Book Review 28 – Legend

9275658Legend
(Legend#1)
by Marie Lu

Reading challenge: dystopia reading challenge

Goodreads

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 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.

4 star

This is a rather short dystopian novel, which means that a lot of details and world-building are not explained in-depth, which is quite a failing in this genre. Yet the action-centred story delights nonetheless. There are enough clues that you can piece together some answers, but it’s always a pleasure to know whether you’re right or not. What we DO learn paints us a harsh world with many plagues and poor people; a militaristic, usual dictatorship type of country. I wonder though how so much of the past could get erased from the memory of the people and how they manage to control the internet so efficiently. It’s a puzzle.

The characters are interesting even though they are predictable in their reactions – I blame the general lack of depth for this failing. The book doesn’t play with your emotions like Hunger Games does, mainly because we learn about important event when they are already in the past for the characters. But our protagonists and narrators June and Day are both smart, resourceful teenagers. I sometimes have trouble picturing them as being 15-year-old. They behave as much older and wiser people at times, then they do the usual teenage stupid thing and you’re reminded of their true age again. I don’t see a romance between them going anywhere fast. Somehow they don’t seem to suit one another. There’s too much setting them apart.

I still give the book 4 stars because of the tight plot, neat writing style, and a refreshing take on YA dystopia. I hope the sequel will provide more information about the causes of the calamity that befell the world, but I appreciate the author avoiding an info-dump. I hate those. Anyone looking for a simple read and a more detective/action take on dystopia will probably enjoy it.

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