Legend (Legend #1) by Marie Lu

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Book: Legend (Legend #1) 
Author:Marie Lu
Published: November 29, 2011 by Putnam Juvenile
Hardcover, 305 pages
Read October 2012; Listened on Audiobook March 2013 (to prepare for Prodigy… weeeee!)
B.O.S.SF Review: 3.5 stars

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From Goodreads: 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

June: I have no sympathy for a criminal. Just a score to settle.  
Day: If I were in her place, would I have done anything differently?

I read Legend in Fall 2012, and I recently listened to the audiobook to prepare to read Prodigy, (Legend #2).  I enjoyed Legend better hearing it a second time around, but I think the dual narrative prevented me from getting entirely wrapped up in the characters. 

Legend is told from two different character’s POV.  Day is the Republic’s Most Wanted with his photo being projected onto the jumbotron for all of Angeles to see.  He’s been poor his whole life, and he still tries to take care of his family, even if he’s constantly on the run.  June is the Republic’s Prodigy, being the only individual who scored perfect on the Trials.  I love this idea – two notorious teenagers who both have people three and four times their age baffled by their brilliance.  I recently learned that Marie Lu got the idea of Legend after watching Les Miserable.  
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ML was inspired by Jean Valjean (a criminal who cannot escape his past) and Javier (an inspector who follows the law and wants to bring order by going above the call of duty), and she wanted to make a modern story out of their relationship.  (Legend Series page.) The two of them say that it feels like they are the same person born into different worlds.  This also makes me think of the movie, The Departed (great film).  

The dual narrative made it more of a challenge to fully relate to June and Day.  It also took the mystery out of what the other one was thinking about (which was most annoying when they were reflecting on their romantic feelings toward each other).  Splitting up the narrative was an interesting way for Marie Lu to set Legend apart from the many other dystopian trilogies, but it took some getting used to. 
Legend is exciting with suspense, plot twists, and likable main characters! Day’s narrative is action packed, with Day desperately trying to save his family from the plague.  Legend captured my attention quickly, and everything changes after that fateful evening at the hospital.   Team Day and June have what it takes to take down the Republic, both being the smartest people in the republic with physical advantages as well.  It was interesting to see how they mull over new ideas in their brains, but a little cheesy at times, too.  While the “bad guys” seem obvious, there were several sudden deaths that happened throughout the story which kept the plot dark and the readers on their toes.  (My jaw dropped a few times in disbelief!)  My biggest (and possibly, only) issue with Legend is the romantic storyline.  It seemed forced, and their first kiss was not necessary. 
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The relationship between the two of them is complex enough, and we obviously would have known that the two of them would have a budding relationship in the remaining books.  June is supposed to be a super genius, so I’m just not buying this romantic connection happening so quickly.  None of the side characters interested me too much.  I do care about Tessa, because both Day and June have lost so much already!
“Each Day means everything is possible again – you live in the moment, you die in the moment, you take it all one day at a time.” Day tells June that is why he picked the name “Day.”  Looking forward to seeing the two of them continue to live in the moment in Prodigy!  
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2 thoughts on “Legend (Legend #1) by Marie Lu

  1. Pingback: Legend (Legend #1) | Peter J Verdil

  2. Pingback: W…W…W… and Waiting On Wednesday: Week 5 | Book Obsessed Shan in San Fran

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