Author: Marie Lu
Series: Legend #1
Genre: Teen Fantasy
Rating: 5/5 stars!
The Overview: 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’d been passing over this novel for several months before someone personally recommended it to me based on the types of books I like… and now I’m kicking myself for not having read it sooner (thank you, Rachel!). It’s probably the best book I’ve read all year and is a strong contender for the #2 spot in my all-time favorite dystopian list (following Hunger Games, of course).
With fast-paced action, two amazing protagonists, and a compelling storyline, Legend really was one of those can’t-put-down books that will have you up half the night finishing it. Sometimes when an author switches back and forth between two POV characters it can steal momentum away from the story and make it more difficult to connect with either one. That was certainly not the case here: both protagonists were complex, well-rounded characters and each switch invested me deeper into the story.
The way the plot was organized helped with this too, and I’m convinced Lu really knows how to tell a story that will keep you at the edge of your seat. Just when you feel like you can’t get more involved with the book, she hits you with something even more gut-wrenching and evoking. I even found myself holding my breath on occasion – you know a book is amazing when it can garner a physical reaction, not just an emotional one.
Another reason I think the book was so effective was the way the characters and the conflicts developed throughout the story. The two main characters are highly intelligent, which means they figure things out faster than the average person. Lu completely committed to this and never once dumbed them down for the sake of drawing out a conflict. This means her story had to keep evolving as the characters made discoveries and formed conclusions. It just speaks of brilliant storytelling, and I think it’s probably my favorite element of the book.
Recommendations: For all of you fellow dystopian fanatics – if you haven’t read this book yet, consider putting it next on your list! I might’ve even liked it a bit more than Divergent, and that’s saying something. I will definitely be rereading it within the next couple of years – and if you could see the size of my TBR pile, you’d know what a commitment that is (I really, really liked it)!
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