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Thursday, October 20, 2011


Legend by Marie Lu

Grade: 4.5 stars out of 5

Legend by Marie Lu has gotten huge advance buzz way before its release date. It was the hottest YA book for a week or two, but then the buzz died off. After finishing the book, I’m happy and sad at the same time. Happy because Legend deserves the buzz (and the film deal). Sad because most of that buzz has faded away right before its release date.

The first thing I noticed about Legend was its presentation. The novel alternates between two narrators; the chapters alternate between two different fonts and colors. (Gold for Day and black for June.) It is awesome-sauce with a side of stunning! Kudos to whoever came up with the idea because it pops out immediately with its creativeness.

UK/Aussie cover--it is
After finishing Isle of Night, I picked up Legend. I was apparently bloodthirsty that week. Legend while not as gory as Isle of Night, is no stranger to death and violence.
 "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." [from Amazon]
June and Day as drawn by Marie Lu;
more artwork
Legend, for me at least, reminded me a bit of Robin Hood and some of Aladdin. While Day doesn’t steal from the rich to give to the poor, he became a legend to the citizens as the one who stands up against corrupt government and military. He never kills; not even the enemies who want to kill him. He’s skilled, resourceful, and intelligent. And a big flirt. There is one question that lingers in my mind. When June read a profile on Day, his main ethnicity was Mongolian. So why does he then have blond hair and blue eyes? As far as I know, the darker phenotypes are more dominant than the lighter ones. I could be wrong and maybe it didn't say that at all about him being Mongolian.

On the opposite hand, there’s June. In terms of socioeconomic status, she’s far ahead of Day. She’s a legend of her own, being the only person known to have gotten a perfect score on her exam.

Separated, they’re both dangerous. Together, they’re a deadly combination.

Lu has created this perfect balance of the rich and the poor, of two misfortune teens struggling to keep their own worlds together while exploring this new world they just discovered. And with them is this group of characters who play key roles in the novel. While many are not the most likeable, there’s something memorable about them. Isn’t that the best thing an author can write? A character that’s sturdy even in the time of the YA boom.

Marie Lu’s writing style in particular made me fall head over heels. I love that she writes details to appearances, to fight scenes, to the scenario, and so forth without creating this massive block of words. It’s subtle. If I close my eyes, I can almost imagine how Day, June, their companions and families, the villains, all look like. Lu’s words gravitate out of the pages, into my mind, then twirl and dance and shape until this picture forms.

What weren’t subtle were the punches of surprises that Legend had. I know that there have been reviews where they felt it was predictable, and I have to agree…just not completely. There is one scene in the Legend that I’m sure they wanted to make readers gasp, but it’s been done before and expected. But there were still scenes with plot twist that I was not expecting. Lu manages to pull in external problems—corrupt governments and officials—and internal problems—greed and selfishness. There’s a lot packed in Legend, but it never becomes overburdened.

Legend by Maria Lu was the perfect balance of romance, action, with something dark in the shadow. Exhilarating! Addicting! Just gorgeous!

On a completely irrelevant note, I think someone can write a paper about nature vs. nurture with Day. Gah, too many psychology classes for me.

Source: unsolicited ARC from Putnam
Cover B+
it stands out because it's different and simplistic
Published: 29, November 2011; hardcover


  1. This is on my to read list, can't wait to get it!! Great review :)

  2. I'm in love with this book! Glad you loved it too ;) Great review. And that's an awesome cover, so much cooler than ours :(

  3. This is in my TBR pile, but your review makes me want to move it to the top! You're right that the buzz died down a lot-maybe it will get hyped up again before it's release?

  4. Well, I really hope the buzz picks back up because I definitely want to read this one. I've been following the early buzz and I honestly haven't seen a negative review for it yet.


  5. This sounds good! Thanks for linking it at Cym's Wednesday Review Party.

  6. This review makes this book go on the list for Not-So-Bebe-Girl Autumn's Christmas book box! Thanks so much!

    (came over from Cym's)

  7. I've seen this around a lot. I feel bad because I'm a little turned off by the cover. But I'll definitely have to check this out and add it to my tbr list. I hate when there is crazy buzz over a book for a while before their release date and then it dies down before the book is even out. It's very sad, indeed.

    Thanks for the honest review.