Legend

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Could not put the thing down!
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Thanks to the lovely Blair Kensley, and one of her fabulous Giveaways, I had the honor of reading Legend from debut author, Marie Lu. I had read the hub-bub over the Twittersphere about this book so it was on my TBR list and could not wait to get my greedy hands on it. It was worth the wait.The kiddo was home sick today so I spent my afternoon flipping page after page of this book. I was hooked.

Miss Marie introduces us to a post apocalyptic Los Angeles where nothing is as it is today. The cities have been redefined, plagues ravish the poor, the classes of people have a clear division, and there is an all around instability to life. Children are tested through Trials and, depending on how well they pass, their future is defined. If they fail...well...you have to read to find out. *grin*

I instantly fell for June and Day. The characters were both confident without being snarky or unlikable. June is the top of her class and the brightest star in the galaxy when it comes to her training by the Republic, and Day is an over-achieving street rat who has a heart of gold. Both characters were written well. There was a subtlety to them that made them seem more real, if that makes sense. Sometimes you read about over-achieving characters and they are so filled with awesomeness that they are truly fiction. June and Day did not come off that way to me at all.

The alternating 1st person POV's were awesome! I like this style. You really get into each characters head and see them for who they are and not how they appear to the narrator. Each chapter called out whose head you were in, but I don't think it would have been difficult to tell them apart otherwise. Miss Marie gave a clear picture on each individual.

The world Miss Marie built was very interesting. She did not go into a whole lot of all around detail, but focused mostly on the immediate area. You get a sense that the world has been turned on its head with the crumbing of the good ole US of A, but she does not stray from the "Los Angeles" area. Perhaps in the next installment we will see more of the chaos.

At the same time, I really didn't need to know what was going on at the East Coast or in the UK since my characters were not there. The slums that Miss Marie created were well crafted. From the waterfronts to the crumbling remains of buildings, she gave just enough to paint a picture and let the reader create the finer details.

The romance that built up between June and Day was very sweet as well. It was not full of steaming glances or heart pumping hormones, but then again, both characters are only fifteen so I felt it was appropriate. They are essentially the same person, just in boy and girl form, so it was nice they saw this in each other. The lovey-dovey was not overdone by any means and did not distract from the story, but added to it.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book. Legend was a great fast paced read. Hell, I read 2/3 of it while the kiddo took a nap! It kept me reading, as it's supposed to do, and I will anxiously wait for the next installment!
Good Points
Alternating POV, kick-butt realistic girl, not overly "swoony" guy, but still hot in his way, fast read
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Full of everything awesome!!
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
This book is full of everything, mystery, action, rebellion, suspense, and little twists in the plot every now and then. The mystery surrounding Metias' death was pretty clever, and I thought it was pretty harsh that....that would ruin the story if I told you. The dual views of Day and June was pretty clever, and so you got two sides of the same story, and in the middle part of the book, I tried to put the facts together to see what would happen at the end. It was way different to what I expected!!!

I think June was pretty hellbent about her brother's killer, a girl like her should of stopped and thought about what she was doing, and try to solve the puzzle. Instead she was so focused on hunting down Day that she did not see the real truth, and that would of changed everything. I think the author did this so June will be a one minded person, and that was pretty clever.

I think the romance between Day and June was obviously going to happen, so there should of been a bit more twists surrounding that. It was also to sudden, it was sorta like an insta-love kinda relationship, and it should of been more of a love-hate thing and then finally realising at the end of the book that they were perfect for each other, but the author did not, so I think it lost some marks there.

This book was full of dark secrets that helped twist the plot, and strong characters that are written amazingly. This book is worth your time if you love science-fiction and possible futures full of corrupted governments who think they are the only way to move forward. This book was pure awesomeness!
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Action, Suspense & Strong Characters!
(Updated: May 24, 2012)
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Action? Check. Strong characters? Check. Suspense? Check. Solid world-building and completely innovative plot twists? ... Not-so-check.

I'm quickly learning that I LOVE dual PoV and Legend is no exception. I loved reading from both June and Day's PoVs, as I felt like it really helped me connect with both of their characters. June is a strong, independent heroine - fearless and capable in almost any situation. Trained for military excellence for most of her life, she has a sharp mind, quick reflexes and a keen eye. Patriotic and proud to serve her country, it never crossed her mind to question the Republic or it's motives - especially when she was told Day had murdered her brother.

"In my mind, I make a silent promise to my brother's killer.

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."

It was fascinating to watch her reactions to uncovering some of their darker secrets, and refreshing to see her take action and devise a plan of attack, instead of relying on someone else to do the work for her.

Day had similar strengths to June, but his skills were the result of a life which forced him to be agile and cunning in order to survive. His ability to show compassion for others, even after being experimented on and then left for dead at the age of ten, is remarkable. Most people would become cynical or jaded after living a life on the streets, scrounging for food and shelter, but Day not only survived - he thrived by making the best out of a horrible situation.

While I can't truly relate to either character, as I am neither a child prodigy (surprising, I know) or stronger for having to deal with being homeless, the deep emotions that both characters experience are things I can understand. I can understand the overwhelming grief that must come when faced with losing someone close to you, and how that grief would lead you to make rash decisions. I can understand how it feels to question something you have believed in for your whole life, and not like the answers you uncover. And I can understand how it feels to question yourself, and what you're capable of or what you believe in, and be scared of what you find. These are emotional hurdles that both June and Day struggled to overcome, and I felt like they both handled their different situations with such realism that I couldn't doubt their sincerity.

The plot moved quite quickly, and I found myself surprised with how quickly I finished the book. There wasn't a moment where I felt I could put the book down, because there didn't seem to be a moment without some heightened level of suspense or intense action occurring. I did find that I had many questions about the Republic and their war with the Colonies and the Patriots, which unfortunately weren't answered. The lack of world-building would have to be one of my only real issues with Legend, as the history regarding the formation of the Republic was never fully explained, nor was it explained what was happening with the rest of the world (or even with the rest of what used to be the United States). I also found it a little unbelievable that a fifteen-year-old could sneak into a heavily armed hospital, using only some dirt and dark clothes as a disguise, or that a different fifteen-year-old would be tasked with hunting down the country's most notorious criminal. I guess in the future teenagers are much more capable then they are today?

The only other (minor) issue I had with Legend was the trickle of insta-love that tried to impose itself on June and Day's romance. Having only known each other for a couple days, both are already harbouring fantasies of what it might be like to kiss the other and Day's strong emotions for June were never really developed. Lu's saving grace was that she didn't have either character express their deep feelings for the other - most of their interactions were purely physical. I was able to forgive the hinting of insta-love because neither character allowed the romance to overwhelm the plot. It also didn't hurt that Day had several tragically beautiful things to say about June.

"Her sadness makes her impossibly beautiful, like snow blanketing a barren landscape."

"June has never looked more beautiful than she does now, unadorned and honest, vulnerable and yet invincible."

He was just full of great one-liners!

Compelling characters and an intriguing (if predictable) plot full of secrets and government conspiracies had me unable to put Legend down until I had finished it!
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An action packed dystopia that reads like a movie
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
I’m a sucker for anything that has the sales pitch “if you liked The Hunger Games, you’ll like this.” While it may seem like all new dystopian novels are being described in this way, Legend is one of the few that I believe truly lives up to this comparison. It’s a quick, fun read that immerses the reader in action-filled scenes straight away.

The events of Legend take place in a futuristic Los Angeles with a strong military presence working to combat the spread of Plagues that are affecting the poorer sectors. The worldbuilding is more visual than explanatory; it’s easy to picture this dystopian world, though there isn’t much description in terms of what happened to bring the United States to this state. The Patriots, the Republic and the Colonies are frequently mentioned, although their backstories aren’t ever completely fleshed out. Hopefully the sequel will dig deeper and provide more details about this world that Marie Lu has created.

The story is told through the alternating perspectives of June and Day, who are both prodigies in their own right, though one is being trained for the military while the other is a wanted criminal. They are from completely different backgrounds, and as the reader we get to experience both of these environments firsthand through the dual narrations. Both protagonists were strong, intelligent, resourceful, and likeable, though their voices were often interchangeable – if it weren’t for the gold text (which took a bit to get used to) indicating that Day was narrating, I likely would have kept mixing him up with June. The secondary characters were likeable too, but they weren’t as well-developed as June and Day; they seemed more like plot devices than actual people, though that may be due to their lack of page time.

Overall, Legend is a very enjoyable read with a movie-like feel to it. Between street fighting, government plots, riots, and escape scenes, there was never a shortage of excitement to keep the plot moving at its quick pace. It’s easy enough to get wrapped up in the story, and makes the few issues I had with it easy to overlook. I can’t wait to get my hands on Prodigy!
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Legend will fill the gap left by Hunger Games
(Updated: December 05, 2011)
Overall rating 
 
3.7
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
After reading most of the new titles in this genre I find that Marie Lu has a fresh voice with a well thought out plot and characters. I am looking forward to the next book in what should be a trilogy.
Good Points
Readers who are looking for a futuristic thriller like The Hunger Games will love this. Similar in a the world that they live in and by the Republic who rules every aspect of their lives. The middle class (mainly the families who are riddled with the plague) are fighting just to survive which usually includes a few characters who are unhappy with the current establishment. Day would be considered a terrorist by today's standards and the book reminded me of the battle going on in Northern Ireland. Do we believe what the government tells us or do we trust our heart.
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Pretty good, exciting dystopian
Overall rating 
 
3.5
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
N/A
So, Legend brings us yet another dystopian world to explore. This one is the 'Republic Of America', a country fighting a perpetual war against the neighbouring 'Colonies'. The country, as a result, is very militaristic - all the best jobs are involved with the military and all the best students are sent to the best universities where they train to become soldiers because 'better soldiers make for better chance of victory against the Colonies.'

Every child takes a Trial at the age of 10, and this test will determine the rest of their lives. A mix of physical and academic tests, the Trial measures a child's ability and each person is then given a score out of 1500. The education and opportunities you will receive in life depend on your score - it's the difference between university and a successful, happy life or being barred from school and destined to a life in the slums. And those who fail are taken away from their families and sent to labour camps for the rest of their lives.

A perfect Trial score is practically unheard of; only one person has ever achieved it and that's our story's heroine - June. This makes her somewhat of a prodigy and she is the only fifteen-year-old senior in a university meant for sixteen and up. She is very lucky - as well as being smart, she is from a wealthy district.

On the other end of the spectrum is our other protagonist, Day, the Republic's most wanted criminal. He's from the slums and he failed his Trial.

Legend alternates between Day's and June's perspectives and we find that, despite their differences on the surface, they are actually quite similar - both very brave and fiercely loyal to their families.

In my opinion, it took a little too long for June and Day to actually meet, I was waiting for the bit where they finally met each other and this didn't happen until nearly half-way through the book. Also, I didn't feel like I was sucked into Marie Lu's dystopian world - it never really felt completely real to me.

However, Legend was fast-paced and full of action and a very exciting read. I wouldn't say I loved it but I definitely liked it a lot. It was full of twists and turns and mysteries - where do the children who fail their Trial really go? What's really behind the plagues that keep breaking out all over the Republic? And the biggest question of all for June - is the country and government that she trusted and believed in so much, and fought so hard for, really what it seems?
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So-so dystopian, entertaining story
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
For me, Legend was a fast-paced, entertaining novel, but not a particularly good novel. I thought this was something like an action movie—great in the moment, but doesn’t make a strong impression or really do well under close scrutiny. There are a lot of dystopian novels in the world, and unfortunately, I think this is more or less the same as the rest, just with a different first impression.

Like many dystopian societies, the world Marie Lu creates in Legend doesn’t really have enough of a foundation. She throws out these terms, but doesn’t make the setting believable. In the former United States of America, there’s the Republic and the Colonies, which are at war. There’s some kind of plague, and at one point, it’s mentioned that there were a lot of volcano eruptions. And…that’s it. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, dystopia without world-building is like a car without wheels. It just doesn’t work.

And then we have the two narrating protagonists, Day and June. I think they’re nice kids. The story from their perspectives was easy to read and follow along with, and as characters, they’re just fine. Except for the fact that they’re complete Mary Sues, the both of them. Both of them are The Most Special Of All The Special. Super agile, super strong, super intelligent, super crafty, super super super. Both Day and June were good at anything and everything, and at 15 years old basically make every single adult in the world look like a lobotomized gorilla. How convenient!

Spare. Me.

And then, naturally, there’s this borderline instalove situation we have going on. The L-word isn’t used, but comments like “I’ve just met you, but I feel like I know you so well!” were liberally sprinkled throughout the text. Gross. Oh, and remember: these people are freaking 15. I’m sorry, but no.

I have every reason in the world to dislike Legend (as you can see). It’s not very good, to be honest. It’s full of overused tropes and obvious details. It’s also extremely vague in terms of how the heck did this society even come into existence—the most important question of all, if you ask me. I don’t know why this book works as well as it does.

As much as I’m not impressed with Lu’s overall efforts here, I think she’s extremely good at writing a compelling piece of fiction. Legend is an extremely easy read, and it’s hard to put down. I recognized flaws while I was reading, but still found myself enjoying the bigger picture. The action movie quality this book possesses makes it hard to grow bored or become completely dissatisfied with.

Legend is a so-so book that I still managed to enjoy, perhaps in spite of myself. Since it’s Marie Lu’s debut, I’m hoping future books in the series will show improvement. In any case, I found this book to be entertaining, but hardly worthwhile on an intellectual level.
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Lukewarm dystopian that couldn't make me care
Overall rating 
 
2.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
1.0
Writing Style 
 
2.0
I had such high hopes for this book. Like most of the world who finished The Hunger Games and was immediately ravenous for more, I asked my trusty search engine what was the next best thing for someone like me, eager to plunge back into the what-if world of future dystopian America. And the answer was a resounding "Legend." So I immediately ran out and plopped down my hard-earned cash so I could devour this masterpiece.

Imagine my disappointment when I just...didn't...care.

Legend follows two protagonists - Day and June - in a future dystopian Los Angeles. They live in the Republic, which is at constant war with The Colonies (not exactly sure where these are, but they appear to be the rest of the U.S. outside of L.A./California...seems like it wouldn't be much of a battle, but apparently it is). The Republic is being ravaged by "the plague," a mysterious illness that seems to only affect the poor parts of town - including Day's family.

Day and June are both 15. Both are geniuses. Both are good looking to the point of absurdity. Both can very nearly leap tall buildings in a single bound, in spite of the fact that Day has a knee injury that prevents him from walking normally, but NOT from scaling a 10-story building from the outside in a matter of seconds.

Both are exactly. The. Same.

Except for the small fact that Day grew up in the poor parts of town and is the country's most-wanted criminal (for crimes that are never fully disclosed, but sound like the equivalent of juvenile pranking of expensive government equipment). June grew up rich and is top of her class at the University, even though she's several years younger than her classmates. June is promoted to active duty and assigned to hunt down Day. Predictably, they ultimately join forces (which I would precede with a "Spoiler Warning," except that this plot "twist" is completely spoiled on the back cover of the book when it labels itself a "romantic thriller").

Legend's chapters rotate between Day and June's points of view. With the exception of the different fonts/colors and the fact that they repeatedly remind us that Day is Poor and June is Rich, their voices are indistinguishable from each other.

The murder "mystery" is not all that hard to figure out, and there are some plot holes large enough to drive a truck through. And maybe it's because I'm an adult and not a 15-year-old, but I wasn't even kind of invested in the "love story." Even setting aside the fact that they're both 15 and barely know each other, the foundation of their relationship seems to be that they're both pretty.

I could get into all the little things that irked me about the book (not the least of which was the 20-something Thomas' creepy and stalker-ish pursuit of June), but then this review would be a book in and of itself.

The main point is that while I probably could have finished Legend in a day or two if I was invested in it, it took me nearly a month to finish this book. I kept putting it down for days at a time, then forcing myself to pick it back up, mostly because I hate leaving things unfinished. If not for that little quirk in my personality, I could have put Legend down after just a few chapters, and never thought about it ever again.
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