Book Review: Legend

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Legend is the first book in the Legend Trilogy by Marie Lu. I read this series a couple years ago, and all I remember was that I hated the ending of the third book. Hated it. So that scared me off from rereading the trilogy, but after reading so much about it on the blogosphere, I decided it was time to read it again, even if the ending wrecks me.

 

“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.”

June is a prodigious military student of the Republic. Day is a notorious criminal. When Day kills June’s brother, Metias, their worlds are bound to intersect. June is now on a mission to hunt Day down and turn him in. Day, on the other hand, is trying to save his family from the mysterious plague that has been sweeping his sector. Meeting on the streets, but unsure of each other’s identity, the two grow closer. But when Day is turned in to the Republic, June starts to unravel the truth of her nation and has to make a choice. Will she turn her back on everything she grew up believing and save Day, or will she stay loyal to the Republic and execute her brother’s murderer?

“The boy who walks in the light. The girl who shatters the shining glass.”

One thing I love about dystopian novels is how badass the female characters are. Whenever I read about two badass characters, I always find myself wanting to become super cool and fierce. Like I want to make observations and read body language and fight and go undercover too! Legend is no exception. June is agile, fast, observant, strong, intelligent, and fierce. She doesn’t need anyone’s help, and can handle herself on the street. She is also the only person to ever score a perfect score on the Republic’s Trial. But unlike all the other soldiers, June has a heart, nurtured by her older brother Metias. She tries not to judge the poor, doesn’t want to kill civilians, and has an strong moral compass. Even when she was the “enemy”, she was doing good and trying to save as many innocent people as possible. (*Sidenote* everyone in the military was so mean omg like why was June the only decent human being in there? It made me sad to see how the military and the police treated people.)

“Dust everywhere… and out of that emerged this beautiful boy with the bluest eyes I’d ever seen, holding his hand out to help me to my feet.”

Day may seem like a ruthless criminal, but underneath he’s a huge softie doing everything for his family and those he loves. He matches June perfectly in intellect and agility, so the two of them make an unbeatable team. I loved how much Day cares for his family and those he comes to call his family. He would risk his life for them without hesitation and puts them before himself. Of course Day and June ended up falling for each other, and while it was a bit of instalove, it definitely wasn’t the main focus of the novel and I know their relationship will be developed further in the next books.

I always prepare for deaths in dystopian novels, but I wasn’t prepared for the amount of deaths in the first book, because usually they come in the later books as war breaks out. By the end of the book, June and Day suffer so much heartbreak, and are left alone without anyone in their corner. They are both so strong though, to keep moving after losing everyone they know and love. The family relationships in this story are so strong that they basically drive the plot forward, which I love. In particular, the sibling relationships were really well developed, sweet, and broke my heart each time I read it. I hated the deaths in this book already (some seemed so pointless!!) so I’m scared for what’s to come in the later books.

“If you want to rebel, rebel from inside the system.That’s much more powerful than rebelling outside the system.”

The plot in Legend was super fast paced, but in a good way. There was never a dull moment or a scene wasted. After reading many character driven books, it was nice to break things up with a plot driven book. I also liked how Marie Lu built an intricate world, but much of the information was revealed to us throughout the story, instead of info dumping in the beginning. And the reader was intentionally kept in the dark like the characters were, so we only figured things out when the characters did. There were definitely some plot twists in there that I wasn’t expecting. And I also appreciated the ending! Many times, I feel like the first book of a trilogy ALWAYS ends in a cliffhanger to create anticipation for the next book, but Legend left off at a nice point, where the climax just ended. While it is obvious more is going to happen and anticipation is built that way, it was a natural break, and there weren’t many unanswered questions about the action that occurred.

My one (small) complaint was with the physical book itself. When I first read this book, I read it on Kindle, so I didn’t know that Marie Lu uses different fonts and colors to differentiate June and Day’s POVs. Day’s font and color bugged me so much. It was like computer military typed font in a greenish gold color, and it kept distracting me. But it’s really a minor minor complaint, just something I kept noticing.

All in all, the first book of the Legend series is as good as I remembered. I read in it about two days, so it’s also highly addicting. It has intricate world building, captivating and fierce characters, an action filled plot, and of course, rebellion against a corrupted (yet seemingly utopian) government. I also feel like it has some sort of message about the United States of America  (The Republic, the Colonies, and the Patriots), but I haven’t quite figured out what the message is yet. I’m already preparing the next book in the trilogy, that’s how caught up in the storyline I am.

Have you read Legend? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

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