Legend by Marie Lu

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’ 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. (Goodreads)

This is another book that I feel I can’t completely do justice by giving you a quick synopsis.  So I’m doing what I love–I’m making a list of its bad ass factors.  Indulge me.

1. Convoluted History– Something has gone seriously awry in the good ‘ol USA. It’s now broken into The Republic and The Colonies.  There are these wonderful hints that The Republic (the evil powers that be) denies that these two factions were ever united.  Most tend to believe it’s only a myth. But whether they believe it or not, it something no one should ever speak of.  It’s treated as treason.

2. Class Warfare– Now, I’m not a proponent of this obviously, but it makes for some stellar tension.  In The Republic there is a stark contrast between those who live in poverty and those who do not.  Both live lives that are closely monitored by The Republic, but the poor are a part of an endless cycle of hunger and sickness, and it is interesting to see the lengths this drives them to Either you give in or you rebel, right?  In this case, when you rebel you’re a criminal.

3. Murder Mystery– Someone got stabby with Metias, older brother to June. Initially June was told that it was Day—famous evil criminal extraordinare— but Day claims innocence.  As June begins to piece together the events of that night she sees that certain details about her brother’s death have been kept from her.  The question is who would do that and why? (Oh! I know! I know! But I won’t tell).

4. Big, Bad, Evil Government– Nothing like a crazy dystopian book to make you love your country and freedom all the more.  The Republic is a force to be reckoned with. The allegiance of all its citizens—even those mistreated or overlooked by the system—is required. And the penalty for disobedience is harsh.

There is a war going on between The Republic and The Colonies. We don’t see the war itself, but we hear rumblings of it. And those who are fighting The Republic have a name—The Patriots.  As a total history fan (thank  you oh husband) I love this whole part of the story. I can’t even explain why, but the set up and the strange hints that Lu drops throughout the story are so good and have built up such anticipation in me as I wait for the rest of the story to unfold.

5. Enemies in Luurve– It’s no secret. I need love in my books. And kissing. Know the only thing better than kissing in books?  Forbidden kissing.

Oh. Yes.

The romance between June and Day comes together beautifully because despite the fact that they have every reason to hate each other (in fact, they are on opposite sides), they are somehow drawn to one another.  Day, because June gets him arrested after tricking him, resulting in the arrests of his entire family. And June because she believes that Day killed Metias.  Coming to a place where she has to admit that Day wasn’t responsible means she has to question the people and the government that she has always believed in.

My Take:

This story is so good.  Initially, I felt it was a bit like Les Miserables because of the class warfare and because of the manhunt for Day, but that is really where the similarities end.  Though it is a dystopian set under another evil regime, the story is very unique and the action is stellar.  I was totally satisfied with where the characters left off (meaning, it felt like a complete story to me) but I would also like to know more. I want to see where they go from here and I want to know more about how the US came to be The Republic and The Colonies.

Crush Intensity: 4/5 This book is pure awesomeness!  I think it would make such an awesome movie (it’s been optioned so let’s see what happens!).

The Way I See It:

So, we’ll need a time machine here but for Day all I could picture was Leonardo DiCaprio from his Romeo & Juliet days (collective sigh).  Day is tough because he’s a mix of Mongolian and Russian and he has blonde hair—but what can I say? This is where my mind went:

Oh yes

But let’s be sure…


June is much harder because there are so many pretty, dark-haired actresses out there.  I think one has the perfect element of tough girl/smart girl–but I’m open to suggestions:

Nina Dobrev

Definitely check this one out. You’ll like it!

7 thoughts on “Legend

  1. So initially I wasn’t gonna read or comment on this review – I know, meanie butt me – but then I saw a little picture of Leo pop up and I thought “Um, yes please.” This is one of those books that EVERYbody has been talking about and saying how wonderful it is… therefore making me probably the only person who hasn’t read it. And I really, really want to! I’m glad that you liked it so much and think that Day could be portrayed by R&J years Leo. I love him already.

    • Ha! You could never be a meanine! I do the same thing. If I know I probably want to read something, I avoid reviews because I don’t want to be tainted (this is serious business you know). I truly pictured Leo DiCaprio while I was reading this. That’s why I got all crazy obsessed with my R&J soundtrack and with watching the film again. This book made me think of him in all his beautiful 90’s glory and that is always a good thing.

  2. Ooh, Forbidden Kissing? Where do I sign up?

    I’ve been so anxious to read this book. I’m hoping to hunt down a copy at my library or something, just so I can read it immediately. This review! I loved the lists, I love breaking things down, so this was very cool for me. And a nice change-up from the reviews I”ve been reading lately 😉


  3. Pingback: Prodigy | YA Crush

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