Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Review of Legend by Marie Lu

Putnam Juvenile
by Marie Lu
4 Stars

June’s Republican roots go deep, before their deaths, June’s parents were scientists for the Republic of America, and she and her older brother Metias are soldiers proud to serve against the Republic’s main enemy, The Colonies. But when tragedy strikes, June swears revenge, and Day, a gifted street-kid turned most-wanted criminal is at the top of her list—bad news for Day, since June is a prodigy, having earned a perfect score on the Republic’s Trials, and June intends to use every last one of her superior skills to find Day and get some payback. Yet June doesn’t realize that Day didn’t earn his notoriety for being stupid, and she certainly doesn’t figure catching him might be the hardest thing she has ever tried to accomplish.

Probably the most refreshing and perhaps the most disturbing aspect of this novel is June’s character. June is a perfect example of what propaganda and privilege can accomplish when used as a weapon. June feels a sense of entitlement and possesses a hardened nature at the start of the novel which is disturbing and unusual in a protagonist. She turns a blind eye to prisoners of war as they are brutally tortured in front of her and by her brother’s best friend. She clearly believes there has never been a United States, and while half of her country suffers in poverty and with a constant fear of the deadly plague, she shrugs it off, figuring this is of no concern to her since she’s been vaccinated. In fact, a more ruthless and despicable protagonist is hard to imagine. Yet her character changes, and not because she spends time on the streets sympathizing with the commoners; June only begins to change when she discovers evidence that her beloved Republic has been keeping secrets. Less impressive is Day’s character; he is far too forgiving and kind in my opinion, given his circumstances. And while the post-natural-disaster-science-fiction premise is lurking around every corner nowadays, Lu’s work has solid plotting, teeth-grinding action and plenty of intrigue to keep this novel plowing all the way to its fiery conclusion. This action, coupled with unique characters, will have readers excited to read Prodigy, book two in the Legend trilogy, out January 29 of 2013.  

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