Legend is a Young Adult action-packed dystopian novel by Marie Lu. The western United States has turned into a nation called the Republic which is constantly at war with the rebel Patriots. Society is divided based on intelligence. Each citizen of the Republic is required to take a standardized test which determines their social rank. The story is told from two different first person perspectives. The first perspective is a boy named Day who was born in the slums and is the Republic’s most wanted criminal. The second perspective is a girl named June who was born into higher society and is the Republic most promising soldier. June is a prodigy and the only citizen to ever receive a perfect score on the examination. After June is told that Day killed Metias, she is determined to track down Day for the Republic. Both come from completely different worlds, but as their paths unite, they discover the twisted circumstances which really brought them together. They also come to realize their government may not be as trustworthy as they originally thought.
Legend was a compelling read. The action-packed story pulled me in right away, and I found myself furiously flipping through the pages of the book. However, as I continued to read I noticed the supposedly different perspectives were way too similar to one another. In fact, if the characters were not divided by gender, the perspectives would be the exact same. I came across a quote toward the end of the novel which summed up my feelings toward this issue entirely. “It’s strange being here with you. I hardly know you. But…sometimes it feels like we’re the same person born in two different worlds.” I literally burst out laughing when I read this quote. I found it slightly disturbing how similar the two characters were to one another. I know birds of a feather flock together, but you shouldn’t fall in love with your alter ego. That’s bit conceited don’t you think?
Also, both characters were fifteen years old. I’m all for powerful main characters, but some of the things these fifteen-year-old characters accomplished were far too unrealistic. Plus, much of the foreshadowing in the book was blatantly obvious. One inconsistency in the novel grabbed my attention so fiercely, I thought it was a mistake the editor didn’t catch. Unfortunately, the obviousness of the inconsistency made it easy to predict something later in the novel.
Legend was fairly well-written. The read was enjoyable, and the book kept me intrigued. The plot line seemed to focus more on the love story than the dystopian aspect of the novel. In fact, the dystopian label of the novel seemed to play backdrop to the love story in the novel. Honestly, that’s okay for a novel to do, but one of the main reasons I enjoy dystopians is to read a critique on society. I didn’t really get that from this novel. A society divided by intelligence an interesting concept, and I would love to see it explored more.
Overall, I give the book 3/5 stars. Though it was not necessarily the most challenging critique on society, it was fun to read and quite enjoyable!