Sunday, 8 January 2012
Review: Legend By Marie Lu
Set in a dystopian future, in a Los Angeles that is at war, plague-ridden and divided, Legend is told from two perspectives: that of Day, a Robin Hood-like fugitive trying to protect those he loves, and June, a Government golden girl bent on avenging her lost brother. They're both strong characters, but while Day is easy to like, June took a while to warm to. It was so obvious the Republic was evil, and yet she was on their side for much of the book, making it hard to sympathise with her. Of course, she's a privileged teen who has been brought up to believe in her Government, so it's natural for her to have that viewpoint, but then again, she's supposed to be a freaking prodigy, so it was extremely frustrating that she took so long to figure things out - and even then, she couldn't do it on her own. It was a bit unbelievable and made it hard to really get behind her.
Day, on the other hand, was the underdog from the start - and who can resist the underdog?! Not June, that's for sure. Their romance was inevitable, but perhaps because I didn't particularly like June, I didn't really feel any chemistry between them. I could see why they were a good fit for each other, but I just wasn't aching for them to get together. It was also difficult to believe that both Day and June were 15. Even taking into account all they've been through, they didn't really feel like 15-year-olds at all. I know it's YA, but I don't get why they need to be SO young - you could make the characters 18 and it wouldn't make any difference. If anything, it would make it feel slightly more authentic.
The story itself was good and fast-paced, and I was glad to see that it was quite different from The Hunger Games (the only other YA dystopian I've read), but unfortunately it was pretty predictable. On the plus side, Lu's world-building was strong, and although I would have liked a bit more detail about the history of the Republic, it did feel like a realistic (if terrifying) possibility. Lu's writing was smooth and it's a credit to her that, after just reading a book written in the present tense and not enjoying the style, I didn't even notice until I was near the end of Legend that it, too, was written in the present tense. It was so effective and fluid I didn't consciously register it or feel put off at all.
One little niggle I have to express - and it's not with Legend in particular, but with what seems to be most YA books these days - is that the story isn't contained within one book. It's not that I don't like series, because I do, but I still feel that within a series, each book should tell a complete story even if there's a larger story arc. Legend did do this to some degree, but there were a few threads left hanging that irked me a bit. If it wasn't a consistent thing across many series, it probably wouldn't have bothered me at all. As it is, it just made me roll my eyes. All in all, Legend was a good book that didn't quite blow me away.
Day is described as Caucasian/Mongolian, with white-blonde, long hair, piercing blue eyes and a beautiful face. He was tough to "cast", but I imagined him as Jamie Campbell Bower:
June is athletic, with dark hair and black-gold eyes (side note: have you ever met anyone with black eyes? I don't think I have. They seem to crop up a bit in fiction). I pictured Nina Dobrev (June totally wears a pretty white gown in the book, so I thought this pic was appropriate):
Genre: Dystopian/Young Adult
Published: December 2011, Razorbill
Get It: Book Depository