Legend (Legend #1) – Marie Lu

Published August 25, 2015 by bibliobeth

9275658

What’s it all about?:

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.

What did I think?:

Legend is another one of those YA novels set in a dystopian future where the world we know it is at war with each other and a vile, corrupt government is responsible for a host of bad decisions that leave a vast number of people in poverty or danger. I’m glad to report that I felt it held its own against rivals such as The Hunger Games and Divergent and it’s one of those books that I can easily see on the big screens like its predecessors. Our two main characters – a heroine and a hero, are vastly different in the obvious ways i.e. June, who has lived a privileged life and is the Republic’s darling, set to shine brightly as a military genius when compared to Day who is the Republic’s most wanted criminal and barely manages to scrape enough together to make sure his family does not go hungry. However, when their paths inevitably cross, both June and Day have some striking similarities but have to decide whether the other can be trusted.

So the world has gone a little crazy, to put it mildly and what we know as Los Angeles is dominated by the Republic, ruled over by an Elector Primo who can re-elect himself time and time again (where did democracy sneak off to?!). By the age of ten, each child who lives in the state must take a test known as The Trial composed of both written and physical examinations. If they pass they are practically guaranteed a nice life with a well-paid job for the rest of their years and if they fail, well they can say hello to Poverty Central. I wasn’t too enamoured with the world-building here, mainly because I was so curious about how exactly the world came to be in this state and wouldn’t have minded a bit of history or background information. This may be what the author is working up to and I hope that the next books in the series will explain all of this in a bit more detail.

I really loved the characters of both June and Day and as we get both points of view in alternating chapters, it gave a nice glance into both sides of this peculiar world where the flu is killing off the poor in their hundreds yet the rich are automatically guaranteed a vaccination. Hmm….interesting. We see Day suffering every day as he tries to hide himself from the authorities while still trying to sneak ways to visit and look after his family, especially when one of them becomes desperately ill with the dreaded flu. June’s suffering on the other hand only begins when her beloved older brother Metias is killed in action while trying to apprehend a dangerous and notorious criminal – yes, that would be Day! Hell-bent on revenge and with all the right skills at her disposal, the Republic uses her grief for her brother as a weapon so they may finally get their hands on the Republic’s Most Wanted. When the two finally meet, they are both startled to realise neither is who they thought they expected them to be and if they join forces, they just might be able to make a stand against a government with evil on its mind.

I have to admit, I was pretty gutted when the author decided to kill off June’s brother Metias, as in the short time we get to know him, he is instantly likeable and I loved the strong bond between brother and sister that was portrayed. This gave June so much more strength and believability as a character though and it was exciting/sad to see how much she developed in maturity without her brother there to hold her hand. At times she did seem hopelessly naive in her beliefs over the Republic but on the other hand, if it is all she has known and she has never come across anyone who would tell her otherwise, it wasn’t surprising.

Legend is a fast-paced and thrilling read and it steps up level by level as the story continues to a nail-biting finale where we finally begin to understand just how low the Republic would stoop in order to keep their little world just the way they like it. I’m definitely looking forward to reading the next book in the series and I have high hopes that we will see some more world-building, more “kicking ass,” more anticipation and terror and probably even more questions that I will in no doubt want immediately answered by the final book!

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

 

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