Author: Marie Lu
Pages: 301 (ARC copy)
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Release Date: November 29, 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.
My Thoughts: Out of all the YA dystopian novels I've read so far this year, Legend is my favorite. The writing, the plot, the setting, and the characters were all great! It had a nice balance of action and development and even a bit romance. I was never underwhelmed by the story. The action had me on the edge of my seat. Some parts were pretty intense, and there were shocking revelations and heartbreaking moments throughout the book. I was left feeling anxious at times because I didn't know what to expect next. I just loved everything about it and wish it didn't have to end.
I adored the main characters Day and June. I found them both to be extremely likable. Day has lived a rough life growing up in the slums of the Republic, and he risks his life every day to make sure his family has enough food and the other necessities needed to survive. It would be easy to become a cruel and uncaring criminal, but Day never loses his kindness and compassion. It's what I really admire about him. June has grown up in a rich district to an elite family. While she is loyal to the military and the government, her older brother Metias is the one she would do anything for. Because of their different upbringings, June doesn't have the same experiences and views of the world as Day. June isn't lacking compassion, but she is naive and ends up placing her trust with people she has always believed in, never excepting the cruelty they are capable of. I can't fault her for the decisions she makes in the beginning because she truly believes the right thing would be done. What I like about her is that once she realizes her mistake she makes sure it doesn't ever happen again.
Although they grew up differently, Day and June are similar in many ways. Like June said in the book, they do almost seem like the same person just born into different worlds. I believe that's why they are attracted to each other when they first meet. They share some of the same traits and qualities. They know what it's like to suffer the lost of loved ones, and neither has ever known anyone who can match their intelligence or survival and fighting skills. (Day may not have June's military training, but if they were to ever fight seriously in either a mental or physical battle, I have no idea who would win! I imagine it would be epic though.) They acknowledge the fact that they haven't known each other that long, but there's a connection between them that has been there since the moment they met. And after what they go through together in the book, that connection continues to grow deeper and stronger. I loved their moments together, and I thought their relationship was done really well.
What I also loved about Legend was that I actually felt something for the secondary characters like Metias, Day's family, and Tess. From the synopsis, Metias's fate is known, but his presence is still there in the book. He was a loving brother to June, and I wish his life didn't have to end that way. Tess is a young girl who Day took under his wings two years ago. She's a great person, and I really hope we get more of her in the next book. Day's caring personality definitely comes from his family. The situation Day's family is put through is horrible and broke my heart, and I hope justice is served out to those people who caused their suffering.
By the time I got to the end of Legend, all I wanted was more. I really loved the last few pages. I cannot wait to revisit this world and find out what happens next with Day and June and the rest of the characters. (I believe the sequel will be released over a year from now, which is too far!) Legend is a thrilling and awesome start to this trilogy; it's the first YA dystopian novel I've read this year that I actually loved. Highly recommend it to YA dystopian fans!
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Thanks to CBS Films for the ARC!