Legend #1 by Marie Lu
Putnam Juvenile, 305 Pages
US Release Date: November 29, 2011
Challenges: Local Library Challenge, Debut Author Challenge
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.
You try to walk in the light.
What is up with all the amazing debut Dystopians this year?? How many times can I be blown away by a book?!
Legend is a brilliant, thrilling novel, filled with delicious tension (of all kinds), a lot of action, and overflowing strength. The story focuses on June Iparis, a military prodigy, and Day, a criminal slum, as they navigate their lives in a time of war between the Republic and Colonies, and a deadly plague that's taking its toll on the population.
It was shocking how fast I fell in love with Day. Almost from his page 1, you know he's something special, that he's one of those characters who is going to own your heart - and not only that, but he'll earn and deserve that love. He's solid, and it only gets better as the story goes on. Much, much better.
It was equally as shocking how much I liked June. Female main characters are a gamble with me (I'm fairly judgmental. Seriously), and it took me by surprise how much I liked this one. She's strong in a really vulnerable way, especially when her brother is killed. Even as the novel progressed and more details came about, lies were revealed in equal measure to truths...June was very much who she'd been established to be. Her evolution is sensible and unpredictable, in a good way.
In fact, every character was done really, really well. It's amazing the sensibility you get from each character from the very beginning, and Marie Lu was a master in maintaining it all. There are some books you read that confuse you as you go on, wondering why a character would do something or what the motivations were; not so with this. You know each one, in a very clear and concise way, and it all works together seamlessly.
Truthfully, I was a bit wary of the story and had avoided it for a bit because I have a lot of weird hangups when it comes to militarism and biowarfare (separate and together). Anything to do with biology freaks me out (I also have an overactive imagination), and because my life is so intertwined with everything militant, it's a very odd mix to me. But Legend completely blew all those were hangups out of the water and made me question why I'd even worried. The plot is exciting and original, and there were so many little twists and turns it kept me glued to the pages. There wasn't really anything that completely threw me off or came out of nowhere, but I actually think it was better that way; you're questioning and thinking right along with the characters.
Something I loved loved LOVED about this novel was the details. It paralleled so well with both Day's and June's personalities, and it added so much more depth to the novel. I'm definitely a details girl, I notice little things in mass quantities, and this satisfied all my wanting.
When I was thinking about how I was going to review this book, the word I kept coming back to was SMART. It's a smart read - not meaning pretentious or the readers are smart (well...you know.) or that it's got ridiculously big words. I just mean that there's a certain amount of intelligence worked through the plot, that everything that happens is done with care and cleverness. The characters are meant to be brilliant, and it shows very well throughout the novel.
Legend felt very different from a lot of books I've read this year, in the best way. It's a Dystopian, yes, but not outlandishly so -- it's almost terrifying how you could see this as a future for the world. I was delighted to feel elements of all genres in it: some romance, a lot of action, tons of thrill, the biowarfare added just a touch of horror for me...it's truly a phenomenal read.
5 Stars / 5