The world-building is absolutely AMAZING and the story makes you hold your breath, you just never have time to sit before the pace speeds up again.
Expected rating: ★★★★★ (for the memories)
Actual rating: ★★★★★
Read if you… like dystopia, adventure and you don’t mind romance being a strong pillar of the plot.
Why I read it: Legend was one of the first books I’ve ever read in English and (even if at the time I really couldn’t have understood a single word of a Jane Austen) I remember loving it to a physically painful level. It stuck in my mind for over four years until I had to read it again because I had to.
Read it in: 2 days, baby (305 pages)
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.
Obviously, I read Legend differently now that I am 18 than when I was 13. My five-stars rating was lightly (but like, 0.0001%) influenced by the fact that the book kept tugging at some of my favorite early-teen literature-related memories.
While the world-building is absolutely AMAZING and the story makes you hold your breath and you just never have time to sit before the pace speeds up again, there are some little details that caught my tad-more-mature attention.
Still, some authors throw the whole background history at you in one chapter to get it over with and then roll to the bulk of the story, but not queen Marie Lu. With her, the world slowly builds itself around you, as if you’d always been living in the Republic.
TL;DR: I’m biased.
- The atmosphere and mood, the newness of this world that is actually not new at all (I live in a country where this kind of military-dictatorship was the base of life not even a century ago). Lu built the Republic in a totally realistic way. It’s just woah.
- The JumboTrons are just the perfect symbol for the heavy propaganda of the government.
- The division of the classes. Lu does not describe it, nor does she show it for that matter. She makes you feel it.
- The conspiracy, dude.
- Family love *sobs in sibling*.
- June’s slow realization that not everything is as she thinks. Her relatable struggle between the values and beliefs she’s been taught and those that she has to build for herself.
- The general setting description. Even if in some
almost unnoticeablepoints it gets a little repetitive (with June and Day’s beauty getting constantly highlighted), we get gems such as “His uniform has enough badges and medals to sink him to the ocean’s bottom.”
- There is a Mary Sue-ish vibe. (Don’t get me wrong, I love June but hey, a 12yo attending university? It’s a lil pushy-pushy, most of all since said 12yo grows up to be a 15yo with ever-flowing glossy hair, a perfect body, a computer’s mind, a gorgeous face, and the magnetic-attraction syndrome.)
- We kinda slipped from enemies to lovers?
My 13yo-self kept explaining that June and Day are soulmates, so it’s totally valid. Note: none of us has fallen in love, so I don’t know how much our opinions are worth on the topic.
- There were a few moments when it wasn’t really plausible that certain details hadn’t been picked up before (eg: the red numbers).
Reading Legend again was like coming back home after years of looking for a place where I’d feel fully comfortable. Of course, sometimes I have found such places, but… The home home makes your stomach tingle with some distinct warmth. Marie Lu built an awfully realistic world and a story that catches you and never lets you go.
Legend definitely ends up in my rec pile.
Have you read Legend? Would you like to? Let me know what you think about it!