Legend, Book 1
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Description from Goodreads:
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.
First Sentence: "My mother thinks I'm dead."
Marie Lu's debut is jam-packed with action. Where the derring-do in Divergent comes across as over-the-top and done merely because of how cool it sounds, the action scenes in Legend belong. Both Day and June commit seemingly impossible acts all of the time, but they also have the experience and the injuries to show for it. They do not come by their skills easily; they work for everything they earn, despite being prodigies.
Everyone who reviews this book gushes about Day, and, much as I like to feel unique, I cannot help but do the same thing. Day's chapters were my favorites all the way through. He's just such a noble criminal, and he reads very much like a boy. My love for Day is also inextricably bound up in the beauty of the formatting for his chapters. Day's sections are printed in a golden font, which might prove difficult to some readers, but which I love wholeheartedly. Also, and this is a bit of an odd criticism, but I think it's cool how June's chapters have a practical black font, and Days' are more ornate and unique, to represent their upbringings.
June is a tougher character to like, as she's meant to be. Where Day is the rebel with a heart (and font) of gold, June works for the evil dystopian government, and is rising quickly through the ranks. June believes wholeheartedly in what she's doing, and is determined to prove herself by catching Day, the killer of her brother. June grows as a character throughout, becoming someone you continually root for to make good decisions.
With slews of books coming out marketed as dystopians that really are not, I will have you all know that Legend truly is. The dystopian elements work quite well, though they are not all that unique. Having read so many of them, I recognized the various twists from other works and was not caught off guard by any of them. Many readers will likely not have so much knowledge of the genre, though. Nor did my knowledge of where the book was heading impact my enjoyment of the novel in the slightest.
I do agree with a criticism I've seen around and about that Day and June both read too old. According to the novel, they are both fifteen. They are prodigies and I get that, but they should still be in puberty, and I'm really supposed to buy that they're the most powerful people in all of the Republic? I get that they're prodigies, but how are there no adults that can even begin to give them a run for their money? Every time the text mentioned them being fifteen, it would throw me out of the story because it just seemed off. The novel might make a bit more sense with 17-18 year old main characters.
Legend has well-written action scenes, solid world building, and convincing dual perspectives. I am so glad I have a copy of Prodigy ready to start soon, because I do not want to wait to learn what will happen to the characters next!
Favorite Quote: "'Each day means a new twenty-four hours. Each day means everything's possible again. You live in the moment, you die in the moment, you take it all one day at a time.'"