Sunday, January 8, 2012


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.

This is one of my new favorite dystopians.

The fact is, this isn't one of those books that struck some deep chord inside of me.  It isn't a book that changed my outlook on life, and it isn't a book that talks about some pressing issue in society today.  What is it, then?  It's an incredibly entertaining book with wonderfully developed characters, smooth writing, and action that never stops.  It's a book that will grab you from the start and you won't realize it's over till you hit the final page.

My favorite part of Legend was probably the characters.  Some side characters were rather one dimensional, like the Commander, or Chian.  But then you had those really wonderful side characters; you had Tess, young and sweet and capable and utterly devoted to Day.  You have Metias, who I can't really say much about without giving away the book.  You have Thomas, who can be so terrible at times, who follows orders without thought, but who still cares about June, who probably thinks he's doing right.

And then there's the main characters, Day and June.  I have a love-hate relationship with dual POV.  When it's done right, it can be excellent. Sometimes it's exactly what a book needs.  But when it's done wrong, it ruins the book for me.  Maybe the author switches POVs at the most awkward and unnecessary of times; maybe the two narrators sound completely identical (this is particularly painful if it is a boy and a girl).  In any case, it's not fun to read through.

Marie Lu did it right.

Day and June were two entirely different people.  They were both intelligent, observant, agile, attractive.  In many ways, they were very similar people.  But their minds, their voices, were entirely different, and I loved that. Also, get this--Day . . . sounds like . . . a boy.  An honest-to-G-d boy.  And June, the supposed genius? Sounds like a genius.  Not in an obnoxious, I-will-shove-your-genius-face-into-these-pages kind of genius, but simply someone far more intelligent and observant than average.

They're both talented to the point that some may label them Mary Sue/Gary Stu.  But to me, they never came off that way.  I think there are three main reasons.  One: they had emotions.  They had emotions, ones that leapt off the page.  When a character we know for only one chapter died, I almost cried.  Whatever June and Day were going through, I felt it, as if I were the one who had lost a loved one.  Two: they had families.  They had family members, existing family members, that they cared about, that they would do anything for, that they placed above everything else.  In the YA world, where most families are dead or completely inconsequential, the huge role their families played in this not only set Legend apart but made the characters far more sympathetic.  And three: Their dynamic.  Quite simply, their dynamic was brilliant.  June and Day had incredible chemistry.  I am not just talking about the romantic element, or even just with each other.  The way they acted and reacted with this whole set of characters was just so realistic and genuine that I wanted to give Marie Lu a big high five. A really, really big high five.

The writing did exactly what it needed to: it let you focus on the characters and the plot.  There wasn't anything exceptional about the writing, but there didn't need to be; it moved the plot along and didn't distract the reader.  In an action-filled dystopian novel like this, simple writing is often the best choice.

And then there's the plot.  It's not one of those insanely unique and complicated plots that you just sit there gaping over and wondering how in the world the author ever concocted it.  But it was gripping and fascinating and extremely entertaining, and that's all I really ask of any plot.

I should be deducting a star, because there is little-to-no world-building.  We get almost no explanation about how the world came to be this way.  We aren't given a very clear idea of what the Republic and Colonies even look like (hoping there'll be a map in the next one).  But honestly? I'm giving this five stars. Some people rarely give five stars because they use that rating to mean something was flawless. I don't.  I have almost never found a book without flaw.  I give a book five stars when it was so fantastic that I can't give it anything lower. That was Legend for me.

Here's hoping the next one comes out soon! There wasn't a cliffhanger, thank G-d, but I still can't wait for the next book in this series.Thank you for being brilliant, Marie Lu.

5 stars.


Post a Comment