Author: Marie Lu
Series: Legend #1
Genres: YA, Dystopia, Sci-Fi, Romance
Published: November 29, 2011
Read: January 2016
Publisher: Penguin Books
Purchase Location: The Works, London
Goodreads 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 mailicous 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'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 their country will go to keep its secrets.
Other books in the series
What a great book! From the moment I began reading I was hooked. I don't know what it is with dystopias, but they just seem to grip me and never let me go. I'm so glad I discovered this trilogy and can't wait to read the sequels.
This book has so much girl power in it! The protagonist is a young girl who is one of the smartest people of the Republic (she apparently is the only one to have achieved a perfect score in her trial - the trial has to been taken by every citizen on the day of their tenth birthday to classify their rank in society). The military has a lot of male soldiers, however the Commander that's mentioned the most is a woman, too. And an important young lady that we get to know, Kaede, plays an important part in Day's escape as she's part of the Patriots and she's one of the best street fighters. There's definitely a lot of mentioning of powerfull women!
June's character development is something that I noticed throughout the entire novel. At the beginning she appeared to be this small young child who looks up to her brother and is just bored. After Metias' death however, she seems to grow up in seconds. She wants revenge on the murderer and does everything to find Day and becomes independent real quick. The last evolution is when Day gets arrested, his mother killed by Thomas and she starts to realise that the world she lived in isn't just black and white. She suspects something's wrong from the beginning and when she finally discovers the truth (her parents weren't killed by accident and neither was Day Metias' murderer) she acts on her intuition and rescues Day. The really sad part here was that John (Day's older brother) had to sacrifice himself, I couldn't believe it (I was naive and thought that everyone would escape).
Until it became clear that Thomas killed Metias I always suspected that Metias wasn't actually dead. I thought that it could be a trick from the Commander to make June want to get revenge on Day so that she would finally find and capture him. I thought this was quite an intelligent plan and in my notes (I keep a little reading diary in order not to forget anything) I've got more than once 'I bet Metias is still alive' written down.
The only negative point I've got about the story was the beginning of June and Day's relationship. I mean I know they were bound to fall for each other (how could it be other whise), but their first kiss was way to soon. I mean, they knew each other for two days and then they just start making out? Na, I don't buy it.
Similarities to other dystopian novels
Now the book has a few similarities with other dystopian novels that I discovered. First of all the whole trial thing reminded me a lot of the Divergent series. Your test scores decide what further education you're alowed to do or which job you will take over. If you don't pass, you're an outcast. In Divergent you have to take the aptitude test to help you decide what kind of initiate you will become. If you don't pass the initiation you become faction-less. Also, June reminds me a lot of Tris because her test scores make her special, unheard of and I believe the government is a little scared of people like her. We learn that Day also achieved a perfect score and probably all the other kids who were sent to "Labor camps" as well, but because they did so, they were tested on by the government to find a solution to win the war. The other reminder of Divergent is Thomas. He appears like the Eric character of Legend to me and I really don't like him.
Next similarity is with The Hunger Games. A huge cheer erupts. But as much as I expected this, I also hear something else that surprises me. Boos. Some - many - of the people in the crowd don't have their fists in the air. A few of the louder protesters are approached by street police, cuffed, and dragged away. This quote can be found on page 186 and probably most of you Hunger Games fans will recognize the scene I'm referring to. When Katniss and Peeta are on their Victory tour and they reach District 11, the man who salutes them gets shot by the peacekeepers. Also, everytime civilians show their sympathy for the mockingjay in public they get dragged away or get killed by the peacekeepers. This is a typical way in dystopian novels to suppress rebellions and sadly a lot of people die this way.
The last similarity I want to discuss is with The Maze Runner series. The plagues that we now know have been created by the government are used to eradicate the weekest of the civilians. Especially the poor people are victimized because they don't have enough money (notes) to buy a cure and the rich volk get vaccinated every year. They experiment on people with plagues and Eden, Day's brother, is one of those who have been brought in to have a closer look on. I believe the government is looking for somehow an advanced gene or serum to help their soldiers get stronger to win the war. In The Maze Runner they're also looking for a cure and study the kids' brain in the labyrinth. The victims (f. e. Eden - Legend - and Thomas - Maze Runner -) are the key to the solution and the governments are ready to torture them to attain that key.
Wow, I actually had to force myself to stop reviewing this book any further. Anyway, I changed my reviewing style a little and would love to hear your opinion about it. I added a few book information at the top and also infos about my copy. This is the first time I added similarities to other dystopian novels and I wanted to know if I should keep this up (if I find other similarities in future books).
If you have any other opinions or just want to talk about the book please comment below! I'd LOVE to talk more about this book with you guys.