“Legend” by Marie Lu is the beginning of a dystopia trilogy set in the United States. The country has split in half, and The Republic governs the west. The story follows two teenagers: a criminal and the child of a wealthy family.
Note: this review will contain major plot spoilers and scenes that are unsuitable of younger audiences. Reader discretion is advised.
The government of the Republic is attempting to find an elusive criminal named Day. Day, as far as his family members (aside from his brother) know, is dead. Day is traveling around with his friend Tess, an orphan with great healing skills.
While spying on his family, Day learns that one of his family members is infected with a disease, and he breaks into a hospital to steal medicine. He manages to do so, but not without being confronted by a guard. Day stabs the guard in the shoulder and escapes. The next morning, the guard is found dead. His younger sister, June, is sent to hunt down Day. She comes from a rich family that is friendly with the Republic. June accidentally ends up in a fighting ring and beats up a member of the Patriots, a resistance group that is locked in combat with the Republic. June is later attacked by a group in an alley. Day and Tess save her. June and Day fall in love, but June comes to realize that Day is who she has been hunting, and returns to her home to report his identity to the republic. June finds her brother’s computer and learns that his murder is not what it seems. He believed that the Republic planned to kill him. June realizes Day is innocent and that the Republic is corrupt and the government officials are evil.
A military official goes to Day’s house and threatens to shoot his mother unless he reveals himself. Day does, but his mother is killed anyways. Day and his brother John are arrested and sentenced to death. June, enlightened to the evils of the Republic, decides to help save Day. She convinces the Patriots to save Day. The Day of the execution, the Patriots rescue Day. John, however, is executed. June and Day are aided by the Patriots, and the pair get on a train to travel to the east – the Colonies.
The plot was decent. I personally was not a fan of the predictability and lack of complexity. The death of Day’s family members didn’t really have much of a purpose other than to fuel June’s hatred against the Republic, which was unnecessary once she found out that they had killed her brother.
The characterization in this book was good. The three main characters had a decent amount of depth. June and Day’s love interest likely conflicts with Tess later in the series. My guess is that Tess will have been secretly in love with Day, creating a love triangle and forcing Day to chose between the two.
I would rate this book, overall, a 3.5. I was not a huge fan of this book, but it did have a few excellent scenes. For me, personally, it was little more than an average dystopia book. I will give this book an age rating of 12+ due to several violent scenes and occasional light swearing.