Legend by Marie Lu
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I've listed this as 3 stars, but I would say it is actually closer to 3.5 stars. Legend was a really quick read (even by my own speedy standards), and had some really good points. I just found it was lacking that je ne sais quoi that makes a book amazing.
Synopsis: Day is a criminal who lives on the streets. June is a military student who gets perfect scores in every test she takes. When June's brother dies, she is sure that Day is responsible, and dedicates her life to hunting him down.
Okay, so I should say that I read The Young Elites before this, so I had already fallen in love with Lu's writing style. Having said that, I definitely think the writing in Legend is nowhere near as beautiful. It's a smooth read but it lacks the lyrical quality I loved in The Young Elites.
I thought that having the Les Misérables homage would be enough to sell me on the story line, but it really was not. I found a lot of what happened really obvious. I hate books where I can tell what's coming from a mile away. I really would have preferred if Day had killed Metias, because at least that would have been interesting. It's a good overall story line, with some great bits thrown in (the truth about June's parents; that Day got a perfect trial score), but there is nothing unique about it. I am sorely hoping this changes as the series progresses.
I did enjoy the political aspects of this book. YA books usually present their corrupt governments as universally hated (even if nobody can do anything about it). But most of the time, corruption is a lot more subtle than that. I think Lu portrayed this well - June spends a majority of this book believing in the righteousness of the Republic, and as a hard time believing they did anything wrong at first. This makes so much more sense, because June grew up being told the government was great - she would not have realistically abandoned them over one rumour. Lu also left me wanting to know more about the government - why are they making the plagues? What's with the new mutation? What's with the Elector Primo? - which always keeps me hooked in a series.
Another series with a lackluster romance. If you have read any of my reviews before, you will know that one of my biggest pet peeves is forced romance. Day and June knew each other for about 3 days and I am supposed to believe they are in love? I was almost okay with the romance until the last few pages. They share a kiss early in the book and clearly like each other from a friendly perspective - this was more of a flirtation than an oh-my-god-I'm-in-love-with-you kind of thing. But at the end of the book, they are together romantically? Can YA authors please give some time for love to develop instead of forcing it?!
Overall, this was an easy read and worthwhile for fans of the dystopian genre. A solid world and standard plot, but the romance is a little forced.
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