Book Review: Legend by Marie Lu (4/5)

15753977 YA Fiction, Si-Fi/F

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.

I picked this series up because I enjoyed Marie Lu’s The Young Elites series. I expected the same rollercoaster plot and interesting characters that make mistakes. And while Legend didn’t quite deliver the same punch, I enjoyed it.

I’m not the biggest fan of science fiction or the dystopian future where the tyrannical government has taken over; it doesn’t draw my reader’s sense like fantasy does. That may effect review.

My biggest problem with his novel is that it does the thing where the 15 year old protagonist, June, gets thrust into an adult’s job and mission because she’s just so special. This is why I couldn’t handle TV shows or movies or books aimed at middle graders – because the premises are so improbable. I don’t mean that June can’t be super smart, observant, and a military prodigy; I’m talking about the odds that the commander will pull her into the military and give her a super important mission without adult supervision. She’s FIFTEEN. I don’t like that the adults in this story were treating her like an adult; it’s too improbable for me to grasp. Or that it was implied that a 20 year old male was into her – that’s creepy. She’s a minor, dude.

I would have found this book more believable had June been 17 or 18, closer to being an adult and more capable of handling adult tasks, versus 15.

My second problem is the book itself. Day and June have alternating chapters. June’s chapters are in the standard black serif font, easy to read, but Day’s chapters are in a YELLOW sans serif font. Want a real task as a reader? Read yellow font on beige paper. Every time I would finish a chapter and start the next, my eyes had to readjust; I found that formatting very cheesy and gimmicky and I hated it.

On the good side, I did like June’s character. I enjoyed her moral dilemma of having everything she had been taught questioned and changed. I found her at times a bit too serious and bland, but overall likable. I really liked Day’s badass, street-cool character. I did not like how he immediately fell in love with June. It felt sudden and forced, like he fell in love because she was just so special and beautiful.

I, personally, am not a fan of the love-at-first-sight set up. I like more meat to my relationships, more background, more foundation.

But, overall, I give Legend a 4 out of 5 for it’s readability, characters, and plot.


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