Hello humans! So upon finishing The Young Elites series, I still hadn’t got quite enough of Marie Lu. That sounds somewhat more ominous than I meant it to…I mean her books (of course). So I decided to jump right in with the Legend series which, while it is very different from The Young Elites is similar in that it is also a YA trilogy that is incredibly easy to digest.
What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbours. 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.
This book is dual POV, split between the impoverished criminal (but he has a good heart) Day and the young military prodigy June (she has a good heart too). These characters are distinguished not only through unique voices and different fonts, which is handy for those of us who sometimes forget what chapter they are on. I never claimed to be perfect.
This falls into the ‘dystopian YA trilogy’ camp and it falls there quite hard at times. I was worried at one point that there was to be a love triangle, it’s mostly avoided but I did have to narrow my eyes at these characters at times. If you, like me, are a hardcore YA fan then it will still be a great book to read, but if YA tropes are something you don’t enjoy then I think this might not be for you. This dystopian world is one in which the US has split into ‘The Republic’ and ‘The Colonies’ and they are at war. There is biological warfare, police-state things and all the hallmarks of this kind of ‘future dictatorship’ setting.
I liked how these two character’s lives were set out. You got the sense of their lives before the events of the book having a huge impact on their character development. I liked that they were given friends, family, even pets (yes there is a dog, it made me all kinds of happy).
The dual POV gives some wonderful opportunities for dramatic irony, which is used to the utmost effect in this book. There are times where you feel like screaming at the characters for not working things out (in the best way). It’s a great story about…information? That sounds odd but it’s the best word I can think to convey how one of the key things about this story is people gradually discovering things, peeling back the layers of their own world to reveal the truth beneath. That’s possibly getting too ‘English student’ about it all, but in a time where we’re not always sure we can trust what’s being told to us, this is an interesting theme to explore.
Unsurprisingly, this is a heavily romance-infused novel. I think, barring the usual ‘ok but really you met about two days ago’ thing, this is a well written romance, there’s a bit of insta-love there, but it’s given the space to build and to grow as the book goes on. Also, I’m a sucker for a romance, what can I say?
Should you read this (if you haven’t already, it did come out in 2011)? I would say yes, if YA dystopian Is the kind of thing you are into. If you’ve not read a lot of dystopian and you’re looking for a good example of the genre I would also say that this book is worth a go! Although, be warned, it will make you immediately want to read the second book, so be sure to have that on hand.
My rating: 4/5 stars
All opinions are my own.
What say you? Have you read these books? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!