Legend by Marie Lu is the first in a YA dystopian trilogy and tells the story of Day and June two teenagers on the opposite sides of the political fence. June is a young government soldier, while Day is a freedom fighter. When June’s brother is killed during a raid on a hospital in which Day is taking part, their paths collide.
What I liked
The romance. It’s an old trope, but an effective one, to have the protagonists fall in love but be unaware that they are in fact mortal enemies because of their political viewpoints. (see You’ve Got Mail, Pillow Talk, The Shop Around the Corner)The added personal motivation of Metias’, June’s brother’s death adds an extra element to the mix. Lu builds up an excellent tension for the reveal of the identities to each other. She actually had the revelation take place earlier in the book than I’d expected – however, it works well, as the rest of the book is devoted to finding out the truth behind Metias’ death.
The setting. I found Lu’s world nicely written. The dystopian side of it is very subtle at first, and it’s only when we learn more about it that its nature really becomes apparent. This fits in with June’s growing understanding of her world. I liked that our learning about the world was tied into the mystery of Metias’ death.
The characters. I really liked both June and Day and was fascinated by the parallels, contrasts and comparisons drawn between them. Sometimes it was a little heavy handed though – it didn’t need a character to explicitly say that their lives could have been the same had Day’s not taken a different turning at one point. I liked that June was very book smart, but is rather naive and trusting whereas Day is equally intelligent, but his knowledge is more street smarts. Unlike June, his experiences have made him bitter and not very trusting. I liked that their relationship with each other made them both really think about their points of view.
What I didn’t like
The narration. I found it hard to become engaged in the audio narration of this book. I personally didn’t enjoy Mariel Stern and Steven Kaplan’s narration, which I found rather flat. That is my own opinion, and of course you may enjoy the narration. Here’s a sample.
All in all, I really enjoyed Legend and gave it four stars out of five. I look forward to continuing with the series.