Author: Marie Lu
Genre: YA Dystopian
Series: Legend (Book 1)
Publication Date: November 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 305 Pages
ISBN-10: 039925675X (Penguin/Putnam)
ISBN-13: 978-0399256752 (Penguin/Putnam)
Reviewed by: Macie
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.
Quick and Dirty: I was on the edge of my seat the whole book! The story moves very evenly with action, interaction, and memories spread throughout.
Opening Sentence: My mother thinks I’m dead.
The first person narration switches each chapter from June to Day giving both views from the side of the law to the lawless of what takes place. June is very smart, independent, and loyal to her family and government. Day is also smart, independent, and loyal to his family and thwarting the government. June was raised in a rich and privileged family, and is on the fast track to becoming an important member of the Republic’s military. Day is faceless criminal who only wants to make sure his family is safe from the Republic’s corrupt system. June and Day support very different causes, but are more alike than each could ever know.
At this point, Los Angeles is a rundown, plague stricken city that the government covers up with brutal military control and Jumbo Trons constantly blasting propaganda on every street corner. Extreme weather, war, and sickness have beaten the people of Los Angeles into submission, and the only people who have any power are those in the military. Education is only allowed to those who have passed the Republic’s test. Those who fail are sent to work in labor camps, or worse. There are a lot of holes in the story because the government has pulled the wool over the citizens’ eyes which June and Day work independently to find out. Figuring out what is really going on in this future America is one of the driving forces that makes this novel so intriguing. Corruption, murder, and inequality make for a terrible society, but a great book.
Legend is full of conflict. Until June’s brother is murdered, no one knew what Day looked like. This moment is what brought the two together as June goes undercover to enact justice for her brother’s murder while also catching the most wanted criminal. June is conflicted internally about her brother’s murder when new information suggests that Day might not have been responsible. Day actively antagonizes the government to make up for the injustices they caused him and his family. The Republic is in a long war with the Colonies and the rebel group, the Patriots. The Republic may even be quietly at war with its own citizens. All these different threads are woven together with the characters creates a very intriguing book that kept me reading until the very end.
The characters of June and Day are different, but very likable. Both are strong, and feel the need to do whatever they think is right. This eventually gets both of them in trouble, but they work to do what they can to buck the system that has kept them in the dark. June is hard to convince, but she is not stupid, just stubborn and heartbroken that she may have been lied to all of her life. The people and system she trusted let her down. Day knew from a young age that the society he lived in was wrong, and that lead him to turn to crime as a way to get back at the Republic.
This novel is fast paced, but also feels like the reader is living alongside the characters as they work through their issues. I particularly liked the interactions between June and Day as both learn from the other and eventually find at least one person they can trust wholly. Every single character in this book is fleshed out and convincing. When reading each chapter, I felt like I was June or Day, and every character felt as real to me as people in my own life. I really enjoyed Legend and I’m very excited to read the next installment!
I’m careful not to walk under the streetlamps. In fact, I would have traveled by rooftop if I weren’t going to the financial sector, where guards line the roofs. All around me the JumpTrons blare their colorful campaigns, the sound of their ads distorted and jolty from the city speakers. One of them shows an updated profile of Day–this time featuring a boy with long, black hair. Next to the JumboTrons are flickering streetlights, and under those walk crowds of night-shift workers, police, and merchants. Every now and then, a tank rolls through, followed by several platoons of troops. (They have blue stripes on their sleeves–soldiers back from the warfront, or soldiers rotating out to the warfront. They keep their guns by their sides, with both hands on the weapon.) They all look like Metias to me, and I have to breathe a little harder, walk a little faster, anything to stay focused.
I take the long way through Batalla, through the sector’s side roads and abandoned buildings, not stopping until I’m a good distance outside of military grounds.
The street police won’t know I’m on a mission. If they see me dressed like this, equipped with infrared goggles, they’ll question me for sure.
The Arcadia bank lies on a quiet street. I go around the bank’s back side until I’m standing in front of a parking lot at the end of the alleyway. There, I wait in the shadows. My goggles wash most of the color out of the scene. i look around and see rows of city speakers on the roofs, a stray cat whose tail twitches over the lid of a trash can, an abandoned kiosk with old anti-Colonies bulletins tacked all over it.
The Legend Series:
FTC Advisory: Penguin Teen provided me with a copy of Legend. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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