Review: Legend

Legend (Legend #1) by Marie Lu

I give this book a 4.

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This dystopian YA tale is centered around two young prodigies, June from the privileged side of the Republic and Day, a rogue in the sea of Rebels.  I actually enjoyed this story (on audio) even though I found so many little things about it that seemed cliché. However, clichés and all, I can’t seem to be disinterested in a fight the system story that shows just how treacherous Big Brother can really be.

So now, let me explain what I loved about the story and tell you just why I didn’t give it a 5. The whole fight the system theme is right up my alley, but I don’t understand why the main characters had to both be fifteen. I get that appealing to young audience is where the money is these days, but what is it about the age fifteen that’s so special…and prodigies or not, some of the stuff these kids do is just a little ridiculous.

Then there are the themes of rich vs poor and the discovery of government secrets and lies. I’ve read too many books and seen too many movies to allow the “mystery” of this story be a surprise. I figured out what was going on way too early, but I still enjoyed how it was revealed in the end. Like many stories of its kind, in this reality, there’s good reason the rich stay rich and the poor stay poor.

World building is very important in this story, though it’s hard to picture everything all at once. It’s one of those stories that describes the surroundings and give you background, but you can only see as far as the horizon until the end. Most of the significance of the Republic, from a geographical point, isn’t clear until about halfway through the story. All in all, though, I liked what was done and appreciate the lack information up front.

Then there is the ever-present notion of romance that’s sure to ensue in some capacity. This particular romance makes me think of a mash-up between Romeo and Juliet, The Hunger Games, and The Matrix. If I try to explain what I mean here, I’ll give too much away. I’m glad to say that the story doesn’t spend more time here than necessary, but then again we are talking about fifteen-year-olds.

The last thing about this story that both attracted and repelling me a bit, was the sense that the whole story was about a struggle between the kids and the adults, even though it wasn’t supposed to be. Some of the things that occurred seemed to focus too much on the fact that the main characters were teenagers, making their age an important factor. It seems to me that if this story tells of the struggle between The Republic and the Rebellion, the age of the soldiers wouldn’t be so important as their actions.

Also, the story is told from the alternating povs of both June and Day. I was expecting this to somehow greatly enhance the story, but I don’t think it made any difference, for better or worse. It was nice and not too difficult to follow.

I’d recommend this book to fans of YA and or dystopian fiction with the mention of some violence and some subtle gore.

This review has been posted to GoodReads. If you’d like to obtain a copy of this book, try this link.

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Toi Thomas

I like reading, writing, cooking, dancing, movies, and music. I’m a big kid and choose to see the world in my own special way. Yes, I’m educated, but I haven’t let that stop me from being who I want to be. I’m a wife, teacher, author, blogger, and more.