Legend (Legend #1) by Marie LuPaperback, 368 pages
Published February 2nd 2012 by Razorbill (Puffin)
Description via Goodreads:
The United States is gone, along with its flooded coasts. North America's two warring nations, the western Republic and the eastern Colonies, have reached a breaking point. In the midst of this broken continent and dark new world are two teenagers who will go down in history....
Born into the slums of Los Angeles, fifteen-year old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. A mysterious boy with no recorded image or fingerprints. A boy who should no longer exist. A boy who watches over his family until one evening, when the plague patrols mark his family's door with an X--the sign of plague infection. A death sentence for any family too poor to afford the antidote. Desperate, Day has no choice; he must steal it.
Born to an elite family in Los Angeles' wealthy Ruby sector, fifteen-year old June is the Republic's most promising prodigy. A superintelligent girl destined for great things in the country's highest military circles. Obedient, passionate, and committed to her country--until the day her brother Metias is murdered while on patrol during a break-in at the plague hospital.
Only one person could be responsible. Day. And now it's June's mission to hunt him down. The truth they'll uncover will become legend.
My thanks go to Puffin for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.
I was very excited to read Legend as I'm a huge fan of the ideas behind dystopian stories and this one has had rave reviews. I did enjoy it, but unfortunately not as much as I'd expected to. Saying that, the book was entertaining enough, had several good points to it and I would still like to read the sequel. I believe that the film rights to this book have been bought, and I do think that it has a very cinematic feel, maybe making this better off as a film.
Legend is set in the urban setting of futuristic Los Angeles and follows two protagonists, Day and June. There is a war in America and Day and June are on opposite sides. June is a prodigy, a soldier who works with the Republic. Day leans more towards the Patriot side, he is a Robin Hood character who steals from the rich to give to the poor. He is also the most wanted person in the Republic. There is a plague that is ravaging the country and has infected Day's family. There is a lot more to the plague than a simple virus outbreak though, and several people come to realise this throughout this book. Whilst attempting to steal a plague cure, Day is accused of killing June's brother. June then makes it her mission to capture Day.
The plot itself is interesting and there is a lot more to still be explored in the sequels to this book. I don't think that the plot was anything particularly new, at least not so far, but it'd be unfair to judge that just from the first instalment. There were quite a few similarities to other Dystopian books out there. The world building could've been stronger - The setting wasn't terribly clear and I would've liked to know more about the two sides at war and exactly why, but again, there is room for exploration of this. Lu does start to hint at some reasoning by the end of this book, which makes me anticipate the second book to really see what's going on.
For me, the strongest aspect of this book were both Day and June. They both seemed to be strong characters and well formed. Day was loyal, brave and compassionate and June was a brave, self-determined character. I thought that they were both very likeable. Despite both having different views and upbringings, they were morally quite similar. They were also both logical and clever, though I think that they jumped to conclusions too often. I felt that the way that they worked things out so quickly and without much evidence sometimes weakened the book. Whilst we didn't learn all that much about other characters, including Tess (Day's friend), Matias (June's Brother) and Day's family, I thought that they were very solid and intriguing.
What I didn't like about Day and June was the insta-love. As soon as they met, they seemed to fall in love, which seemed unrealistic and felt a little 'lazy'. There was certainly potential for chemistry between the two characters, and I did see some as they interacted. I do like the two characters though, and together they did work well. The fact that their relationship was forbidden added to the suspense. I do look forward to seeing how their relationship progresses later on.
Legend is an action packed and reasonably fast paced book that I think the majority of young adults will enjoy. If you like a lot of action and perhaps a 'thriller' feel to your reads, you will probably enjoy it. Although this wasn't one of the best dystopian books that I've read, it was decent enough and I would like to see how the rest of the series pans out.