Review: Legend by Marie Lu

Legend (Legend #1)
By Marie Lu
305 Pages
Published by Putnam Juvenile

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’ 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.

I confess, I was skeptical of this book going in. There were just too many rave reviews all over the internet and it seemed as though Legend was almost uniformly loved by book bloggers. In fact, I don’t think I saw a single truly negative review. For a cynical misanthrope like me that is almost always a sign that something won’t live up to my expectations. In this case, I’m happy to say that I was wrong. While I didn’t absolutely love it quite as much as many people seemed to, I really did like Legend a lot.

I was also initially concerned when I read that some of the book was written in gold font. I imagined the YA equivalent of one of those magic eye puzzle books where you try to find the sailboat or the schooner. I also imagined myself developing migraine headaches and/or going blind while trying to read and frankly, I’m too young to need bifocals. Happily, this was not a problem at all. The gold font was really dark, almost more of a brown or a sepia. Totally easy to read, and useful because since the book is written in chapters that alternate between Day and June it makes it easy to remember whose chapter you’re currently reading.

I like the fact that Legend is written in alternating chapters. Not that a single protagonist gets boring in a well-written book by any means, but I love getting two (or more) perspectives on the same story. It was really interesting to see how June and Day’s relationship grew from both sides.

That said, I found Day a lot more likeable than June. To be honest, I kind of found June to be a spoiled bitch. Especially early on. Yeah, that’s how she was raised and yeah, she’s dealt with a tremendous amount of loss but early on she has no compassion whatsoever for anyone who leads a life different than the one of privilege she’s used to. She does grow and become more likeable, but at that point she had already left a bad taste in my mouth. Day, on the other hand, dealt with just as much loss and adversity as June – more, actually – and decided to spend his life helping others. Day is one of the more likeable/respectable characters I’ve come across in a book lately, which is funny considering that he’s a “criminal”. I had a little bit of an issue with Day & June getting together so quickly because I find it hard to believe that she’d be his type AT ALL aside from being tough and badass, but I’m sure it’ll get more development in the sequel.

Overall Legend exceeded my expectations and lived up to the good buzz hype.

4/5 stars – I Like It Very Much

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