This book is one of those rare books that completely and utterly blows you away.
As an avid reader of young adult dystopian novels, I was naturally drawn to Legend. It is the first in a trilogy set in a future United States that is split into two warring nations. The two narrators of the story are teens that live in the Republic of America, in an equally familiar and futuristic version of Los Angeles. The future of each child is decided by their score on a test they take as a preteen. Those that score highly are allowed to further their education, and work their way into a high-ranking military position, while those who score lowly are forced onto the streets, susceptible to a ravaging plague. 15-year-old prodigy June achieved what has never been done before, by getting a perfect score on the test. She is well on her way to becoming a star in the military. Day, on the other hand, is a wanted criminal. Ever since he failed the test, he abandoned his old identity in hopes of survival, turning to petty crimes and hiding out in the streets in order to protect his poor family.
The two teens’ contrasting worlds collide when June’s older brother and guardian is murdered, and the Republic names Day as the prime suspect.
The following story is completely action-packed, a gripping and unpredictable turn of events that forced me to keep reading into the wee hours of the morning, no matter how tired I was. I definitely didn’t expect to already be so excited about it less than fifty pages in! I haven’t had a reading experience like this since I first read The Hunger Games in 2010. While the premise of Legend itself has similarities to THG and Divergent, it is a completely different and completely original novel. Marie Lu is a fantastic writer, and I’m so stoked to pick up the other books in the series! The dual perspective is well executed. Each chapter is perfectly paced and grabs hold of you, and the story world and complex young characters are very well developed. This is something I don’t get very often with teen dystopias, due to the fact that many simply copy popular ones or are too similar to each other in certain aspects. I’m not saying this about all dystopias, but the popularity of the genre means that settings, storylines, characters, etc. become predictable. This book was not one of those.
I totally recommend this book, especially if you feel burned out by other books in this genre. Marie Lu’s Legend is positively brilliant!