Series: Legend #1
Author: Marie Lu
Published: November 2011 by Putnam Juvenile (Penguin Group)
(Amazon / Goodreads)
Synopsis: 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.
Last November I read my first Marie Lu book, The Young Elites, and was blown away by her writing, world building, and characterizations. I knew I needed to read more of her books so I couldn't wait to start this series that I know a lot of people love. And while I did find Legend to be an enjoyable read, I didn't love it. I thought it had great characters and an interesting narrative style but I found the plot to be a little basic and I wanted more world-building.
Probably my favorite thing about Legend was the characters. Both main characters were complex and interesting and while they are similar they are also incredibly different. Both June and Day are larger than life. June is the youngest prodigy serving in the military and is well-known for her prowess and intellect despite being a teenager. But she's not your average kickass female warrior. Despite being incredibly skilled she still has to prove herself to others. I found her really compelling because while she never for a moment doubts herself that's kind of her biggest weakness. She is a little sheltered and very trusting which gets her into trouble sometimes. But that is what makes her a well-rounded and likable character. Day however is not an elite, he is the most notorious criminal. He is also well-known and infamous for his skills and intellect. He's definitely misunderstood though and has this real Robin Hood vibe about him that I totally respected. And while they come from different backgrounds and want different things, they find a kinship in one another. And while I did enjoy that aspect of their relationship, I didn't love their romance. It was a little intsa-lovey and for me their companionship didn't have to be romantic. But that didn't ruin their characters. I was still invested in their struggle and wanted to see them succeed.
But liking the characters so much was really helpful for the narrative style of the book, another thing that really worked for me. You know that I don't love alternating perspectives but seriously, no one does it better than Marie Lu. Both June and Day had very distinct voices despite their similarities. Seeing the book from each of their perspectives led to us getting to know them a lot better. I felt like I knew them both on a deeper level and I wanted to see them succeed even when they were at odds. The other thing that the alternating perspectives did was create a lot of dramatic irony. We knew things that the characters did not know and that made for a really suspenseful narrative.
But thankfully this is just the start of a new series and I am excited to see it all develop. I don't always love first books so I am going to continue with this series and find out more about the world and these characters.
Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy/Borrow. If you are a big dystopia fan check this series out. It was a good start to a series and I am excited to see where things go. I am definitely connected to these characters and I want to see where it all ends for them.
Have you read Legend? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!