by Marie Lu
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. (Goodreads)
I gotta admit, for about the first half of this book, I wasn’t that crazy about it. I don’t know if it’s because I had just read The Hunger Games and I wasn’t ready for another YA dystopian novel just yet or what. I wasn’t hating it, by any means. But I wasn’t loving it, either. But then I got to the good bits… 😀
June is a highly skilled military prodigy on the hunt for her brother’s killer. In an attempt to learn the whereabouts of the boy she’s hunting down, she disguises herself as a street rat (cause obv this book makes me think of Aladdin) and begins her life as a spy on the streets. This, for me, was when it really got interesting. Everything before this was essentially just setting up the rest of the story. But this part. This part is where it gets good.
The story’s told from two different perspectives, and it works so well. The chapters alternate between June’s perspective and Day’s perspective, and it’s so neat getting to see both sides of a dystopian universe. Normally in dystopian novels, the protagonist is the one trying to fight the system, but in Legend, we get that and a secondary protagonist who’s part of the system. I thought this was such a cool way to tell this story, and Marie Lu absolutely pulls it off. It’s no surprise that she’s such a popular YA author — the story is interesting, the characters have depth, and the writing is perfect for a YA novel.
I did have a few problems with the book, though, which is why I’m giving it 4 stars. First, a personal stylistic problem. As I said, the chapters alternate between perspectives, but Lu goes even farther by using different fonts for each perspective as well. This is a really interesting decision, and I feel like it could work, but the font chosen for Day’s perspective is horrible. It was hard for me to finish some of his chapters because it was just killing my eyes to read that font.
There were also some plot points I didn’t like. There’s a constant mentioning of Day’s knee injury, but we don’t learn anything about it until the very end of the book. I get why Lu did this, but I just feel like there’s so much emphasis put on it with no explanation about what happened, how he got it, when he got it, etc. until the end. I don’t know how she would have done it any other way because of its ties to the overall plot, but still. Ya could’ve given us a little something more.
Same goes with the plague. In this novel, there’s a plague that continuously sweeps across the nation. It plays a huge part in the plot, but we don’t learn anything about it throughout the book. There are no details about symptoms, how fast it progresses, when people started getting infected, etc. The story behind the plague unfolds as the story goes on, but I still feel like there’s so much information missing. We only briefly learn of one person’s symptoms, but there’s so many different strains of this plague that these symptoms could only apply to that one person — we don’t really know, because hardly any details are revealed about it.
Overall, it was a pretty good book. It was a fun read, and it actually made me feel like I was back in high school (I used to read a lot of YA in high school). Mainly because of the way the romance aspect was written. It was, well, cute. 🙂 I’m interested to see how the story unfolds in the other two books in the trilogy!