The story opens with Leaf and Willow. They’ve just lost their father to what appears to be a massive heart attack. As the eldest, Leaf is now responsible for his younger sisters and at a loss as to what to do next. His father was the Earth Element, a noble in their medieval village. Leaf must determine his next steps in order to gain his father’s title and the respect of the other town elders. As new information comes to light, his father’s death becomes more of a mystery. Did someone murder him, and if they did, why?
Grieving and heartsick, Willow is oblivious to her older brother’s grief. Never being close before, she lashes out at her brother’s apathetic attitude. She wants to hurt him, but instantly feels shame when he shows his own pain to her. Together they are responsible for raising their baby sister Laurel, a responsibility neither is ready for. Willow is also nearing the age when the women in her village marry, which is expected of her. When her best friend shows that he would like to marry her, Willow recoils. This isn’t the relationship she wants with him, and she’s not sure she ever wishes to marry. At 15 (almost 16), I can understand and identify with her small acts of rebellion.
Then enters Fillion. Fillion lives on the outside of their small town. What appeared at first to be a medieval English village is actually an enclosed Biodome. Willow and Leaf aren’t from the past, but actually are the second generation born inside the dome. The two have only heard stories about technology and life outside their village from their parents and town elders. Fillion’s father happens to own the company and is managing this science experiment, proof that a colony on Mars can exist with certain conditions in place. The condition this experiment explores is how an enclosed community can function if communications are cutoff from the outside. To do this, they decide to incorporate LARP (live-action role playing). The parents of Willow and Leaf (and all the elders) are playing a game, but the game isn’t a game to the second generation. This is their life, the only one they’ve ever known.
Fillion rebels against what his father has done. They are essentially lying to the second generation, at least in his opinion. The experiment should have been terminated years ago when the Watson children (Leaf, Willow, and Laurel) were reported dead by the community. When Leaf and Willow find a link to the outside, they encounter Fillion. Shocked by the ghosts from the past, Fillion has to reexamine what he knows and find the mystery surrounding the Watsons.
Overall, I really enjoyed Legacy. I love the contrast between Leaf’s world and Fillion’s. I can’t wait to see where the author takes their story next. If you enjoy technology, sci-fi, and dystopias, I highly recommend this one.