Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Length: 320 pages
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.
Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills.
Protagonists: June was raised in a life of luxury, never having to fear the vast amounts of plague, that run rampant in the poorer sections of the Republic, due to annual vaccinations, and she is the only member of the Republic to receive a perfect score on her Trial on her tenth birthday. She's ranked a prodigy and her charmed life can only become more charming, right? Day on the other hand lives on the run. He's the Republic's Most Wanted criminal having escaped the Republic's control after failing his Trial and making their lives hell every day since. These two couldn't seem more different, but after a tragedy rocks June's world she and Day are drawn together by a series of circumstances that lead them both to question what exactly their government is up to. I really loved that this book was told in a dual point of view as well as the fact that the voices were so distinct that it was hard to forget who was talking. Day and June are both extraordinary characters who had the perfect balance of hard core bad ass skills to flaws. They were a great pair that I can't wait to see go forward.
Romance: The romance in this book was actually pretty tame, it wasn't a domineering force that drove the plot but it also wasn't something that seemed thrown in to appeal the a certain demographic. It was natural and sweet, at least most of the time. There is a bit of a love triangle, though it's not anything to take seriously as the side opposite Day for June's affections becomes a total tool pretty quickly. Besides June never really develops feelings for him making it very one-sided. I'd heard that this series was romance-lite, but it actually had a bit more than I was expecting. I would still agree that it's light on the romance, but there is still a fair bit in this story.
World-Building: I can't remember the last time I'd read a dystopian this good, or one with a government so frightening. This story has everything a great dystopian needs, corrupt government, kick-ass awesome heroes, and dark secrets that our heroes will uncover over the course of the story. In this world upon turning ten each citizen takes something called the Trial, the score of which will determine your future success or failure. The higher score you have the more opportunities such as higher education, while a "failing" score will get you sent off to work camps. In addition to that there are various plagues that infect the inhabitants of poorer sector, the richer ones get vaccines, and the Republic is at war with "The Colonies." So there is a lot of crazy stuff going down.
Predictability: So, this is actually the result of my second attempt at reading Legend, the first time I had to stop because things came up, not that it wasn't very enjoyable, but the first time I started reading it I got maybe a quarter of the way through and over the year or so it took me to pick it up again a lot of my memories of this book were distorted leaving some very interesting twists that were only twists because I remembered something different. The new information however was also full of twists and while I could predict a few things, I was never bored by my predictions and instead was waiting with bated breath to see if I was right.
Ending: The ending of this book didn't have a cliffhanger, but it might as well have since after finishing this book I can't wait to find out what happens next. The final confrontation is full of action and suspense while one final twist will leave you heart broken, and in some way a bit at peace. It's a bittersweet ending that wraps up the story line for this book while still leaving plenty of loose ends to tie up in the future books.
This book is so worth the hype it gets. At first I wasn't so sure as it seems like any ordinary dystopian, but soon after it starts things really pick up and it's a book I challenge you to try and put down after the first 100 pages.