Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Legen-wait for it-dary!

Book review for Legend by Marie Lu

Once known as the western coast of the United States, the Republic is now a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors, the Colonies.
Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a military prodigy. Obedient, passionate, and committed to her country, she is being groomed for success in the Republic's highest circles.
Born into the slums of the Republic's Lake Sector, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motivations 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. Now, caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June tries desperately 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 to which their country will go to keep its secrets.
So by now if you haven't heard of this book, you're pretty much living with your head shoved in the sand. Or in the cloud of a dust bomb. Way before the paperback even hit the shelves, there was so much hype I have no idea how Marie Lu is still sane (obviously based on the assumption she is). The movies rights have already been sold to CBS (one of the top ranking television networks), and Penguin had practically sold the SHIZ out of this book already.
And to be honest, when a book has this much hype, I'm determined to hate it. I don't know why but when someone recommends a book to me saying 'this book is the ultimate awesomeness' and 'I've never laughed/cried/loved/*insert adjective here* a book as much as this one', and worse still 'you have to buy this' (cue shoving in hands and nudging towards the registers), I do everything in my power to avoid the damn thing. I get this certain stubborn streak that IS GOOD FOR NOTHING, but I just can't help it. So, with all this in mind, I dragged my feet through BIG W, feeling as though everyone was waiting for me to pick up the book so they could point, judge, laugh at me, and bought it. 
On release day.
And... I didn't hate it.
My Review...

At Face Value: I probably would've picked it up based on the cover alone, but it would have ended up unread, on my shelf with countless others. 

Immediate Reaction: Like most 'first' books, the ending wrapped up nicely. But it didn't leave me wanting more. I can wait for the next book.

High Five: First half, a four. Second, a three.

 Let me start off by saying this book's premise is no where near original; it was inspired by Les Miserables and contains a very Romeo and Juliet love story. That said, no story is original these days and Lu develops her characters and world to a height that makes Legend stand alone.

 Legend is told from the perspectives of both main characters, June and Day in alternating chapters but instead of letting her character's voice come through, either Lu or Razorbill decided to give them different fonts. This helps simplify who's who but was bloody annoying to begin with (mainly because I'm just a little picky and seriously didn't like Day's font. It made me want to punch him for looking like a Goosebumps novel). 
June is tough, stoic, and at times, annoyed me with her 'I'm so much smarter than everyone else' mentality that the Republic has basically stamped her with. But she becomes more emotionally driven towards the end. And she kicks arse. Day is a 'rebel' but to be honest, the crimes everyone is in a tizzy about are pretty underwhelming. At first, I didn't understand why they were so crazed to catch a fifteen-year-old that had gone a little wild with the spray paint but Lu makes it work. And suddenly there is a REASON I can go with.
 As I was reading this book, I put it down a couple of times for ridiculous things like work, food, coffee but where ever I went the characters followed me so I have to give Lu kudos for that. It's not often another author's characters push my own out of the way but the struggles June and Day are put through (I love when authors don't baby their characters), were enough to keep me wondering. There was emotional connection with the characters which I haven't found in a few books I've read lately and I fell in love with Metias (June's wicked cool big brother) who literally existed for all of about one chapter. DEVASTATED. MUCH.

I loved Day's break in to the hospital, I loved little Tess (can I have a baby sister like her, please?) and I loved Kaede whose vine tattoo sounds seriously awesome. I think Thomas could have been developed more and I well and truly loathed Commander Jameson (which was pretty much the point); really though, someone needs to sword-blade that woman's eye. The idea of the Elector Primo was also awesome and his son, mentioned way briefly was actually someone I remembered and hope will play a bigger part in the sequel.

 My main complaint though, and the reason the book didn't get a high five (especially in the second half), was things seemed a little too coincidental. Now, I get that there are coincidences in all books - mostly they're the catalyst or a way for the plot to move forward - but some of the things were a little too easy. Like, I can buy into how Day was at the same Skiz fight June was, but I don't buy into the 'numbers' he finds in places he's been at a gazillion times before. My first thought was "some high-risk criminal, his observation skills clearly need work" and I'm pretty sure that wasn't the reaction Lu intended. I can also buy into June being some super-smart freak of a girl, but I don't care how many times I read it, her figuring out the anagram that leads her to a super secret website will never make sense to me. NEVER.

 Overall, if you can get past these little nuances that my picky brain just won't move on from, and you like Dystopian novels, you'll love the shiz out of Legend. It's crazy-fast paced, has some hotter than hot characters and gives the sense of danger in just about every choice. Throw in some OMG shocks, a little bit of loving, and someone getting their head blasted off and I'm pretty sure it covers all bases. 

 It also makes me really want to write a Dystopian novel.


  1. Great review. Despite all the high praise this book has been receiving, Legend didn't exactly 'blow me away' but I still found myself enjoying it. Loved all the characters and there's not a single one I hated. Thankfully. Loved little Tess too.

    1. Literally love that you gave me my first ever blog comment :)

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Elisha. Hopefully there'll be plenty more. Currently trying to get my hands on Mara Dyer because of the mixed reviews that has been getting. Have you read Legend?


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