March 24, 2013

Review ~ Legend by Marie Lu

“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...You try to walk in the light.”

Title: Legend
Author: Marie Lu
Series: Legend #1
Length: 305
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Original Publication Date:  November 29th 2011
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.

The main story is not so uniqe. You can find the common elements of dystopias in Legend, that's why it is in that genre, after all. Miserable living conditions? Check. The poor are suffering and are suppressed by the government? Check  Epidemics and contamination? Check  A group of people who are fighting for the change? Check. What can bring some originality to story then? The character structure, style of the writer and what is closely related to this is the intensity of the story.

Let's start with the characters. Day and June are both really interesting characters. Both are very perceptive, precise, and good fighters. The latter especially made me happy. Finally some really badass YA characters. But even though the story is told through the viewpoints of Day and June, switching back and forth between them, the one who really stood out for me was June. Day was lost somewhere along the way, even though he completely rules the beginning of the book. I was also very pleased that June is a big troublemaker, but when things turn to really serious, she's able to handle the situation the way she should. While the characters will tell you what Day had done to earn his reputation as the Republic's most wanted criminal, they did not go into details. Two or three Day missions could have do some good to the book, more action like at the beginning, where readers can see how he make his plans and how he executed them. I mean a little light but interesting action, not a scene from the Expendables...  The author is trying to bring both character to the same level and trying to make us believe that now they found their match in each other, but it's not really worked for me. I hope Marie will let Day to evolve more in the next two books. But I had no problem with what bothered many people, that the characters do not seem to be the 15-years-old,  as the story takes place in a completely different world form ours. This is like saying that in the Middle Ages is absurd that a 14-15 years knight's apprentice beats any military adults. The point is not to look at it by today's standards. In addition, I really liked that every character has their own small role, affecting the story one way or another. But, unfortunately, the book could not made me care about them.

And here comes the certain intensity of the story. I did not get the excitement (not necessarily action), I was hoping for, I didn't sat clutching the arm of the chair, not even once. June and Day were not enough (for me) to carry the whole book on their own. There wasn't problem with the brutality, this book needed and fairly delivered the right amount of it, and it's definitely a good point that for all that the characters suffer. However, none of the deaths rocked me, even though I felt sorry for Day, and everyone else in the same situation, but by the time those deaths happened, I was like god at least something finally happaned, we can go somewhere from here. The endgame was also not too earth-shattering for me, I have valued the sacrafice, but like I said, I really could not bond with the characters.

You can tell that it is the first book of a series by the negative attributes that come along with it, but this is mostly depends on the reader. Those who are looking for something action packed will be disappointed. For me it was too slow. The beginning was led up beautifully with basic background informations, then it launched relatively fast and we saw Day in action. Planning, acting, surviving. Then we got some rest because Day isn't Captain America. But starting from where we jumped to June's POV and later when she meets Day it is the same pace, a really slow one. I'm not saying that there has to be some trouble and explosions on every third page but when 180 pages out of the total 300 are boring because we can't get from point "A" to point "B" than I can't rate it any higher than this, but everybody should decide themselves. So my main problems were with the filling parts and the mystery around June's brother's murderer. That part was spoiled kinda in the beginning (and anybody who even a little thinks about it will come to the same conclusion that June near the end of the book), and the solution of the main plot wasn't a suprise neither. I would have liked it if we didn't get a confrontation only in the beginning and at the end. I have to point out that even though most of the plot threads turned out to be obvious,  Day's accurate background story wasn't. I figured out some part of it myself but there is something else that about we will propably get some more information in the sequel and it has a great effect on the story and the two main characters.

The other thing where the Legend doesn't shine is the atmosphere of the world, such as we've seen in the Hunger Games and what Collins managed to grab more. Of course THG was easier because Collins could move on mostly open terrain, while Marie closed herself in a city. But I haven't seen enough of this world that I could admire. There is the same potential and dramatic atmosphere like in THG but it didn't get through as much as it should have. This includes the republic vs colonies vs patriots layers. We heard that they are in conflict but we never saw anything about this. This will be probably in the next two books.

The writer's style apart from the above listed negatives was really good. She caught the essence of the military world, and how the two main characters (especially June) always preconsider everything and this is very interesting and makes you admire them. It is obvious that Marie took a lot of effort getting the technical things right and didn't just used the avarge stuff which movies are full of.

Favorite character(s): Day, June
Favorite scene(s): Day breaking in the hospital
Favorite quote(s):
“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...You try to walk in the light.”
“I will hunt you down. I will scour the streets of Los Angeles for you. Search every street in the Republic if I have to. I will trick you and deceive you, lie, cheat and steal to find you, tempt you out of your hiding place, and chase you until you have nowhere else to run. I make you this promise: your life is mine.”
“My mother used to hope that I would rise up from my humble roots. Become someone sucessful, or even famous. I'm famous all right, but I don't think it's what she had in mind.”

“If you want to rebel, rebel from inside the system.That's much more powerful than rebelling outside the system.”
Overall: The Legend -for me, is an avarage start of a promising series. Adrenaline junkies might be bored a little at some parts. Its biggest issue is that not so many thing had been covered with thick fog and the readers find those out too soon or expect the conclusion, and the whole point would be the opposite. Guessing along with the characters... but there was not so much guessing on my part. Apart from that, I do not regret that I bought it, and read it, because in its own category, it is still far superior than most of the other books in the genre - hence the four-star rating. I cannot comment on the pov changes. Sometimes I liked them, but sometimes the did not good to the story. But I could not decide whose pov would be the best, since I loved Day and June too. I will surely read the next book because I see great potential in this series, and what my friend told me about it sounded like the book I expected Legend to be.

DhesiX Web Developer


  1. This sounds like a good one. Sounds like a very good idea and series to come. :) Thank you for sharing!

  2. Hope you'll like it :))