Book Review: Legend by Marie Lu

2What 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.

My Rating:  4 cupcakes

I’m a sucker for anything that has the sales pitch “if you liked The Hunger Games, you’ll like this.” While it may seem like all new dystopian novels are being described in this way, Legend is one of the few that I believe truly lives up to this comparison. It’s a quick, fun read that immerses the reader in action-filled scenes straight away.

The events of Legend take place in a futuristic Los Angeles with a strong military presence working to combat the spread of Plagues that are affecting the poorer sectors. The worldbuilding is more visual than explanatory; it’s easy to picture this dystopian world, though there isn’t much description in terms of what happened to bring the United States to this state. The Patriots, the Republic and the Colonies are frequently mentioned, although their backstories aren’t ever completely fleshed out. Hopefully the sequel will dig deeper and provide more details about this world that Marie Lu has created.

The story is told through the alternating perspectives of June and Day, who are both prodigies in their own right, though one is being trained for the military while the other is a wanted criminal. They are from completely different backgrounds, and as the reader we get to experience both of these environments firsthand through the dual narrations. Both protagonists were strong, intelligent, resourceful, and likeable, though their voices were often interchangeable – if it weren’t for the gold text (which took a bit to get used to) indicating that Day was narrating, I likely would have kept mixing him up with June. The secondary characters were likeable too, but they weren’t as well-developed as June and Day; they seemed more like plot devices than actual people, though that may be due to their lack of page time.

Overall, Legend is a very enjoyable read with a movie-like feel to it. Between street fighting, government plots, riots, and escape scenes, there was never a shortage of excitement to keep the plot moving at its quick pace. It’s easy enough to get wrapped up in the story, and makes the few issues I had with it easy to overlook. I can’t wait to get my hands on Prodigy!

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