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Book Review: Legend

Title: Legend
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Published: November 29, 2011
Reviewer: Lea
Rating: 3.2 stars


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. 

I wont deny the fact that at first it was hard for me to get through the first few chapters of the book.  I don't know why.

I read this in April and I can still remember what I felt like reading this book.

I'm going to say this: I know I'll love the book the moment I read the first page. I felt it when I read my favorite series for the first time:  Percy Jackson and the Olympians and The Maze Runner. I always feel a sense of magic.  Curiosity and interest. A sort of confidence I can feel being emanated by the book that gives me the confidence to finish it.

But the problem was I didn't feel that spark. Thus, it became difficult for me to continue.  

As a reader— I have very very good tolerance. Even if I completely hate the book I finish it anyways.  I continue with the next book of the series. The rule is: there should be a story. I know what you're thinking— every book has a story.  But for me— if it's bland, stereotypical and predictable— there is no story.  So even if the genre isn't my type or is something I don't usually read; even if the character development or writing is bad— as long as the story is comprehendible and interesting— you've got me as a reader (but not necessarily a fan).

Going back, I remember how uninterested I was reading the first chapter. I remember thinking— it's just another dystopian YA.  But I read further thinking that the plot has to distinguishable somehow, that sooner or later I'll pick up the story—

And I did.

It didn't feel amazing at first.  But there was so much potential that I became curious with what the author has in store.  And she didn't prove me wrong.

Marie Lu had very good ideas. That tied me the book.  And the fact that she could toy with these ideas in any way she wants— there's no way I can let this book go.

I absolutely love the fact that she made two enemies fall in love.  It's not common in YA.  I love that both June and Day (in Legend) both felt an equal amount of love and hate for each other.  Most YA books tend to weaken the storyline by adding a lot of sappy scenes as an attempt to gain readers instead of manipulating the story in anyway possible to their advantage.  I love that she didn't do that. She showed her control as an author: if they need to hate each other—they will.  That it's for the good of the story— so that the story will have substance. [But of course, there is a need for both the characters to feel an underlying sense of need for each other (or else how will their relationship ever develop?)].

I love that both June and Day have such interesting background stories.  How they grew up, what they grew up to be— through that, I knew, that the author is brewing a good recipe for the plot.  The total clash of June and Day— June being the rich, feisty, star soldier: Prodigy; and Day being the poor, badass, people's hero: Legend—  when mixed, what would be created? 

When June's brother died I knew this was when the action would begin.  Now the author has showed June's purpose in the story, her intentions. And we know that when they meet there will be disaster.

Here's my take on character development: I need the character to keep their dignity.  It pains  me to read someone so desperate, so foolish, so defeated.

And that was Day when June arrested him.

Oh dear.... It was hell reading that part.  I had equal respect for both June and Day and it was hard reading Day being mocked.  But what made that part bearable was that I didn't need to hate June for being cruel because at some point she started opening her mind and was kind.  Another thing I love: she wasn't thinking about love, love, love all the time. There is much more to a story other than sappy romances.  She thought about the fairness of Day's situation, the validity of the cause of her brother's death. June was a thinker— and through using both her mind and heart to help Day, I could not stop myself from liking her.

In regards to the political background of the story: very very interesting.  Sometimes, I'd find the  information that June/Day finds out, pretty odd, but very interesting— thought-provoking.  There are definitely a lot of plot twists that shocked me, that kept me curious all throughout the book. I'm sure it will for you too.

As of minor characters: they are not minor at all. I love that every character has a purpose, an important role in the story— that they aren't just a filler in the plot.  Their existence has meaning.  Tess, Eden, John, his Mom (also Anden in Prodigy and Champion)— they were all important, and I grew attached to them in the book. 

Marie Lu is definitely a smart author.  The plot was amazing— but not really well written in the first book. At some point you might not really feel its epicness.  You might get bored at first. But as I said— the plot has potential. There is so much more that will happen in Prodigy and Champion that will satisfy you as a reader— and when you finish the series, I'm sure you'll want more.

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