Monday, August 5, 2013

REVIEW: LEGEND (Legend, #1) by Marie Lu

Title: Legend
Series: Legend, #1
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Publication Date: November 29, 2011
Genres: YA, Dystopian
Reviewed by: Books4Tomorrow
Source: Purchased
My smiley rating: 3/5


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.


Legend was something I’ve been looking forward to reading for quite some time now, thanks to all the positive reviews I’ve seen for it on numerous blogs. I’ve even been looking forward to reading Prodigy, the second book in this series, because I’ve seen so many positive reviews for that too. After finishing Legend in less than two days, I have a lot of mixed feelings about it.

One of the major things I didn’t like about Legend was the world-building. It was done beautifully, but it’s nothing new or original. It follows the same recipe for settings as in any other dystopian novel: think Matched, Divergent, and Under the Never Sky. Same setting, same scenarios, in fact I’ll go as far as to say same plot devices. Girl from wealthy background meets boy from poor, struggling family, hates each other at first, eventually can’t fight their inevitable attraction to each other, gradually falls in love. See? Nothing new. You only need to read the three aforementioned books to quickly tire of this type of dystopia. To add to this the plot was extremely predictable. No, really. A ten-year-old could predict what would happen next. It was that transparent. The ending felt a little rushed and I’m guessing all the loose ends (and there were loads of them) that weren’t tied up will be – I’m hoping – explained in the second book, Prodigy.

Despite all this, it was still a good and enjoyable read. For a change I liked BOTH characters and although their personalities, traits and talents were incredibly similar, I rooted for both of them. I loved how the author put Day through the wringer. I honestly thought he might not survive all he had to endure. The story is told from both Day and June’s point of view so the reader gets insight into their thoughts, feelings and histories. For me, these two characters and a few secondary characters were what kept me reading all the way to the end. The romance was subtle and not the main focus, but I had difficulty believing Day and June could fall in love in such a short space of time after she hated him so intensely. Also, Lu’s writing is engaging, but is flawed with annoying and unnecessary overuse of parenthesis to explain certain points…which reminds me, Day’s constant use of the word “cousin” was also very annoying.

Overall, I didn’t enjoy Legend as much as was hoping I would, but it has lots of potential and judging by all the hints given as to the real reason behind the plague (yes, *sigh* yet another plague caused the end of civilization as we know it), the second book sounds promising, but I’m not sure I’ll be reading it soon. I recommend Legend for fans of the aforementioned books: Matched, Divergent and Under the Never Sky. If this is to be your first dystopian read, it would be money well worth spending.


Legend by Marie Lu has 6941 reviews on Goodreads. Read it here.



I write young adult novels, and have a special love for dystopian books. Ironically, I was born in 1984. Before becoming a full-time writer, I was an Art Director at a video game company. Now I shuffle around at home and talk to myself a lot. :)

I graduated from the University of Southern California in '06 and currently live in LA, where I spend my time stuck on the freeways.

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