Saturday, October 1, 2011
by Marie Lu
Publication date: Nov 29, 2011
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. (description from Amazon.com)
This book got a lot of buzz even before I went to BEA this year. I was stoked to pick up a copy and am so glad I finally got to fit it into my reading schedule! In the sea of dystopias that are now flooding the YA market, Legend is a very strong contender.
While I wasn't sold on the alternating viewpoint chapters at first, after about five I was hooked. Not only are both June and Day fascinating characters, but through their eyes you get to see both sides of a very distrustful and controlling government. The Republic is mostly made up of California and the western coast area of the United States. It is at war with the "Colonies," which seems to be the eastern part of the US. Those who pass the test that all ten year olds have to take, are given an education, training, and good jobs. Those that fail...while they are sent off to "work camps."
Day was one such test failure. Born to a slum, he failed his test, was experimented on, then he escapes to become a master "Robin Hood" style criminal. He scrounges and helps where he can becoming a local hero. When his path crosses with the prodigy and darling of the Republic, June, life gets a whole lot more dangerous...and interesting.
Their characters not only fascinate readers, but seem to enthrall each other. It's not one of those mushy love-at-first sight things though, but an acknowledgment of how much they challenge each other. Each discovers totally new things about themselves and their lives through their experiences with the other. I, for one, am very excited to see what happens in their future fight against the corrupt government!
Full disclosure: ARC from BEA 2011