Yep, this is yet another YA dystopian. But I wager it’s one of the best…..ever.
Series: Legend Trilogy; Book 1
Author: Marie Lu
Genre: Dystopian/Science Fiction
Audience: Teen/Young Adult
ROTS Setting: CU, Modern/Near-Future, Dystopian
Synopsis: 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.
Recommendation: I would recommended this book for teens, and lovers of dystopians.
We’ll start out with the characters. The usual characters for this genre are either OP all the time and/or emo all the time. They either lack depth or they’re like starring into a bottomless pit……no much in between. Here we’ve got OP characters that are supposed to be super good as a part of their design, but neither are overly emotional. Emotion isn’t their primary motivation all the time. This gives us super competent characters with some depth and texture.
Day, worse street name ever, is a 15 yr old kid who managed to survive some nefarious stuff. He doesn’t want to endanger his family so he lives on the streets. There he becomes the Republic’s most wanted criminal.
June, child prodigy, is also 15 yrs old but has grown up amongst the upper class of Republic society. She goes to the best schools and is fast tracked to a prestigious career.
There are many opposites and similarities between these two characters, but they have a realistic quality to them. Yes, they’re still OP but that’s actually a plot point.
The world building is also one of the best I’ve seen for the genre. It feels like there was an effort to look at the broader world, not just one little part of it, even if we never see or get any info on it. Sounds contradictory but the author pulled it off. The society feels sustainable while also feeling like it formed organically. Nothing too extreme while also draw on similarities with countries in real life. I never felt bogged down trying to learn the world so the story has context.
All that said doesn’t mean there weren’t problems or issues inherent to YA dystopians. Fans tend to ignore those anyway, but even those congenital problems were very minor in this book.
When it came to plot, I was pleasantly surprised at every turn. The plot is simple but also extremely well done. It factors in everything, every step of the way. The pacing is spot on (conclusion dragged a tiny bit because it’s setting up for the sequel), and nothing felt impossible or too convenient. It was a pleasure to read every step of the way.
In summary, it’s one of the best YA dystopians I’ve ever read and possibly one of the best ever. It balanced everything perfectly and my biggest issues are with a few of the details. I’ll definitely be finishing this trilogy!