Review: “Legend” by Marie Lu

Legend (Legend #1) by Marie Lu

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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.
Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills.

Four stars

On my birthday, I walked into my local indie bookstore and magically happened onto signed copies of Marie Lu’s Legend. I took it as a good sign.

And it was.

Legend was one of those books that I’d heard EVERYTHING about but had yet to actually pick up. In my dystopian rush, it found its way onto the back end and then my want to read dystopian vanished because they were FREAKING EVERYWHERE. But when your teeny tiny local indie has SIGNED STOCK, you do not look away.

Thank goodness, too.

I’m not sure what I expected out of this book, but I got the distinct impression from page one that it wasn’t what I thought. No, I still can’t pinpoint what exactly, but perhaps it was the writing of the book that was different then I expected. Let’s hit some of the things that confused me, first, so we can get that out of the way.

The book is written in the first person, switching back and forth from June and Day’s perspectives. From the beginning, I could not for the life of me remember that June and Day were only 15. In places, they were written feeling much older. In others, it felt like they were younger.

I was also expecting far more action than there was. When I think action, I think fight scenes, car chases, etc. There was in fact far more suspense, as June figures out who really killed her brother and Day tries to save his family.

The romance also threw me for a loop. I mean, Day and June are FIFTEEN. But even they are not immune to insta-love and … make out sessions? They are FIFTEEN. Plus, it almost felt like the romance was thrown in to make sense of June’s actions, but quite frankly I found it irrelevant. June and Day have a bond based on a heck of a lot more than liking to kiss each other, and I wish that had been highlighted more.

Curiously, it was the world building that confounded me most. I’m used to dystopians including infodumps after infodumps, or constructing flimsy worlds that need much more information. This world made plenty of sense and was in fact quite interesting, but there was still no explanation. I felt like I missed a whole chapter of explanation about how the US got to the place that it did in its history. Maybe I just read it too fast and missed it, but I would have died for more background then I got.

Now, I know, I’ve picked at EVERYTHING, right? Wrong. There were plenty of things in the book that I liked! I did like the world, as much as I got anyways, and I did like the characters. By themselves, June and Day were fantastically written. June’s commander seemed a little one-dimensional towards the end, but the character of Thomas was by far my favorite “grey” guy (i.e., not good, not bad … maybe :P). Lu certainly wasn’t afraid to let the bullets fly to raise the stakes, either, which was exciting. Once I got into the rhythm, I just let the book take me along for the ride.

I cannot wait for the second book in this series. The end of Legend left it open for SO MUCH to happen in SO MANY different ways, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. The end certainly held the action I’d been waiting for, and I think there’s going to be a lot more of it in the next one. I’m very glad I finally got around to starting this series, and now I don’t want to stop!

The second book in the Legend series, Prodigy, is schedule to be released January 29th, 2013.

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4 thoughts on “Review: “Legend” by Marie Lu

  1. Roni Lynne says:

    I’ve also been hearing A LOT about this one. Thanks for your review. I’m still kinda on the fence as to whether or not I will pick it up. I just might…

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