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  • Writer's pictureThe Bossy Bookworm

Review of Legend (Legend #1) by Marie Lu

In Marie Lu's young adult dystopian series starter Legend, the Republic and Colonies war with each other, a plague separates the haves from the have-nots, and young people fighting to find out the truth might just upend established, corrupt power structures for good.

In Marie Lu's young adult Legend, the first in the dystopian series of the same name, the west of the United States is a region called the Republic, and it frequently clashes and fights with its neighbors.

Fifteen-year-old loyal Republic citizen June has been groomed her whole life for a military position of leadership befitting her wealthy family and her privileged education.

Meanwhile, fifteen-year-old Day was born in a slum and is the Republic's most-wanted criminal. But he's a product of his desperate circumstances, and the noble criminal is largely misunderstood.

When the murder of June's brother pushes June and Day together, the two must fight to uncover the truth about the dark secrets the country has been keeping under wraps. (And maybe fall in loooooove!)

The bad-character/good-character split is pretty clear, with purely evil actions set against hearts of gold. The "Did you kill my brother or do I love you?"/"Did you lead to the death of my family members, or do I love you?" tension is resolved in predictable fashion, but I was in for it.

One important plot point explored in Legend is a plague--the potentially sinister way in which it may have been introduced, how its spread may be controlled by nefarious powers, and the way the affluent members of society can afford to treat and survive the illness while the poorer often die. A set of Republic trials conducted to sort young children is alluded to and feels reminiscent of Suzanne Collins's Hunger Games series.

The master plan executed at the end of the book has a few twisty moments I liked, and while the story went roughly in the direction I expected it to, this felt satisfying.

Legend touches on but doesn't fully explore potentially intriguing aspects of Lu's world--the history of the split between the Republic and Colonies; the mystery of what is occurring outside the city where Legend takes place (we know we can't trust the military's controlled, likely propagandist reports of what is occurring); the rebels' efforts; and more. I anticipate that book two in the series, Prodigy--which picks up seven days after the finish of Legend--digs into more of all of this.

I listened to Legend as an audiobook.

Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?

Check out this Bossy Greedy Reading List for Six Fantastic Dystopian and Postapocalyptic Novels I loved.

Lu is the author of multiple young adult series (Legend, Warcross, The Young Elites, and Skyhunter) as well as the stand-alone adult novel The Kingdom of Back.

Click here for my review of Lu's book Warcross.

Check out my review of her book Skyhunter, and look for my upcoming review of the second in that series, Steelstriker.


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