Patrick Briotte- Staff Writer
Their paths were never meant to intersect. One is fifteen year old June Iparis, born into wealth and a prodigy from an elite family who is groomed for success in the highest military circles of the Republic. The other is Day, a boy who was born in the slums. Despite being the same age as June, Day has risen to be the most wanted criminal in the country. These two very different youths would have never met until fate intervened in the form of a death in the family. June’s brother Metias has been murdered, making her the prime suspect in the investigation. Tension rises as both teens realize it is them against the world. Day works to save his family while June is driven by the need to avenge Metias.
“Legend” by Marie Lu presents us with a classic narrative of teens against the world, but with the strength of what drives average or even exceptional people to the absolute breaking point. This world, set in the post-apocalyptic western United States, particularly Los Angeles. This gives readers both a sense of familiarity and fascination as landmarks or cities that readers can recognize from in their own lives have been warped and shifted to the point of nearly being unrecognizable. (indent)
The threat facing our protagonists is one that has a very real sense of capability. The people after them are not incompetent or useless, but cunning and have been working behind the scenes of this new society for a very long time. Another aspect of the storytelling that keeps the interest of the reader is the alternating perspectives that shift with each chapter. What results is the situation constantly being observed through the eyes of two different people. This helps break up any chance of building monotony, as a reader can be invested in seeing how Day will react to a certain story element in comparison to June will react. (indent)
The two protagonists we follow over the course of the book have a very enjoyable chemistry when they interact due to their characterization. June is an elite student from Drake University and was the Republic’s golden child of success, while Day is a criminal wanted for theft and embarassing the enforcers sent after him. Each interaction is laced with layers of wit and humor but also a rising sense of urgency. (indent)
Even though both teens know they have not met under the most ideal of circumstances, it is fully recognized that finding a common ground for cooperation is essential. This is done even when small nuances such as behavior from their respective backgrounds occasionally mystifies the other. This helps add a small amount of humor to each situation that calls for it, but never enough to feel jarring or out of place in the world that has been presented to the reader. It is a race against impossible odds as these two unlikely companions must find out what secrets have remained hidden from the world by a group willing to do anything to keep them.
An action-packed mystery with excellent pacing, “Legend” is something engaging for readers looking for something new to enjoy. The world that has been set up is easy to comprehend, but also filled with clues and small story details that become important in later chapters. No detail, be it small or large, feels wasted or like simple filler. Each story element has a purpose and is properly explored in context to what is happening in the appropriate chapter. Everything has its place. The mysteries presented in the book all provide the reader with the same means for coming up with a solution at the same rate as the main characters, but only if they are paid attention to. This is a story that encourages critical thinking, respecting the intelligence of anyone who is willing to think hard on the evidence presented to them.
“Legend” by Marie Lu is a highly engaging story for any reader craving a fresh adventure that adds new and exciting elements to the post-apocalyptic genre. The plot finds a balance between moving quickly
enough to avoid feeling as though events are too spread out, but quickly enough to keep a good pace for the action. Clever writing, well developed characters, and a story that is greater than the sum of it is parts makes this a wonderful entry point into the “Legend” book series.