By Marie Lu
hardcover, 305 pages
Published November 29th 2011 by Putnam Juvenile
My Review Breakdown
FINAL SCORE: 10/25
STORY/PLOT: The story for the most part was unique, save for a few parts. The one thing that is becoming a trend in the YA Dystopian genre that I've noticed, is taking an aptitude-like test to determine what you do in the future. In Legend, twelve-year-olds have to take Trials. Their score determines their placement in society for the rest of their lives. In Legend, the west coast (centered around Los Angeles) is the nation of the Republic, ruled by an Elector Primo. The rest of what was once the United States is now the Colonies, ruled by Patriots. The theme is very militaristic with a constant war being fought between the Republic and the Colonies with little information on why. There is a lot of focus on biological/chemical warfare as well. There are many side-stories woven in that I don't think ever end up having conclusions and I'm not sure where they will go or how they will end in the remainder of the series.
CHARACTERS: I can't say that there were any characters that I liked. If I had to pick one I guess it would be Day, but I couldn't really care less about June, the other main character. She was so fake to me. I wanted to feel sorry about her brother dying but I didn't. I wanted to feel empathy for her, but I couldn't. Thomas was just a creepo, and Commander Jameson was a flat out evil beotch. In my opinion the characters ruined the story.
WRITING: To me, this is the most important category; as it can honestly make or break the book. Unfortunately I think it broke the book in this case. There were metaphors and similes that I found were either cliche or just sort of unrelated to what two things were being compared. It was very simple, straightforward writing, and was easy reading which isn't a bad thing, it just wasn't engaging. Also, the writing style didn't create visuals for me. I couldn't picture any of the landscapes or characters to really bring myself into the story. I more or less just wanted it to end. The last one-quarter of the book picked up the action and brought more emotion into the story but it still wasn't enough to win me over. Also, the book is told from two points of view both in the first person. Except for the change in font, I don't think I'd have been able to tell the difference if this hadn't been the case. Each chapter bled together even though they were completely different characters.
ENDING: The ending was decent enough if not a bit predictable. There was enough action and enough of a leave-off that may intrigue readers to continue on with the series. I haven't made up my mind yet if I will read the sequel(s).
COVER: Boring but simple. Most dystopians tend to have this very simple, uncomplicated cover that represents an item in the book - like in this case it is the emblem of the Republic and has a very militaristic feel to it. My thoughts would've been to do something with Day's pendant on the cover. Maybe use actors, the actor portraying Day could be reaching for it in his sleep, and then in the forefront show June studying it - I think that would've been more intriguing than what was chosen.
Also, I am going to include with the cover section a comment on the layout of the book. I hated it. Day's narrative was in a gold font that was very rounded. It bothered me. June's was fine - except I really don't get the point of each chapter starting out with the time and the temperature? Not sure how that factor's into the story.
FINAL THOUGHTS: If you are a fan of dystopian novels I suppose it is worth a read, but I would definitely get from a friend or the library. If you are big into military type dystopians you may enjoy this book a bit more, or if you are into biological warfare as it deals with the use of lab-created viruses and plagues. I feel that there can be a lot of potential for the sequel (s), but only if it's done in the right way. Otherwise, I don't see myself picking up the rest of the books in the series in the future.