blo Teens Read and Write: YA Book Review: LEGEND by Marie Lu

Monday, March 12, 2012

YA Book Review: LEGEND by Marie Lu

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' 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.
With the couple-from-the-opposite-sides-of-the-tracks theme, Legend has a Romeo and Juliet vibe, but romance takes a backseat to this action-filled dystopian.

And in this case, Juliet is a kick-butt soldier type.

The U.S. is divided into warring factions of East (Colonies) and West (Republic). June is a military prodigy for the Republic, her mind filled with all the rhetoric that goes with it. When her brother is killed, supposedly by the all-evil Day, she is sent in pursuit. Undercover in the slums, June meets up with Day and the story starts rolling. 

With alternating points of view you get to know each character well. I loved June. Her development is a bit different. Instead of the softie who finds her inner strength, June is a hardnosed believer in the cause who softens over time as she and Day uncover the truth of the malevolent government conspiracy.

And she warms up to Day.

Who wouldn’t? Day is an adorable sweetie, cast in this role of nefarious criminal when he’s really just trying to protect his family and live a peaceful, happy life. But this is dystopian, guys, so life sucks and few get what they want.

A horrific plague runs rampant (and threatens Day’s loved ones), the Republic is a police state where the poor are under the government’s thumb, and everyone’s life hangs by a precarious thread. Mystery and intrigue abound, June’s whole belief system turns upside down, and the story provides plenty of thrills and chills, as well as death and mayhem.

The plot is often predictable – you can figure out who Metias’ real killer is in the first few pages, and overall the “surprises” aren’t really surprising. But who cares when the story is this engaging!

The action, drama, machinations, and political maneuvering, as well as captivating characters you’re happy to invest in (especially June), make Legend excellent entertainment.

I'm excited for the sequel because even though many secrets were revealed, I know there’s a bigger story lurking in the shadows just itching to be told!

Alyssa Avatar with name


Tasha said...

I loved this book. It's one of my favourites of this year so far. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Tasha @ A Trillian Books

Blodeuedd said...

I do love dystopia, it is a weakness :D

Natascha De Marco said...

This book was definitely a favorite last year, it just has all the good stuff and hit all the right buttons.

Golden Eagle said...

I just finished reading this yesterday, and I really enjoyed it! (I agree about the plot, though; none of the twists came as a shock.)

Great review!


Oh, I've been looking forward to reading this one, sometime. It's predictable? Bummer. But it's still worth reading? You sure?


Maya said...

Just got this book and I can't wait to read it! Predictable? Well... so was Percy Jackson but I still enjoyed it. Good review!

Jenny said...

I'm with you Alyssa, I don't mind if things are predictable as long as the characters and the story demand I get involved and refuse to leave me be until I do:) I'm can overlook a number of flaws if the characters are well-executed, characters are my very favorite part:)

Jenny N. said...

If its anything like America's Most Wanted them I'm in for sure. I love that show and watch it religiously every week.

Stina said...

Both my 12 yo (who's very fussy) and I loved this book. We're going to be fighting to see who gets to read the sequel first. Hopefully it comes out before his birthday, then I can read it and he won't know. :D

A Canadian Girl said...

Although the plot is predictable and the worldbuilding a bit iffy, I loved this one. June and Day are such great characters, and it was full of action. I can't wait for the sequel either, Alyssa!

J.R. (Romancing The Book & Bookish After Dark) said...

I really liked this one as well. I agree with many of the points you made in your review...Though at times predictable as long as the story is engaging I'm a pretty happy camper.

P.S. Is it weird that when I saw the "America's Most Wanted" graphic I started humming the "Cops" theme song?

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

I totally agree. Predictability is fine when the story is so engaging! I have been wanting to read this one and I already have it on my wishlist. I really need to get this book. :)

The Insouciant Sophisticate said...

I love your review! I agree with so many of your points especially about how engaging June and Day are! Usually when I read a book with two narrators, I find myself gravitating toward one way more than the other (such as in the Leviathan trilogy) but this one was pretty much balanced because both were so great.

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