Friday, 21 November 2014

Review | Legend by Marie Lu

by Marie Lu

My Rating: 

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.

If you'd like to see my review with spoilers, you can find it on Goodreads here!

I'd be a liar if I said I didn't step into Legend with high expectations, but I was hugely disappointed. As far as I could tell from the blurb Legend had a very interesting premise, particularly as it was claiming to be a modern interpretation of Victor Hugo Les Miserables. However, the only similarity between the two novels is that there is someone of authority in pursuit of a criminal, and if that makes Legend a Les Mis retelling then so is every other novel which uses two such characters. That sure is a lot of retellings.

Unlike the characters in Les Mis, June and Day are flat. They can do everything; they are intelligent, quick, strong and talented and it's simply unbelievable. Throughout the novel they were far too similar to one another in terms of character. In other words, they are pretty much the same person with different genitalia. I like depth and conflict in characters, and for me June and Day have neither.

The romance between the two protagonists was far too quick and forced. Let's be honest for a minute here: this is the start of a YA dystopian trilogy with one male protagonist and one female protagonist, of course they're going to fall in love. I would have been pleasantly surprised if Lu had simply developed a friendship between the two of them and the romance for later in the trilogy. They barely knew another; it was a severe case of instalove.

The relationship I enjoyed most was that of June and her doomed brother Metias. They had a closeness which was lovely to read, and I think Metias may have been my favourite character in the novel. There was something honourable, admirable and rather gentle about him, so I very much enjoyed his role within the story. It says something, then, if my favourite character was the one who was killed in one of the very early chapters.

Overall there wasn't enough character building in the novel for me - I found none of them, aside from Metias, particularly memorable - but I also felt a lack of world building, which is a shame because some of the aspects of the futuristic world Lu created intrigued me, but instead Lu seemed to ghost over all of the details.

In fact what Legend is lacking in plot and character development it seems to make up for in descriptions of what every single character is wearing - including the ones who don't matter! I love a good outfit just as much as the next person, but I'd rather read about what a character is doing than what they're wearing. Give me a scenario and I can probably picture an outfit for them myself! Unless a particular aspect of an outfit is going to be important later then I don't need to know what every single person is wearing all the time.

All in all I think it's fairly obvious that Legend is certainly not a novel I'm particularly fond of, and I doubt that I'll read the rest of the trilogy. If I don't care about the main characters in the first book then I'm not likely to care what happens to them throughout the other two books either. In terms of YA dystopia this was a disappointment for me but, despite my criticism of it, it would make a good read for readers out there who enjoy fast-paced, quick reads who are perhaps only just starting out in the dystopian genre.

As for my copy, I think it's going to find a new home either in a charity shop or in a library.

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