Monday, November 28, 2011

Book Review: Legend by Marie Lu

Title: Legend
Author: Marie Lu
Genre: YA, dystopian
Published: Releases Nov. 29, 2011

The opening lines of Legend set the stage perfectly for what kind of book you're getting into. Here's the character named Day:

My mother thinks I'm dead.
Obviously I'm not dead, but it's safer for her to think so.
At least tiwce a month, I see my Wanted poster flashed on the JumboTrons scattered throughout downtown Los Angeles. It looks out of place up there. Most of the pictures on the screens are of happy things: smiling children standing under a bright blue sky, tourists posing before the Golden Gate Ruins, Republic commericals in neon colors. There's also anti-Colonies propaganda. "The Colonies want our land," the ads declare. "They want what they don't have. Don't let them conquer your homes! Support the cause!"
Already it's clear this world is not like ours; the United States is split into the Colonies and the Republic. I love the imagry of  the Golden Gate Ruins. It reminds me of the deteriorating wasteland of D.C. and Vegas in the Fallout video game series which takes place after a nuclear war.

The story vascillates between Day, a teenage boy wanted by the military-led enforcers of the Republic for vandalism and property destruction, and June, a highly trained savant who has essentially finished college by age 15. June is protected by military wealth due to her brother's service, while Day is a vagabond on the run. They live in opposite worlds, but their paths cross when June's brother is killed during a mission to apprehend Day. June is suddenly alone, her parents having been killed years earlier, and now no brother to care for her. A Republic Commander recruits her early out of school, and June's new mission is to find Day, her brother's killer.

Day is portayed by the Republic as a misfit criminal, but when June encounters Day during an undercover mission, she sees a different side. He's kind and protective. He steals plague medicine for his sick brother, and secretly delivers it without making contact with his mother, out of protection for her. Day lives on the streets and takes care of a younger girl he calls cousin; he'll risk his own life to keep her safe. He tells her of how the Repubilc kills citizens who don't pass the Trial, the test each 10-year-old must pass which assigns their lot in life. June is guarded and reluctant to believe Day. She does what she is trained to do and follows her commands. But soon, she starts piecing together details about her brother's murder, and she begins to doubt that Day is the killer. She questions everything she was brought up to believe about the Republic and who they protect.

Fans of The Hunger Games or Delirium will enjoy Legend. All three deal with a world controlled by military-style government seeking to repress the poor and exploit everyone else. It's not all bleak; June and Day have great chemistry without being sappy. Plus, Day is so freaking awesome you will want a movie version of this book when you're finished. Plenty of action moves the story forward whenever it starts to lag.  A few of the seondary characters feel a little one-note, but I enjoyed the leads enough to overcome some of the weaker aspects of the story.


  1. The plot sounds quite intriguing--I'm adding it to my TBR shelf. Great review!

  2. This book is so good!!! I loved reading it and did NOT want in to end! I hope to hear more from Marie Lu!


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