Legend by Marie Lu

 

Legend (Legend, #1)
Amazon|Goodreads

June is a wealthy young daughter of the Republic. She scored perfectly on her Trial exam and is being trained, like her parents and her brother to serve the Republic as a member of its military. When her brother is killed by the Republic’s most wanted criminal, she seeks revenge. But on her journey to avenge him, she finds he’s been hiding some of the Republic’s darkest secrets for her to find.

 

Day is a poor boy from the slums. Or was before he failed his Trails. Instead of being sent to the death camps like the rest of the children the Republic deems unworthy of service or work, Day manages to escape. Now he does his best to stay alive and wreak havoc in the Republic’s cities. When his brother is diagnosed with the plague, one of the many illnesses that ravage the poorest sectors of the city, Day must steal a cure from the hospital, one of the most well-guarded buildings in the city.

I’m a big sucker for the Robin Hood stories. Steal from the rich to give to the poor. They really don’t need the extravagance anyway. I also really like a show-off. Needless to say, I loved Day. He was witty and quick on his feet. Impulsive and protective of his family and his people. He lived by his own rules and his own morals, like many children on the street do.

June is meant to showcase the difference between the two worlds. They are essentially the same person – smart, showy, with extreme physical prowess – but one of them was raised as a legacy, with everything that entails. She inherited her family name and their home in the high rise. She attended their alma mater and earned a coveted spot in well-respected patrol. She was afforded chances that Day was not simply because of her name and status.

Meanwhile, Day comes from the wrong side of the tracks. He’s had none of June’s education and none of her family history to bolster him. As a result, the Republic decides he is unworthy and unusable. He’s sentenced to die and escapes because of his own skill, in the process turning himself into Public Enemy number 1.

The dystopian genre really is my favorite. It gives rise to strong characters; these are heroes that I look up to. They’re entirely normal people until, for whatever reason, they find they can’t be. Reading dystopian gives an insight into a human thirst for power and how it develops, manifests, and makes itself known. As far as dystopian novels go, this book was really enjoyable. Honestly, give me any book with an angsty teenager who hates the government instead of his mom or a young women who is the only one who can spark the rebellion and save the citizens. It’s like my crack.

Was it any more than fun? Not terribly. It’s the same overpowering government using the same control tactics we see in so many other dystopian novels. There was room for improvement in the history and world-building department. The characters’ pasts could have been better fleshed. But for a quick, addictive read, it was fun, and I’m looking forward to reading the sequel.

Fans of Legend should also check and out Metaltown by Kristen Simmons. The two books have similar themes, ideas, and writing style, although Legend is a bit more high-tech and high profile.

 

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