Review: Legend by Marie Lu

*May contain spoiler, read at your own risk*

Full Synopsis: What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbours. 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’ 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.

Legend was one of the first ever books I bought on my Kindle back in 2014, a time where I was just getting into reading more and mainly read Harry Potter. I remember reading this book during a break from Harry Potter in July 2014 and I’m happy to say that I still remember the majority of the story, which is a sign of a good book, as it has left a lasting impression. Legend is also the book which has recently risen me from my reading slump and gotten back into the literary world, and this novel is just as great the 2nd time around.

To start off, I love the double perspective narrative as it allowed for unrestricted access, meaning that the audience knew more than the characters. Additionally, It is a great way to see the other end of the spectrum, instead of focusing on just the rich kid or just the poor kid, the audience was treated to both sides of the story. This style was also useful for when the story slowed down for one character, the perspective switched to the other, where, something would be happening, thus allowing the momentum to stay constant and engaging. Furthermore, Marie Lu’s writing was quite easy to understand, not too simple that it was boring, not to complicated that it was a task to read; This allowed me to burn through Legend within a matter of days the first time round, which was quite an achievement at the time considering I only read it on my daily bus journeys. Whereas, during my second read through I’m taking more time in order to soak in every single detail, and hopefully pick up on some points I missed first time around.

In addition, the story was quite intriguing for the most part, managing to keep me hooked as June looked for answers and the fugitive, Day, while Day – our other main protagonist- took care of his companion – Tess – and his family. For both characters, the beginning opened with a bang, quite literally and hooks even the most casual readers; On the other end, the ending is satisfying enough, while also leaving questions and space for the sequel to expand upon.

On a separate point, the characters were typical of the YA genre; We have, the strong, skilled, girl; The intelligent, good looking boy; And the evil bitch who is out to ruin the world. Although this formula is the norm for YA, in this novel it worked well as we see June who is initially on the same side as the antagonist – which I have not seen many times before – learn that her loyalty may not lie in the right hands. June’s personality is similar to Celaena Sardothien, – the main protagonist from the Throne of Glass series – she is intelligent, observant, beautiful and uses her emotions as fuel for her battles; As Celaena is one of my favourite characters in YA fiction, it is nice to see a character that shares common traits, as it makes June easier to understand and interpret. Similarly, Day is as sharp as June; He portrays many of the same traits, however, Day is not too against showing his emotions and is often selfless when it comes to those he loves, such as Tess and his family and later June.

On the other hand, the chief antagonist is Commander Jameson, an officer that works for the Republic. She is ruthless and manipulative, happy to dispatch anyone who does not conform and she’s the reason June meets Day. Due to her actions in the novel, I’d put her in the same category as Harry Potter’s Dolores Umbridge and Divergent’s Jeanine Matthews.

Legend stands out from other YA novels, this is due to the fact that it doesn’t contain instalove – a term given to when characters meet and five minutes later, have fallen in love. The love in this book slowly develops as June learns to trust Day when she gets to know the real him. Moreover, I’m happy that the two main protagonists meet for a clearly defined reason and not just as a result of being introduced by a friend, or one of the million other silly ways they could have met; Instead they meet as a result of June’s mission, to track and capture Day.

Overall, I positively enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read the rest of the trilogy.. I could route for the protagonists and took pleasure in hating the antagonist. Additionally, the fact that I remember so much of the novel and it’s characters after a year certainly speaks volumes on how much this novel left an impression on me. Praise to Marie Lu, a woman whose other works I cannot wait to read. I’m going to give Legend ⅘ stars, as there is always room for improvement, even if I can’t find it.

Thank you for reading this review. If you have read Legend leave your opinion down below! If you haven’t read it, go check it out!


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