (so far) has. Marie Lu is a master of giving us everything that goes into writing a brilliant, fast paced, epic story without over doing it: Action, suspense, romance, heartbreaking emotion, and that driving spirit that goes into the fight against injustice.
I give Legend by Marie Lu five out of five cups of Cranberry Tonic (because that's what I am currently inhaling).