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THUMBS UP! to LEGEND by Marie Lu

TITLE: Legend

AUTHOR: Marie Lu

LENGTH: 336 pages

PUBLISHER: Putnam Juvenile

SUMMARY: (via legendtheseries.com) The flooded coast of former Los Angeles. Two warring nations of North America—the Republic and the Colonies.

Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen
-year-old June is a prodigy. Obedient, passionate, and committed to her country, she is being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles.

Born into the slums of the Republic’s Lake Sector, fifteen-year-old Day is the
country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious
as they seem.

From different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the
day June’s brother is murdered. And Day becomes the prime suspect. Now,
caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s
survival while June tries desperately to avenge her brother’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 in order to keep
its secrets.

REVIEW: With so many dystopian novels flooding the YA market today, I was a little hesitant to start Legend. I was hearing buzz about it but I didn’t know if it was “bandwagon buzz” due to the popularity of the genre or sincere praise for the book itself.

I am so glad I took the chance. Lu’s story lives up to the hype. She has crafted a well-paced story that jumps right into the action. There is little exposition and the reader is left to play catch-up as June and Day encounter their separate obstacles. The dueling narration keeps readers engaged and turning pages to find out what happens next.

The other refreshing thing about this book is the LACK of a love triangle. In fact, it’s unclear whether June and Day are really attracted to one another or if they are merely playing one another to gain the advantage. Even with the inclusion of Thomas, it is clear that June doesn’t care for him, and is even a little sickened by his robotic ability to follow orders.

It was so refreshing to see another strong female character. I was worried that Katniss and Tris would be a lonesome duo, but June is here to complete the trio. She is strong and confident in her abilities. And even dealing with the possibly overwhelming emotions surrounding her brother’s death, she remains sure of herself and her abilities. She never questions her ability to deal with her situation and works very logically through all the situations in which she finds herself.

The world that Lu has created is believable and intriguing. I wanted a map. I wanted to know exactly where the Republic ended and the Colonies started. I wanted to know the structure of the rest of the world in relation to this fractured American future. And most of all, I want to see how June and Day’s story will play out. For the first time in a long while, I am excited that this book is a series. I’ve felt like series books have become the norm whether separate parts are legitimately needed but with Legend, I see the reason for the structure and I’m anxious to watch it unfold.

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