Monday, December 19, 2011

Review: Legend by Marie Lu

From Goodreads: 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. 

My Rating: 4.5 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: With my last dystopian read being Veronica Roth’s amazing Divergent a few months ago, and me not being a huge fan of the dystopian genre, Marie Lu’s Legend had some pretty shoes to follow up on. And, oh my gosh, did it ever! While the plot is a little predictable, Legend kept me hooked enough that I stayed up late and finished reading it within a day.

The story is narrated through the alternating perspectives of June and Day who are a little on the younger side – they’re only fifteen – to be living by themselves. I’m willing to let that slide a bit though because June is a prodigy and Day is smart and has exceptional (and totally unrealistic) physical abilities.

June originally comes off as slightly standoffish, but she slowly becomes more likeable over the course of the novel. Despite living a sheltered life and now becoming an agent for the Republic, I liked that June was willing to question things even if they came from the mouth of a known criminal. She could have easily ignored whatever Day said and been a perfect soldier who believed everything that the Republic taught her.

Day was even more interesting to me. I loved his confidence and the fact that it was impossible to break his spirit even after he landed in the Republic’s jail. If I ever get thrown into a dystopian world, I’d want Katniss and Day by my side!

The worldbuilding is a little vague because it’s not clear how the US broke down into the Republic and the Colonies nor is much told about the Republic’s history. Since Legend is the first in a series however, I expect that Lu will reveal more in the books that will follow. For now, all I can say is that the Republic may not be so perfect, and what it does sounds hypothetically plausible.

Rather than a huge focus on romance, Legend instead focuses more on the familial bond. June has grown up under the care of her brother because her parents died in a car crash when she was young and the two have a very close relationship. It’s too bad then that Metias has to die early in the novel, but I enjoyed getting to know him through June’s memories (even if her sadness at his death sometimes felt more like a case of telling than showing). Similarly, the reader learns about Day’s family through his memories because circumstances have made it so that he’s unable to live with them and instead must survive on the streets. Personally, it was somewhat harder to care about them than Metias (except when John did what he did), but it’s obvious that they’re Day’s greatest weakness because he loves them so much.

There is some romance though; and I liked that it wasn’t something that took over the entire book. There’s clearly attraction between June and Day but there’s also a nicely developing friendship, which made me like their relationship a lot more. Lu deserves bonus points for not having her characters make declarations of love when they haven’t known each other for very long. Moreover, June and Day in my mind were greater together than each individually so I can’t wait to see what will happen to them in the sequel.

A highly recommended book for fans of the dystopian genre, Legend was released by Putnam Juvenile in November 2011. 

Comments About the Cover: I like its simplicity, and the gold embossing stands out nicely against the silver background.


  1. I love your review my dear! I also published my review of Legend a few hours ago XD
    I agree about the historic background being vague. I asked myself the same question about why US is now separated into colonies against the Republic.

    Im glad you loved it! =D I loved it too! wooohooo! =D

  2. *gasp* you're not a fan of dystopians? Eeeek it's my fav. genre! :D Glad you liked this one though I had a lot of fun with it. Day was also my fav. of the 2 he's was a great character. Excellent review! <3

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  3. I was in the minority who thought Divergent didn't live up to its hype, but I'm really curious about this one. I've read a couple of author interviews which I enjoyed and I really like the set up for this one. The dual narrative from opposing sides sounds interesting. Looking forward to meeting Day and June.

  4. Happy to hear you enjoyed this dystopian ^_^. I like them because they make me appreciate my life a lot more. Also happy to hear you enjoyed Legend, its high on my TBR list and whenever I am in the mood for a dystopian I will be sure to pick this one up. Did you know its being made into a movie?


  5. I haven't read a dystopian since Divergent either, good to know this is a good one to pick up and get back into the genre! Love that the familial bond is strong and that the story isn't completely romance-oriented. I love romance-oriented stories, but it's nice to have a break now and then. Awesome review Zahida!

  6. YAY another great review for this one!!!! Can you believe I still need to read Divergent?!?!? I LOVE dystopian and I have a copy but I still need to start!!!! Anyway I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed this one. The alternating perspectives and complex characters make we want to pick this book up NOW!!!

    BTW Sorry I haven't been around! Been sooooo busy with school :( Don't worry you will see A LOT more of me over the break. I'll be stopping by EVERY DAY those days and you will totally get fed up of me lol ;)

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  7. It's been forever since I've read a dystopian type book. I haven't really been jonesing to try one in a while... until this review. Even if the focus isn't on romance, I'm excited about Legend. Day is someone I'd definitely want on my side. I'd need is unrealistic abilities to stay... alive and stuff. LOL

  8. Oh my gosh, YAY!!!!!! I'm so happy you loved this book as much, Z!! :) I totally agree that it's a dystopian book that lives up to lots of its competition -- I finished it in a day, too! I just couldn't put it down! And I loved that it didn't focus that much just on romance because that made me love their relationship a lot more too!

    This was such an awesome review!! You said everything I was thinking and more, and I want to go back and read it right now!! :) <3

    Even though I agree with you on the age thing -- I'm 15 too but I can't do half the things that they can! It kinda made me feel incompetent LOL!! x)

  9. Yayyyy! I'm glad you liked this. I read this last week and I absolutely loved it! I agree with you on Metias. He is such a lovable character I nearly cried when he died. And also on romance part! Though I'd really prefer if they were older. :/

  10. This sounds really interesting. I like the simplicity of the cover too :) Thanks for the review, it's given me good insight into the book. Ne follower.

  11. So happy you loved this one because I really want to read it! I'm excited to read something fast paced with great characters. I'm also excited that romance takes a bit of a back seat; that's always very refreshing.

  12. Oh wow, you read this back in 2011. I only read it in August of this year but really liked it too, and it didn't die of dystopian fatigue. I also thought Day's physical abilities were ridiculous, but I still enjoyed it because it was entertaining. John - my heart. And Metias - what we discover at the end, although the way she finds out is weird (blog), is heartbreaking. And Day's test revelation is awesome.

    My main gripe was that Day and June's narrative voices were way too similar, I couldn't see their personalities from it and had to learn about them through their actions. Thankfully, those were pretty awesome. I do feel like Day and June are supposed to be mirror-images with different circumstances, so that could explain it.


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