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” – Legend, Marie Lu
Initial Thoughts: According to Goodreads, I had this book on my to-read list for three years. What have I been doing with my life!? Oh right… assigned reading. Lately, I have been devouring many dystopian novels with energetic fervour such as Acide Sulfurique (Sulphuric Acid) by: Amélie Nothomb, V for Vendetta (movie novelization) by: Steve Moore, and 1984 by: George Orwell (all of which I would definitely recommend).
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” – Goodreads
As soon as I finished the book, I couldn’t help but imagine what a movie adaptation would look like. A beautiful boy in filthy clothing with a newscap covering blond hair watching silently as police paint a red mark upon his family’s door. On the other side of the city, there is a brilliant girl – a prodigy – who lives a life of overwhelming extravagance. Then, their worlds suddenly collide when the girl’s brother is murdered one fateful night.
Legend is a young adult dystopian novel which takes place in a horrific vision of Los Angeles in 2054. There has been a devastating war of unknown origin, which has completely restructured the country into The Republic and The Colonies. The Republic also lives in fear from multiple outbreaks of the plague which threaten to kill off the inhabitants of the poor sectors. I began to think of the latest dystopian novel that I had read, V for Vendetta, which draws a lot on biological warfare.
The story is told in alternate perspectives of two fifteen-year-olds from very different worlds. Day is a fugitive who failed his trials at age 10. The trials are a series of tests which determines a person’s aptitudes. If someone were to fail the trials, they are subsequently sent off to “labour camps.” Escaping from his government’s clutches, Day finds himself foiling the plans of the government he despises. The story is also narrated by June, an upper-class prodigy who is the only one to have received a 1500 (perfect score) on her trials. June is an orphan who lives with her older brother Metias, an upper ranking soldier.
I found the story to be very fast-paced, the action sequences were heart-stopping, and the characters were well-defined and original. There were times when I felt as if the story had become a little too predictable. It seemed as if it were a mashup of different dystopian novels that I had read in the past. The trials reminded me a little of Divergent, the biochemical warfare reminded me of V for Vendetta, and the surveillance technology and Electro Primo reminded me of 1984. The character deaths were predictable as well.
With that said, I would still recommend the book. I really liked how Lu created her two main characters. I like how June is more than just a pretty face or a brain. She is strong, smart, independent, pretty, and she is not a damsel in distress. Overall, a very strong young adult character. Day is an equally compelling character with a sense of responsibility to take care of his family, Tess, and to uncover the government’s secret agenda. He is sort of like a robin hood figure dropped into a dystopian setting.
This is the first time I had ever read anything written by Marie Lu. I was pleasantly surprised, and I can’t wait to read the other two books in the series. I would recommend Legend to fans of young adult dystopian novels. This novel has everything that any young adult dystopian fan would want… romance, action, secrets, and strong characters.
About the Book Title: Legend Author: Marie Lu Series: Legend (Book #1: Legend, Book #2: Prodigy, Book #3: Champion) Year Published: 2011 Pages: 305 Genres & Subjects: Dystopian, Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Adventure, Fiction
Until Next Time,