Legend by Marie Lu, Reviewed by Brandon Wood

Legend by Marie Lu

Brandon Wood – 10/19/13 – 5th p.

From Goodreads.com:

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 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. 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.

 

Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills.

 

Imagine finding out that your only true friend and surviving family member has been murdered by the most wanted criminal in the Republic. This is how June, the wealthy prodigy of the country, feels in Marie Lu’s novel Legend, the first in a series that deals with revenge and secrets of a tightly ran Republic. On the other side of the city, Day, the wild fugitive and recent murderer, is running out of time to save his family. June and Day are now sworn enemies, and Day doesn’t even know it. This novel was great all around, but my favorite components had to have been the amusing setting, unique tone, and personal layout of the whole book.

The amusing setting of Legend was the first thing that piqued my interest in the novel. I haven’t read many dystopian novels, so whenever I read one, the setting always leaves me intrigued. I find it very impressive how the authors can make these societies’ ways so believable and realistic, not just something made up. For instance, when the two protagonists speak about the different sectors in the city, it seems like it’s real. The currency system (the use of notes instead of dollars) also seems like it could easily happen in our own country. Even the Trial process every ten year old living in the Republic goes through seems like it could be practiced here. Dystopian settings are very complex, and that is why I loved the setting of Legend so much.

The second thing I enjoyed about the novel was the unique tone dispersed throughout it. Legend, while very interesting and full of suspense, did have a somewhat sad tone. After all, June’ brother Metias did die and Day is the one to blame. Plus, Day’s brother is suffering from the plaque, which is also pretty depressing. With that being said, I think Marie Lu did a good job blending these two components. Even though there were several bad things that were happening throughout the novel, she was able to turn those into interesting motives for what June and Day did, like June trying to kill Day and Day killing Metias to help his family.

The personal layout of Legend was the third thing I enjoyed about the novel. The book is set up like a dual journal. It stays in the first person, but switches between June and Day’s voice. Whenever one of them start speaking, it signifies it by their name followed by the time and location. To me, when authors do this, it makes me feel a more personal connection to the novel. I feel like I am reading a journal instead of just a book. The choice to set up the book like this was very clever. I don’t think I would have liked it as well if it was from the point of view of just from one of the characters. I think these choices that the author made were smart, and it was one of the reasons why this book appealed to me so much.

To sum it all up, I enjoyed this novel very well and plan on reading the rest of the series. The amusing setting, unique tone, and personal layout in the novel were the components that made me feel this way. After the sweet ending, I really want to read more. Day and June are both inspiring characters due to their motivation and drive to meet their goals. I recommend this book to reads who enjoy a fast-paced story with a personal touch. Marie Lu has definitely created a winner with her dystopian novel Legend.

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2 responses

  1. Your first sentence really grabs my attention – the use of the word “imagine” immediately pulls me in because it asks me to engage with your review rather than just read it. The thesis lays out the three things you talk about in your review, so good job there. However, I am not sure whether “amusing” is the right word to describe the setting. When I read amusing I think of something being funny or comical, but this is a dystopian novel so to describe it as “amusing” somewhat contradicts that. You explain how the setting seems real so maybe use the word “realistic.” I think you could definitely add in a quote to support your review after the sentence that reads, “For instance, when the two protagonists speak about the different sectors in the city, it seems like it’s real.” Give us the lines that makes the sectors seem real. I love the way you discuss the layout of the story. You describe exactly how the novel is set up so that I get a visual of the two opposing journal entries. The fact that you felt that strong personal connection because of the lay out is awesome and shows that you truly engaged with the story and noticed the effects of the writing. The concluding recommendation is worded so elegantly: “a -fast-paced story with a personal touch-.” I love the way that sounds and it makes me want to read the story. Re-read your last paragraph because it has a few grammatical and spelling errors, but other than that, fantastic job!

    1. Thanks, Britt, for responding to another one of my book reviews. I appreciate your feedback and always try to use the tips you give me. I agree with the word “amusing” not being the appropriate word choice to describe the setting. After rereading my essay, I do see that it does not make sense. I would like to thank you for pointing this out. I also agree with your statement about the need for a quote. This is something I noticed after rereading the essay. I have asked you before how to add details, and you responded on another essay, so I will take those tips and use them when constructing another essay. I will also pay more attention to grammatical and spelling issues in my next essay.

      Thanks,
      Brandon

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