Marie Lu | November 2011
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.
Young Adult dramas seem to have taken over the sy-fi thriller genre. With slick, glossy packaging and promises of intense action packed drama and in depth world building…I fall into the trap every time, each time thinking it won’t be immediately evident I’m reading about teenagers. 🤦🏾♀️ Perhaps more accurately, I want to be able to forget I’m reading about teenagers. For the most part Legend allows that.
The story is first in a series about a future dystopian Los Angeles ruled by the gnarly ‘Republic’. Your lot in life is dictated by a comprehensive test given at age 10. Score high and you move on to the next level. Fail or score low, your education stops and you end up living in the slums, impoverished for life, only good as servants to the high scorers. June is the young prodigy sister of a top military sergeant. When he is killed after a reckless confrontation with street urchin, and apparent low scorer ‘Day’, she is mobilized to search for his killer. Along the way, she discovers, of course, that everything is not what it seems, including her own uniqueness.
June has drank the Republics juice as they say and believes everything they stand for. Searching for Day, who she believes killed her brother, introduces her to a new world and alternate view.
I’ve read the author was inspired by Les Miserables and wanted to create the same tension and confusion in this story. I’m not sure I see that play out just yet but, there is a definite set up for series full of sexual tension, rivalry, and backstabbing. I’ve only finished book one and I don’t trust anyone. I’m not sure if I get Les Miserable, but I definitely feel Hunger Games and Divergent vibes. Eh, this was the first in a series of 4, so maybe more becomes apparent later in the series.
Pros: Enjoyable and detailed descriptions, world building and character development. Violence but, no sex. Complex, action packed plot, with a timely subplot of a plague most deadly in impoverished neighborhoods. You will almost forget you’re following 16 year olds.
Cons: Almost. Some of the story is so complex and violent its hard to believe its about 16 year olds. What military employs a 15 year old kid to find the country’s most wanted..who also happens to be a 15 year old? 🤦🏾♀️
Overall, I enjoyed the book. Though it was a bit predictable, I still enjoyed the journey. I won’t be finishing the series but, if you enjoyed Hunger Games and Divergent, pick this up. Goodbook 12 of 42.