Thursday 2 February 2012

Book Review- Legend by Marie Lu

Legend (Legend, #1)Title: Legend
 Author: Marie Lu
Series:  Legend #1
Published:  2 February 2012
Length: 301 pages
Warnings: violence, romance 12+
Source: Publishers via Spinebreakers
Other info: This is Marie Lu’s debut novel. The first in a trilogy, and film rights have already been bought.
Summary : 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' 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.

: Day is the most wanted criminal in America. June is a young commander who should end up in the highest ranks after being marked as a prodigy. Normally, they’d never meet. But after June’s brother is killed and she vows to hunt down his killer, and Day is put in the spotlight for the crime, they do. And then they discover some more things about their country, ie the secrets they try so hard to keep.
Legend is loosely based on Les Miserables. Apparently. I’ve never read it, or seen the musical, or (I’m guessing) any film, so I can’t comment on it being updated. Sorry about that.
First impressions, there wasn’t anything that really made it a stand-out when looking at concept. But, being a new dystopian trilogy that may be amazing, of course I had to read it. And so they bring it up at a spinebreakers meeting, and I get it.
The tale is told from both Day’s and June’s perspective, which would be very interesting if it weren’t for the fact they’re quite similar. Not too similar, but there wasn’t much of their own voice. Both are intelligent, sporty (not the right word, but neither is active, or any other word to that effect), and do something that you can’t really expect from the average fifteen year old- a life of crime or a life in the military. Fun.
The world building is terrible. Due to my terrible  (read-almost non existent) knowledge of American history, Republicans and Colonies and all that was only very slightly understood. I just had to guess the whole political set up. Luckily, that wasn’t the focus of the book, so I  got by. It would be nice to see what it really was like to get a better understanding of the world.
I also found it quite predictable. The romance, I didn’t like. June was a perfectly good heroine, strong, wilful and intelligent...and then she falls in love. With the guy she is meant to be hunting. Well done. And the ending...the foreshadowing and my mind could already see it happening the way it did. Slightly ruined it, but still enjoyable.
Aside from that, I loved this book. From the start I was interested, a little more in Day than in June. The opening sentence is just...what an amazing hook. And the way it plays out from there is very good too.
The alternate narrative, aside from being similar, was very effective. The double perspective worked in building the story and moving it along, even if it did mean that Day would probably be out of the scene while June narrated, and vice versa.
I think my favourite character was John, even though we don’t get to see that much of him until the end. It’s amazing how much a character can stick in your mind even though he’s minor for most of the book.
The pacing and action scenes were amazing. A pivotal event where you think “it’s all over” happens around halfway through the book, which was quite interesting. And then I spent the rest of it thinking “how is it going to fill out?” But it did, and it wasn’t with pointless things. lots of things happen in the second half. Lots of things happen in the entire thing, if we’re being specific.

Overall: Strength 4 tea to the start of a trilogy with a LOT packed into it-here’s hoping the next two will be just as good.  

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Thanks for taking time to read this!
Comments are much loved.
Nina xxx

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