Release Date: November 29, 2011
(Thanks to ATWT for letting me participate in this tour!)
Published by: Putnam Juvenille
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.
Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills.
1. (+) Day & June, the Protagonists - To be honest, I didn't actually like June in the beginning. She seemed closed off and almost indulged in violence in the same way that you'd expect the villains to... and her original reaction to her brother's death was not that emotional... but give her a chance. She opens up more as the story goes on and her relationship with her brother is more explored--enough that the ice around her breaks. Day, on the other hand, is someone I immediately sympathized with. He's really courageous, caring, and smart-- he knows how to survive on his own and at fifteen years old, he is giving back to his family and to his poor community, which gets neglected by the government. He is the hero of the story until June discovers things for herself and joins him. (Side note: they're both really careful and analyze situations a lot and though they come from different backgrounds, they both know how to take what they can from their surroundings. It's a really interesting dynamic between the two of them.)
2. (+) Alternating POVs - The alternating POVs really helped build the suspense both for the romance and for the beginning, when June and Day haven't met yet, though you know when they do, it's going to be explosive. I also liked how different June and Day's perspectives were from each other -- it was nice contrasting the cynical and admiring POVs on the Republic and nice to see them converge as time goes on.
3. (+) History/World-building - I love, love, LOVED the world-building. I liked the hints of the USA versus how it now is the Republic and the Colonies and how the Republic hides this information from its people. I liked those echoes of American history like the President and coins and the election and loved the way the society had become so very militaristic and how the Trial was like a hyped up SAT. Dystopians often make me doubt them just because of how violent the societies are, but I could see the dynamics of this kind of society being possible.
4. (+) The Romance - The best part about the romance was that it felt appropriate for this book. By that I mean that June and Day are distrusting people, but because of their circumstances, their relationship grows in such a way to make it feel realistic, and in a society where June doesn't who she can turn to, it makes sense that she would look to Day and look at him differently... it also makes sense that Day, who was alone for a good part of his life, would admire someone who have the same survival skills that he has. I liked that their romance also had both sweet and bad turns - those made it seem more believable. The romance didn't overwhelm the book; it was a great complement to it.
5. (+) Comparisons to the Hunger Games - A lot of dystopians get compared to the Hunger Games, but a lot are not like THG (i.e. Legend)... But Legend is the first dystopian I've read that I think has the potential to be as big as THG, and honestly, I liked it better than THG (even though I could mostly predict what was going to happen...)
6. (--) Weird font change - Just my personal preference, but I hate it when publishing companies change fonts and font colors. Day's section was in a different font than June's and had a goldish color to it and it just looked weird to me. Yes, really nitpicky, but I can't help it.
7. (+/-) Villains - I definitely believed in the danger that the villains posed, but I didn't feel like I quite understood why they did it or how things got to be that way. I think the book was a little short of what most YA ones are nowadays and I think it really could've been longer, added in a few more details about the society and its history and how Elector Primo somehow is on his 11th term, etc. etc.
8. (+) Writing - Marie Lu's writing is easy to read and easy to visualize. I especially liked how you could see the character development mirrored in the writing and how June's chapters became less closed off as the book progressed.
9. (+) Pacing - Didn't put the book down once. Each chapter flows into the next, and I could not get through it fast enough. There is a lot of great action to carry the story.
10. (+/-) The Cover - I know they probably chose this cover to attract both boys and girls (as well they should, like THG), but personally I don't like it. The Mockingjay is a really important symbol for THG, and this must be the Republic's coin or something, but I don't remember reading about it enough for it to be on the cover.
Legend is the start of a fascinating dystopian trilogy with characters and a world that has enough potential to rival the Hunger Games. (Yeah, kind of cliche to say, but it's the first time I've ever said that so ;P). You don't want to miss out on this debut!