Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Book Review: Legend (Book #1) by Marie Lu

Legend by Marie Lu

Series: Legend (Book #1)
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Release date: 29th November 2011
Read: 31st January 2014
Tagged under: 2014 read, 2014 favourites, dystopian, YA-fiction, 3
Pages: 305

He is a Legend...

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.

Book Review [Spoiler Free]

Having freshly finished the Legend series just prior to this review, it's hard not to let my feelings and views of Prodigy and Champion cloud my thoughts of Legend, the first book in this dystopian trilogy written by Marie Lu. Which is why although I have tagged this book (and series) as one of my 2014 favourites, I still left the rating of this book at a 3, the original rating I gave when I first finished this book.

Legend follows the story of June, a fifteen-year-old prodigy of the Republic, as she embarks on a quest to avenge the murder of her older brother, Metias, who was killed during a routine night of patrolling. Her target is the infamous Day, the Republic's most wanted criminal. But as the two of them meet and get to know each other more, June is forced to question her goal and the actions of the country she has sworn to protect.

As far as dystopian novels go, this one is a solid start to the trilogy. It features a strong powerful heroine and an equally capable hero. Both are strong with almost inhuman strengths and powers that gives this book almost a tinge of fantasy. The world they reside in is fully dystopian (none of the half-formed societies that some lesser books try to pass off as dystopian) with plenty of mystery and intrigue as to its past. And despite the almost instant attraction between the pair, the fact that June and Day are pitted against each other right from the start gives their friendship/relationship an off-kilter tone right from the start. 

The story line alternates between June and Day, giving the reader perspectives on both the world of the elite and rich, as well as that of the streets. But soon, as the characters meet, their worlds collide and the story line merges to one. One of the strength of Lu's writing is the fact that even though Metias is relatively a small character, the reader nevertheless relates to June's grief over his passing and can understand the reasons behind her actions. Another small facet that I really enjoyed was both June and Day's ability to notice very small details with regards to their surroundings. Legend is most definitely a strong dystopian novel and stands above the throngs of dystopian works that have flooded the market. 

But what prevented me from giving this book a higher rating is that I felt it just needed a bit more. As often is the case with trilogies, the author holds onto some trump cards for the later books. I felt that Marie Lu didn't reveal too much of the world building, leaving me with the sense that there is a bigger world out there but the story is isolated to just one city. There are also a lot of questions raised but never answered. While it was enjoyable, it didn't do enough to land on my favourites list on its own.

Overall: 3/5

I definitely enjoyed this book and it left me wanting to continue the series. It may be a harsh rating for such a solid read but I just felt Legend just needed to give a bit more than what it had. However, I would still highly recommend this book (and the series) to fans of the dystopian genre. 


  1. I can totally see where you felt there were downfalls - the world building does get better - so you MUST keep reading!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

  2. Oh, I'm quite interested in reading this book myself, so I'm glad I read your review. I'm not normally one for dystopian genre, mainly because I'm so busy reading fantasy and historical fiction that I just have yet to breach into that genre. I saw the book on Amazon though and having read its blurb, was quite drawn to buying it. Currently, it awaits on my wishlist until I get some money.

    Nathan's Fiction Sphere