Book Review: Legend (Legend #1) by Marie Lu

Legend  - Marie Lu

A copy of this novel was provided Penguin Australia in exchange for an honest review.


Okay, wow. I had heard a lot of amazing things about Legend. I thought it sounded awesome, and I really wanted to read it. But, as with every extremely popular book, there is always the thought: will I like it as much as everyone else does? When I read the first sentences or so of Legend, I knew I was in for the long run. And by the last few sentences or so of Legend, I knew that I loved this book as much as everyone else had.


When I learned that the idea of Legend was loosely based off Les Miserables, I was very excited. Les Mis is one of my favourite stories, and I was extremely interested in how Lu translated it into a modern young adult dystopian novel. I appreciated that the similarities between the two stories weren’t overdone. The main link between the two is the ‘criminal’ (I say this because Jean Valjean only ever stole a loaf of bread and attempted to steal some silver), and the ‘officer’ (I say this because June isn’t really an officer, per se) who is intent on finding him. I think if the link between the two stories had been overdone, Legend wouldn’t be the amazing book it turned out to be.


Legend is told from two first person perspectives; Day, and June. The character voices of these two were so very distinct and clear – I always knew whose chapter I was reading. I must say that I probably preferred Day’s chapters over June’s, but that is only because I fell in love with Day as a character from the moment I was introduced to him. I loved his love and loyalty to his family; the lengths he was willing to go to, the risks he was willing to take to protect them. It felt very real and believable. I could go into a lot of depth about why Day is such an amazing character – the way he cares for people, the way he protects them. He is one of those characters that I will remember for a long time.


I had kind of a love-hate relationship with June. She was a fantastic character who was a delight to read about. But about halfway through the novel this thing happens and I couldn’t stand June for a while. I was grimacing when I was reading her chapters, and wishing it would just get back to Day already. But then the story develops, and I found myself liking her again. But the fact that Lu could make me hate this girl one moment and love her the next is pretty amazing. I normally pick one side and go with it. I rarely change once my mind has been made up; but Lu develops June’s character in such a way that you cannot help but forgive her mistakes, and let her back into your heart again.


The missing half star rating of this book relates only to a small issue that I had with Legend, and that was the descriptions of places. The descriptions of people were fantastic; June and Day and all the other characters could not be any clearer in my head; but I felt that there could have been a little more insight into what the world around these characters looked like. Lu has created such a vivid world, and I would have loved to know more about what it looked like, and the differences between the rich and poor sectors. Nonetheless, it was still easy to imagine, and draw on what descriptions were given to create a spectacular setting.


The plot of Legend was fantastic, to say the least. There were secrets, and reveals, and drama, and romance. This book has everything you could ever want to read about in roughly 300 pages. When I got to the end, all I wanted to do was keep on reading. It is no secret that I desperately want to read the next books in the series, Prodigy and Champion, and am sure that they will both be as amazing as Legend.


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