Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Review: Legend by Marie Lu

Legend (Legend, #1)Book: Legend
Series: Legend
Author: Marie Lu
Release Date: November 29th, 2011
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Source: Library
Pages: 305 Rating: 3 Stars

Goodreads Summary: 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.
"Each day means a new twenty-four hours. Each day means everything's possible again. You live in the moment, you die in the moment, you take it all one day at a time." He looks toward the railway car's open door, where streaks of dark water blanket the world. "You try to walk in the light."

While Legend is one of the better books of the YA dystopian market, it doesn't really introduce anything new to the genre. Sure, it has intense action sequences and two kickass main characters. But they're lacking something. I felt removed from the book as I was reading it, probably because everything seemed too simple. The characters, Day and June, were pretty two-dimensional, driven by the same old impulses to protect family. Not that I'm saying dystopian characters should ditch their families and shoot up on drugs in the streets, but as someone who likes reading so many books, things get old pretty fast. However, props to Lu for writing some awesome action. There are oodles of punching, shooting, slapping around with gun handles, and even some biting(!!!). The plot is relatively simplistic, and you can guess a lot of what will happen.

This is going to sound extremely weird, but I respect Lu's integration of death in her book. She manages to make the deaths in the book meaningful, and I'm so glad she doesn't engineer a bloodbath in the end. Despite the detachment I felt from Day and June, I did develop an affection for their family members.

Regarding the "love" in this book, I honestly feel that it happened way too fast. One minute June and Day are distrusting each other, and the next they're kissing each other. It just felt extremely unrealistic, given that Day was supposed to have street smarts. I would have expected him to be a little slow about trusting June, but he was remarkably naive about it. Legend, I think, is more a setup for the next two books. I learned about the world that June and Day live in, met some of the characters, got to see some blood fly. But in the end, I didn't take much from it. There's no great message, and the book never really engaged me completely. Otherwise, it's decent. I'll definitely be reading Prodigy.

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