Series: Legend #1
Published by Putnam Juvenile on November 29th 2011
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
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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.
I’m a dystopian book fanatic. I collect them like the Cookie Monster collects his cookies. So when I first heard of Legend earlier this year I knew I had to get a hold of it ASAP. And I wasn’t entirely disappointed because Legend features a strong, kick-ass heroine, a disturbing future world, multi-cultural characters, and tons of action.
Legend tells the story of a two remarkable 15-year-olds, Day and June, living on West cost of the United States now known as The Republic. This book instantly reminded me of Aladdin because Day is from a very poor area of The Republic and steals from the rich to help out his family and community. June on the other hand, has grown up in one of the wealthiest areas and has everything she could ask for and a secure future. Their paths suddenly cross after June’s brother is murdered during a hospital break-in attempt by Day. The Republic’s military uses June’s thirst for revenge and has her track Day and bring him to justice. However, June soon finds out her safe world has not been what it appeared to be at all.
I loved all the characters in Legend. I felt they were well-developed and very likable. Even June’s brother, Metais, who dies very early in the story, was likable. Both protagonists were strong and resourceful, though, at times, a little too resourceful. I enjoyed the alternate POVs allowing the reader to get a chance to really understand the backgrounds of both characters. But there were times when I got a little irritated with June for not being able to see the bigger picture of the evils of the Republic. She just seemed entirely too loyal for her to be portrayed as a rule breaker in the beginning. Contrastingly, I really liked Day, who struggles to provide for his family throughout the novel. There were a few scenes that managed to pull at my heartstrings.
However, I did have a few issues with the world building. We are led to believe the rest of the US are considered the Rebels and a few natural disasters destroyed most of the East coast. There isn’t any real mention of what the outside world is doing either. I know it may seem like I’m nitpicking, but hear me out. If the US were to suffer that bad of a natural disaster, resulting in the crumbling of our government and the extinction of the dollar bill, this would have a huge negative effect of the world’s economy. You cannot expect me to believe the rest of the world is “chillin'” while the US is under a civil war. Where is the United Nations? What side of the war are our ally countries on? For this book to be so focused on military and civil war, I expected to have these answers. Sadly, I did not and for that this book felt a little incomplete.
I also had trouble with Day and June being so…unstoppable. Yes, let’s use that term. Day breaking into a hospital guarded by armed and trained gun men with just a disguise and two knives? When the soldiers open fire on him only one bullet manages to graze him? Whoever trained these soldiers needs to send them straight back to the boot camp they came from. This is one of those situations where you have to just let all sense of logic float out the window if you are to remotely enjoy the novel. And for June to be so smart I’m not sure how she never guessed the Republic’s true intentions from the start. Even when the evidence was sitting there screaming, “Look at me! Look at me!” she just…looked the other way. It was very obvious.
And of course, my biggest pet peeve was the semi-insta-love between June and Day. I say semi because it wasn’t like they met and they were instantly proclaiming their love for one another. It was more of I just didn’t believe their romance had enough time to become anything, let alone love. I would have preferred if the romance was left out completely in this book and instead introduced in the second. You know, because usually you become friends before lovers.
Despite those issues I was still able to enjoy the book and I’m looking forward to the sequel. My only hope is that the world building is tightened up a bit and possibly a map is thrown in.