Monday, 27 February 2012

Legend (Legend #1)

Legend (Legend #1) by Marie Lu
Paperback, 368 pages

Published February 2nd 2012 by Razorbill (Puffin)

My shelves: apocalyptic, arc-or-review, books-i-own, dystopian, read-in-2012,series-or-companions, too-much-hype,young-adult

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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.

21 comments:

  1. Hi Stephanie, many thanks for stopping by to visit me over at Pen and Paper.

    A great review, I've already heard lots of things about this book, both good and bad, so enjoyed reading your thoughts on it.

    Nice to have met you, I've enjoyed my visit, PW.

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  2. I won a copy of th is one and can't wait to read it. Excellent review!! :-)

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  3. I recently heard Marie Lu talk about her book and she said that June was originally a male character. I thought that was interesting...

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  4. Thank you for visiting my blog! I blog both in Swedish and in English depending on in what language I read the book in. I hope you don't mind the Swedish ones :P

    I can't wait to read "A Million Suns" too, I hope my library buys in it soon because it's still a bit expensive for me to buy :P

    I've been wanting to read this book for a long time! Love the review!
    I usually don't like the "love at first sight"-kinda love. I hope the rest of the book makes up for it. I hope I get my hands on this one soon :)

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  5. Great review!

    Want to win an ARC of The Springsweet?

    Stop by and enter!

    http://amidnightsummersread.blogspot.com/2012/02/contest-springsweet-by-saundra-mitchell.html

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  6. Aw, the summary sounded interesting but it seems like the book didn't deliver entirely. Stil, it sounds like a decent book! :D
    Thanks for your honest review :D

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  7. I'm still undecided about this one. I think after you're review I'll probably pass. I've read so many dystopians recently I need a break!

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  8. I am SOOOO excited to read this book! I heard it's been compared to Harry Potter!! That is a tough feat to live up to! :)

    Love the design of your blog by the way! :)

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  9. I'm extremely interested in this book and love your review!!

    xo,
    La Toya (La Toya, Literally.)

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  10. This was a great review, Stephanie!

    I always have trouble reading dystopian books, I don't know why. Perhaps there's just so much bleakness I can abide in the world at any given time? *laughs* I don't know. Anyway, I agree with you wholeheartedly on the fact that insta-love kills the the main couple... Knowing that this happens in this book, I'm doubly reluctant to read it! But if you plan to read the sequel, I'll probably just stalk you and wait to see if all that promise meets its potential in the sequels.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Ron @ Stories of my life

    PS. New follower! Thanks for visiting my blog earlier! :)

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  11. Nicely reviewed Stephanie! I'm glad you enjoyed it despite some issues. I think June and Day were my favourite aspect of the book too. I loved their characters. :)

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  12. Sigh so many teen books have instant love in them that it really has gotten old. It is almost as if authors think teenagers fall in love within an hour of meeting. I know some teens do that but I really think they are starting to discredit the teens who have more self respect than that.

    Thanks for the lovely review, I can't wait to read this one because sadly I've just about gotten use to instant love in teen books.

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  13. AWESOME review, Stephanie! It's honest and full of details, simply amazing! <3 I'm not a big fan of insta-love either. I can stand insta-love in fairytale retelling since I expect them to fall in love, but in the other genre, the insta-love is not believable. I love books with action packed though, so I think I might give this book a go! :)

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  14. I liked this book, too! The weakest part of the book for me was June -- I didn't like her all that much, esp after she betrayed Day, but I suppose she made up for it. I like how gritty the book was. Lu wasn't afraid to "go there" in quite a few scenes. I'm looking forward to the sequel as well.

    The insta-love part worked for me, strangely enough. Go figure.

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  15. Oh, I do have to ask -- did this cover at all seem to go with the book? Or even the title, for that matter? I'm not sure the word "legend" was even in the book. I think the cover is cool, I just don't see the connection to the book.

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  16. Thanks for the review, I've been wavering on this one.
    The characters sounds like a plus, and I'm a character gal.
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

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  17. Hi!

    I read this book a few weeks ago and liked it a lot. I'm a Dystopian fan so it's not surprising. ;)

    I like all the universe and the mysteries going on and I'm eager to read the sequel to discover more. But, I agree with you about the relationship between the main characters. Attraction okay, but it's like they fall in love really fast and the context and everything that are going on in their lives make it quite impossible. It ruins a little some amazing parts of the story.

    Great review!

    PS: I've got two giveaways on my blog.

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  18. While I really liked this book, I do agree about this review. Especially about Day! And it is being made into a film - one I'm very excited about!
    Thanks for the great review! :)

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  19. Nice review - sounds like an interesting read. I've heard so many great things about it.

    Shantal
    My Blog: Book Nerds are Pretty Too

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  20. Sorry to see you didn't enjoy it! I loved this book! I actually met the author and she told us that she's NOT good with romance, in fact her editor always makes her rewrite the romantic scenes! So, that's why the relationship... isn't the best.

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  21. I was never interested in this one enough to add it to my shelves... I'm usually a huge fan of dystopians and I wasn't real keen on this one. I might give it a shot but it looks like I was right. :)

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