Synopsis: In post-apocalyptic Los Angeles, a never-ending war against both a rebellion called “The Patriots” and the rival Colonies holds The Republic of America in thrall. June Iparis, a prodigy from an upper-class military family, is one of The Republic’s most promising young soldiers. She’s given the job of tracking Day, an elusive rebel who’s never even been seen. Day grew up in one of the poor, plague-ridden sectors of LA. He now lives on the streets, steals to survive, and destroys military property on principle. When he and June are brought together by her brother’s death, their romance and adventure has every possibility of becoming legend.
Is this a “must-read”?: It could be.
Why?: Legend is good in all the ways a YA novel should be. Relatable yet awesome protags? Check. Dystopian setting with penchants for cruelty, sharp class divides, and restricting freedom? Check. Heroes who risk it all to do the right thing? Check. Character who only learns of the true extent of her side’s evilness when it’s laid bare before her? Check. It kind of felt like Lu actually made a list of “Components of an Epic YA Dystopian Novel” and just checked everything off. So while I really wanted to love it, I couldn’t; it was just missing that Wow! factor. Also, as has been happening a lot lately, one of my favorite characters died and that’s just not fair.
However, I do feel that Legend has a lot of potential to be epic. There were quite a few foreshadow-y moments and more than a few thematic, er, things (I’m tired, give me a break) that could really take it to the next level. June’s transition from dutiful-if-headstrong soldier to full-on rebel says a lot about her capacity for growth and change. (And no, revealing that she switches sides is not really a spoiler because you can pretty much tell that’s going to happen from the first page). June’s frenemy Thomas has some interesting internal conflict that could make him a formidable villain in the future, and I’d love to hear more about her brother Metias. Then there’s The Patriots. They’re the rebellion, so they should be the good guys, but their soldiers typically commit suicide rather than allow themselves to be captured, which suggests that there’s more than a little brainwashing on that side, too.
And then there’s the title, Legend. Really? Isn’t every YA character a legend in their own world? I don’t know if this was the publishing company’s attempt at selling more books or just lazy titling on Lu’s part, but I was not impressed. Legend is a good intro book. I will definitely be checking out the sequel, Prodigy, as soon as I can to see if Marie Lu takes advantage of any of the sort-of beginnings she has in Legend. Until then, Legend gets a B- from me.
Next time: Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Post by dac213! Catch up on the rest of her series here!