Monday, November 28, 2011

Review: Legend by Marie Lu


Legend by Marie Lu

Series: Legend (#1)
Pages: 298
Publisher: Razorbill
Published: November 28th, 2011
IBSN: 9780141339412

Once known as the western coast of the United States, the Republic is now a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors, the Colonies.

Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a military prodigy. Obedient, passionate, and committed to her country, she is being groomed for success in the Republic's highest 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 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. 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 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 to which their country will go to keep its secrets.

June is the Republic's military prodigy, and Day is the Republic's most wanted criminal. His latest crime resulted in the death of June's brother, and June makes it her personal mission to track down the criminal that has eluded the military for years. They're from very opposite sides of the tracks, but on meeting, they'll discover that they aren't so different after all.

I'm a sucker for the 'good' criminal, the Robin Hood. Day's crimes consist of stealing from the rich and powerful and corrupted and giving to the needy in the slum sectors. His latest crime, and the focus of Legend, is breaking into a hospital to steal plague cures for the family he takes care of surreptitiously and thinks he's dead. Day was immediately refreshing and exciting to read about, though I would have preferred more selfless feats shown rather than retold.

I find that with action novels, a fast and thrilling plot can't manage to sustain my interest for very long since they mostly sacrifice character depth. Legend combined them both, though. Our protagonists June and Day developed and grew and it didn't take anything away from the action -- it added to it. Caring for the characters and developing an emotional investment in their well being made the plot more suspenseful and each obstacle faced more concerning.

Marie Lu's ability to heighten drama through the prose so simply was skillfull. The writing style implemented was perfect for the genre and the story. Only her first novel, and she's up there with my favourite action writers. I very was impressed in particular with how she layered the plots. Legend opened the major plot almost immediately (but not so soon as to not know and care about June's brother at all), and what promises to be the series arc took over later, but without forgetting about the former like I feel happens too often.

My sole complaint was that it had the basic plot structure of almost every other dystopia out there. An obedient girl meeting a boy that shows her that the system she's had faith in isn't what she's always believed it to be. I'm waiting for a new dystopia to blow me away. Legend  features a very good storyline, but from all of the hype I expected it to have well and truly broken the mould.

Legend was a dystopian thriller featuring likable characters that draw you quickly through the fast-paced plot. If not exceptionally unique in the dystopia aspect, it was very, very enjoyable to read.