Review: Legend, by Marie Lu

I had such high hopes for this book. Like most of the world who finished The Hunger Games and was immediately ravenous for more, I asked my trusty search engine what was the next best thing for someone like me, eager to plunge back into the what-if world of future dystopian America. And the answer was a resounding “Legend.” So I immediately ran out and plopped down my hard-earned cash so I could devour this masterpiece.

Imagine my disappointment when I just…didn’t…care.

Legend follows two protagonists – Day and June – in a future dystopian Los Angeles. They live in the Republic, which is at constant war with The Colonies (not exactly sure where these are, but they appear to be the rest of the U.S. outside of L.A./California…seems like it wouldn’t be much of a battle, but apparently it is). The Republic is being ravaged by “the plague,” a mysterious illness that seems to only affect the poor parts of town – including Day’s family.

Day and June are both 15. Both are geniuses. Both are good looking to the point of absurdity. Both can very nearly leap tall buildings in a single bound, in spite of the fact that Day has a knee injury that prevents him from walking normally, but NOT from scaling a 10-story building from the outside in a matter of seconds.

Both are exactly. The. Same.

Except for the small fact that Day grew up in the poor parts of town and is the country’s most-wanted criminal (for crimes that are never fully disclosed, but sound like the equivalent of juvenile pranking of expensive government equipment). June grew up rich and is top of her class at the University, even though she’s several years younger than her classmates. June is promoted to active duty and assigned to hunt down Day. Predictably, they ultimately join forces (which I would precede with a “Spoiler Warning,” except that this plot “twist” is completely spoiled on the back cover of the book when it labels itself a “romantic thriller”).

Legend’s chapters rotate between Day and June’s points of view. With the exception of the different fonts/colors and the fact that they repeatedly remind us that Day is Poor and June is Rich, their voices are indistinguishable from each other.

The murder “mystery” is not all that hard to figure out, and there are some plot holes large enough to drive a truck through. And maybe it’s because I’m an adult and not a 15-year-old, but I wasn’t even kind of invested in the “love story.” Even setting aside the fact that they’re both 15 and barely know each other, the foundation of their relationship seems to be that they’re both pretty.

I could get into all the little things that irked me about the book (not the least of which was the 20-something Thomas’ creepy and stalker-ish pursuit of June), but then this review would be a book in and of itself.

The main point is that while I probably could have finished Legend in a day or two if I was invested in it, it took me nearly a month to finish this book. I kept putting it down for days at a time, then forcing myself to pick it back up, mostly because I hate leaving things unfinished. If not for that little quirk in my personality, I could have put Legend down after just a few chapters, and never thought about it ever again.

Grade: C-

Content guide: Contains violence, sometimes directed towards children, and rampant law-breaking.

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