Hi everyone—woohoo! Spring break! I’m going to make this review nice and concise because I have another one rolling out in a day or so!
So here are my thoughts on Legend by Marie Lu.
Synopsis: 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.
→ The pacing. It only took me a little over a week to finish Legend, and I honestly could’ve finished it sooner if I stayed dedicated.
→ Likewise, the chapter lengths. I really appreciated the alternating POVs between June and Day, because I liked knowing what each was thinking. Especially before June finds out that this mysterious boy is actually her arch-enemy.
→ Thomas. Okay, okay, hear me out. For those of you who read the book, you’re probably like how dare you like Thomas. But to be quite honest, Thomas is the most dynamic and interesting character in the entire book. I’ll explain momentarily.
→ The (nonexistent) world building. Literally all I know about the setting of this book is that the U.S.is referred to as the Republic of America, the L.A. area is divided into sectors, and that there’s a bunch of plague and natural disasters everywhere. Problem is, the book never really explains why any of this happens. (Despite the plague!! The plague is important!!)
To give the benefit of the doubt, the history of how the U.S. got to be the way that it is may be developed over the course of Prodigy and Champion. But personally, I wasn’t a fan of this world of ambiguous major events because I feel like I missed something when I was done reading. It also felt as though pieces of the book were just taken and twisted from other typical dystopian novels.
• Destruction of most of the world as we knew it? Hey there, Maze Runner.
• This mysterious plague that seemingly appears out of nowhere? Hm, sounds like Oryx and Crake to me.
• (Spoiler!) Exploiting the families of the poor sectors by intentionally distributing said plague? Twisted Hunger Games plot, present.
Keep in mind, I’m not even an avid dystopian reader, and I pointed those out too easily. What I’m getting at here is that I felt like I had seen this all before.
→ The characters (Except Thomas,) & the “unstoppableness”. So, backtracking to my comment about Thomas being the only interesting character, here’s why I think that: everything was WAY too convenient for the other characters. I read these (1 | 2) Goodreads comments as I was scrolling through others’ constructive reviews for the book, and they really took the words right out of my mouth. I don’t care how smart you are, I HIGHLY doubt that an unconscious, the sleep-induced gesture would lead you to believe (wholeheartedly so, may I add!) that the person in front of you is the person you’ve been searching for this entire time. It just irritated me to the core how perfectly everything fit together for June, and how she never really second guessed herself, even when a lot was at stake. As for Day…I mean, c’mon now. He’s 15, and the Republic’s most wanted criminal with absolutely no traces in the data base? I think not.
Normally I wouldn’t be one to be picky about logistics, because after all, it’s all fiction in the end. But in a book like Legend where the very fine details held the key to discovering the evils of the Republic, plausibility kinda matters! I just couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that June and Day were supposed to be 15. Maybe I could have if they were 17/18, but not 15.
Also, June at times felt like an emotionless robot. Her grief over Metias didn’t even feel real because it was so short-lived. It was like 5 minutes of crying and then pure coldheartedness/taste-for-revenge mode, which ties back into the fact that she’s supposed to be a 15-year-old girl who just lost the only family member she had left in the world. I. Don’t. Think. So.
Okay, but Thomas on the other hand? Thomas was legit. Or at least I thought he was….another spoiler alert.
Thomas is like the Maven of Red Queen, because he had me so fooled. And this is where the previously mentioned minute details really come into play, because it is a simple grease stain that puts the pieces of the puzzle together for June. The bottom line is, Thomas is important and interesting because he almost gets away with it perfectly. He gained the trust of the readers. The facade of innocence worked well until it didn’t. He kept his friends close and his enemies closer.
→ And lastly, the insta-love. Oh yes, it’s here. *Sighhhhhhh* This is why I said earlier that I liked the alternating POVs for the most part. I was in class when I stumbled upon the insta-love scene, and I literally took out a Post It notes just to get out my frustrated thoughts about it. I mean, read this quote:
BLEUGH. WRONG. YOU JUST MET HER! I just….can’t. Thankfully the romance ends quickly once June by-the-grace-of-unrealistically-detailed-observations comes to find out that this boy is her catch. Ugh.
This might be the sole scene of Legend where I can believe that Day and June are 15-year-olds.
So there ya have it!
Maybe not as concise as I planned, but I covered what I was itching to share with the world, which is a win for me. I’m hoping that things make a turn for the better in the next books, but only time will tell. *crosses fingers*
Did you read Legend? If so, let me know what you thought of it below!