Author: Marie Lu
Published: November 29th 2011
Length: 305 pages (Hardcover)
Series: Legend #1
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
So, I’ve finally picked up Legend! :) One of my friends read it a couple of weeks ago, and she finished it so quickly, I got curious and had to get my hands on it :). Good thing, because I really liked it!
Legend is about two 15-year-olds that live in a dystopian world where the US is divided into two parts. The Republic and the Colonies. It’s kind of interesting, because nobody remembers that they were once united, and the stories about the United States of America are nothing more than fairy tales one does not speak of.
Our hero and heroine live in Los Angeles, which belongs to the Republic. Their lives are completely different until one day, their paths intertwine, which changes both of their worlds.
Starting with the world, I think it had a very nice and interesting concept. In the Republic, nothing holds more value than your military skills. The whole future lives of their children are decided at the age of ten, when they take the Trial. The Trial is a test were they try to estimate how good a soldier you might grow up to be. The lucky ones with high scores get to continue their studies, while the very unlucky failures get sent away to an unknown destiny. They kind of raise the perfect soldiers.
“Several different things could happen after you take the Trial.
You get a perfect score- 1500 points. No one’s ever gotten this- well, except for some kid a few years ago who the military made a goddy fuss over. Who knows what happens to someone with ascore that high? Probably lots of money and power, yeah?
You score between a 1450 and a 1499. Pat yourself on the back because you’ll get instant access to six years of high school and then four at the top universities in th Republi: Drake, Stanford, and Brennan. Then Congress hires you and you make lots of money. Joy and happiness follow. At least according to the Republic.
You get a good score, somewhere between 1250 and 1449 points. You get to continue on to high school, and then you’re assigned to a college. Not bad.
You squeak by with a score between 1000 and 1249. Congress bars you from high school. You join the poor, like my family. You’ll probably either drown while working the water turbines or get steamed to death in the power plants.
While Day, our male lead, failed his Trial, June is the only person who has gotten 1500. She is the golden girl of the Republic, and has a bright future ahead of her.
June’s descriptions of her college, Drake, is both horrifying and fascinating. This is what she tells the reader about the time she had to shadow an assigned military branch one year earlier for school:
“I tracked him into an alley in Yellowstone City, Montana, and Metias shot him. During the chase, I broke three ribs and had a knife buried in my leg.”
Another thing that’s really important to the story, is the plauge.
The plauge is a major problem for the people living in the poor sectors. Once you’re infected, the soldiers paint a cross at your door, which basically means you can’t leave your house and will die shortly. Unless you get the cure of course…which only the rich people can afford. Too bad they don’t need it, because they’re vaccinated. Real fair, right?
This brings me to Day and his family. You see, this is how the story begins. With a soldier painting a big, nasty cross right across the door of Day’s family’s house. Now it’s up to him to get his hands on a cure and save his little brother.
What amazes me, is how fast I came to care about Day, his mother and his brothers. It only took like two pages, so good job there, Lu.
Day was to me a really enjoyable character. I liked his voice immediatly, which made me want to continue reading and find out more about him and his story.
Sometimes, he kind of reminded me about Robin Hood. The young, master-criminal who sabotages the rich to help the poor :). He has lots of baggage and has gone through some real shit already, even though he’s only 15. His own mother believes he’s dead, which must be horrible.
I liked June’s PoV almost as much as Day’s. They were kind of similar, but I could still separate their voices, which was good. To me, if you can’t tell the voices apart, then what’s the point of doing multiple PoVs?
June is really strong, clever and tough. She actually made me think of Sherlock Holmes. She could basically look at a person for two seconds, and then know everything about them.
“The details rush in, and I start talking. “Whoever hit him with this knife either stabbed him from close range or has an incredibly strong throwing arm. right-handed.” I run my fingers along the blood-caked handle. “Impressive aim. The knife is one of a pair, correct? See this pattern painted on the bottom of the blade? It cuts of abruptly.”
One thing I really liked about June, was that she started out like this cold person, and then softens up as the story moves forward (not losing her badass-ness though). She wants to do the right thing. She doesn’t want to hurt people, but she’s very conflicted. Should she follow orders, or not?
By the way, I LOVED her brother Metias. And funny story, I didn’t read the synopsis before reading the book…which meant I allowed myself to really get attached, not knowing he would die so soon. :'( I really applaud Marie Lu for being able to make me care for characters I’ve only known for a few pages.
“You’re not going to leave me too, are you? You’ll stay with me longer than mom and dad did?” Metias kissed me on the forehead. “Forever and ever ,kid, until you’re sick and tired of seeing me.”
I really liked the moments between June and Day :). They understood each other, and had great and fun dialogues. Some things happened a bit fast, but since it was kind of necessary for the story, I forgive Marie Lu.
Overall, Legend had a great pace, great characters, lots of action and kick-ass moments, and interesting world-building. Almost anything can happen in the next book and I can’t wait to read it :)
“Each day means a new twenty-four hours. Each day means everything’s possible again. You live in the moment, you die in the moment, you take it all one day at a time.”
“They never found out who did it, and I never came forward. There was, after all, no evidence. I had committed my first perfect crime. My mother used to hope that I would rise up from my humble roots. Become someone successful, or even famous. I’m famous all right, but I don’t think it’s what she had in mind.”
“Metias stared off into the distance. “Few people ever kill for the right reasons, June,” he said after a long silence. “most do it for the wrong reasons. I just hope you never have to be in either category.”