Review of Legend by Marie Lu

This is an incredibly boring cover.

Legend by Marie Lu. ★★★

Legend is a middling, “brain candy” sort of YA dystopia. It’s far from the worst of the genre I’ve read, but it doesn’t really do anything different either.

The basic set up of Legend should be familiar: Something Happened. Now there’s a new government (the Republic). It’s almost certainly evil. Our young teenage protagonists (June and Day) will rise up and over throw it. Got the picture?

Legend alternates between June and Day. Day’s the Republic’s most wanted criminal, while June’s a prodigy being trained to enter the military. Then, June’s brother is found dead and Day is blamed. June’s sent out to capture him, and their paths collide.

First of all, I did enjoy Legend. It’s entertaining. However, it doesn’t really go beyond that. It doesn’t make me think or raise any questions. If I had to put together topics of discussion for it for a book club, I’d be hard pressed to come up with talking points. Basically, this is what I’d term “fluff.”

On the scale of YA dystopia’s, I’d say it’s about at the middle of the pack. It’s nowhere near as terrible as The Selection and the premise isn’t as stupid as in Divergent, but it doesn’t really reach the levels of The Hunger Games. There’s also no new ideas that would make it stand out from the pack. However, it’s fast paced, fairly short, and full of action. It could be worse.

Legend is the sort of book where you don’t see the flaws until you’ve finished. Characterization is probably it’s biggest failing. The secondary characters felt like cardboard cut outs, and the leads weren’t too much better. June had the most potential, as she actually underwent character growth. However, I felt like this growth happened really quickly and took place largely off stage. Day, on the other hand, felt entirely too perfect.

June and Day being fifteen strained credibility. He’s only fifteen and the most wanted criminal in the entire Republic? A status he seems to have gained largely through breaking and entering? June is only fifteen and is given a high ranking position in the military and sent on a mission? Oh, they’re both drop dead gorgeous too, the book’s reminds us of that frequently.

Maybe I shouldn’t be too harsh on Legend. If you’re looking for fluff, you could do worse. So I guess I would recommend this one for thus looking for a mindless but fun read. It’s the sort of thing I’d like to pick up when I’m in bed with a cold.


6 Comments Add yours

  1. The future will apparently be full of evil despots capable of conquering the world with an iron fist yet easily brought down by plucky teenagers.

    1. Even while said plucky teenagers are in the grips of intense romantic drama.

  2. aentee @ read at midnight says:

    There’s way too many books like these around, which makes it lose its appeal for me. That paragraph you had about June is hilarious, these teenagers are feared by the governments for absolutely no good reasons in books. Maybe when I’m not burnt out by dystopia I will give this one a go.

    1. I think most good dystopian novels tend to be depressing – i.e. 1984, The Handmaid’s Tale, ect. For a fun dystopian novel, my favorite’s probably Jasper Fforde’s Shades of Grey: The Road to High Saffron. It’s just so strange and has all these quirks like the manufacturing of spoons being banned.

      1. aentee @ read at midnight says:

        That sounds so fun! I’ll definitely have to check it out, thanks 🙂

      2. Always happy to recommend books!

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