Image and synopsis from Amazon:
“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.
Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills.”
Legend was a really great book! I had already heard great things about it so I was expecting to enjoy it, and I was not disappointed. Its also been a while since I’ve read a good dystopian book so I’m glad I picked up this one.
The story follows main characters June and Day in a futuristic United States known as the Republic. When a child is of age in the Republic, they go through their trial, which is essentially a test to see where they will be placed in society. If you do well, you are given a well-paying job and you have a nice, cushy life. If you do poorly or even fail, things don’t go quite so well. Early on, we learn that June not only passed her trial, but she got a perfect score of 1500. She is considered a prodigy and is a dedicated soldier to the Republic. Day, on the other hand, failed his trial and should have been killed but instead is now considered a criminal of the republic. Day’s family lives in one of the poorer sectors of the Republic, and we also learn that there is a plague that ravages these areas. Told through alternating points of view between June and Day, Lu creates an exciting adventure with elements of conspiracy, betrayal, friendship and romance.
Once I got over the fact that Day is only fifteen but he is the most notorious criminal in the Republic, I really enjoyed this book. I know its YA so the protagonists have to be a little younger, but fifteen just seemed a little too young to have such a well-known reputation. That being said, while Legend is certainly an exciting story, the alternating points of view really make it special. We intimately get to know June and Day as characters even before they meet. June and Day were very different characters, both in their nature and upbringing, so it was refreshing to learn about them in each chapter. June is a strong female heroine, but it took me a while to connect with her. She comes across as very cold and calculating, but I liked her more as the story went on. Her interactions with Day and her brother Metias (mostly through memories) helped me warm up to her. In contrast, Day is nothing but sweet throughout the entire story. Ironically, he is supposed to be this notorious criminal, but we quickly learn that he is only concerned with keeping his family safe.
I thought June’s character development throughout the story was excellent. June was raised as a soldier of the Republic, so I’m glad she didn’t immediately get on board with some of the ‘rebel’ ideas. She was raised by her older brother Metias, who was her only family and they loved each other very much. June’s discovery of her government’s deceit and corruption is a slow-burning realization, and her actions are very believable.
While I thoroughly enjoyed each of the main characters, Lu also created well-developed supporting characters. Even though June’s brother Metias dies very early, I mourned his death along with June. We also get to know him through June’s memories, and it was obvious that he loved June and took care of her. Tess, John and Thomas were also great characters and all added to the story in their own way.
There is some romance in this story, but I was very happy to see that the romance does not dominate the story. Yes, June and Day are attracted to each other, but I did not feel as if their moments took away from the greater story. They have the beginnings of a relationship and I found it very sweet!
There were some familiar YA tropes in Legend, such as the corrupted government and prodigy children but I didn’t really mind these because the story was still engaging. I overall thoroughly enjoyed Legend. While it had a great plot and world-building, the most unique aspect of this book was the alternating point of view between June and Day! I would definitely recommend and I will be starting Prodigy and Champion soon 🙂