November 6, 2016

Book Review: Legend

Title: Legend
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: Penguin Group
On-Sale Date: April 16th, 2013
Length: 305 pages
Format: Paperback

June, a fifteen year-old soldier for the Republic, is tasked with apprehending the vigilante, Day, who’s charged with the murder of her brother.

But what will happen when June finds out the Republic has been hiding secrets?

And what if Day isn’t what he seems?

The first chapter didn't capture my attention but the next few captured me immediately.
Legend is told in alternating points of view. This was an ideal format because the two narrators, June and Day, were on opposing sides—June was on the side of the Republic and Day fought against it. The dual narration was valuable because they had different opinions, insights and secrets that the other wasn’t privy to. June and Day’s storylines became tightly intertwined and I wondered how they were going to respond to each other; at some point they had to decide whether the other could be trusted or not.
June had the tendency to act distant, even though she was far from heartless. Throughout the novel she was grieving and didn’t have many people to open up to. She was primarily a soldier and a sister, but she was forced to step out of those roles in Legend and become something else.  She was tasked to find her brother’s murderer, which led her away from her loyalty to the Republic.
Day was desperate and his every action put him in danger from the Republic’s retribution. My heart broke for him because he fought so hard against a world that was against him. Day had some unnamable quality that drew me in—he was honourable. I rooted for Day, because he always tried to do the right thing even with the odds stacked against him.
June and Day had a lot of similarities; they were a set of extremely intelligent, empathetic and moral individuals. They both loved intensely and it drove their actions. No matter what else was going on June and Day put their families above all else, and they had difficulties because of that. They were both planners who thought things through, but were tested when circumstances drove them into making quick decisions. They sensed when something wasn’t right and tried to do something about it. June and Day bonded because of these similarities and the traumas they both experienced. There was a lot of interpersonal discovery between June and Day because neither was who the other thought they were. They cared about, caused problems for, and challenged each other.
There were some really upsetting revelations in Legend, but overall it didn't give me plot twists that I couldn't predict. I was able to pick out when something was amiss, because Lu left breadcrumbs that I followed. There was a conspiracy that Day and June uncovered. Unfortunately they didn’t have time or opportunity to expose it in Legend.
I disliked more characters than I liked, which was a new feeling for me. Fortunately, the characters I disliked were ones that June and/or Day also didn’t like, however, I missed having more than a handful of characters to care about. Neither June nor Day were close to a great number of people and most of the relationships they had were fractured in some way. However, June and Day were alone only because of circumstance and I felt sad for them because their pain was obvious. They certainly had every reason to be distrustful, but I wanted to see them rely more on others because they would have benefited from building stronger relationships.
June and Day have a difficult path ahead of them. They fought many fights in Legend, but the battle has only just begun.

Premise: 4/5
Plot: 3/5
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5