Book Review of Legend by Marie Lu

Posted October 18, 2012 by Kara in Uncategorized / 26 Comments

Publisher: Putnam Juvenile

Release Date: November 29th, 2011
Pages: 305
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian

Blurb: 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.

Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills.

Review: First of all, I need to apologize in advance for this review. I should have written this immediately upon finishing because I lost a lot of the details my brain was holding on to and that really sucks. I had a ton of things I wanted to say, but I didn’t have the time to write the review and now this is what we are left with. So…once again, I’m sorry.

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Legend started off with a bang. A really big one. The opening sentence is “My mother thinks I’m dead.” Right away I was pulled into this story of Day and his quest to heal his family from the plague. For a few chapters, I was hooked. But one thing I really found with this book was how much the pacing really fluctuated. I don’t know, I’ve read a lot of reviews and they all say how suspenseful and fast-paced this book was. But there were times when I actually felt nothing was happening. 
But all in all, I really enjoyed this book. But for me, it felt like everything in this book was “just enough.” There was “just enough” world-building. There was “just enough” character development. There was “just enough” imagery. See where I am going with this? I really wanted to give this book 4 stars but I couldn’t because I felt that in a lot of areas, this one was just mediocre. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: if you are publishing a dystopian now when every other book published is dystopian-like, it better be f*cking special. And this one was just decent.  
But my major issue was with one of the protagonists. June. Who I guess you could say was more of an antagonist for much of the book. Which was fine and I actually like when characters go through major transformations. Thing is, I HATED June so much that by the time she did make that transformation, it was too late for her to redeem herself in my eyes.  So I guess what I am saying is that I think the author went too far in her writing of June as a villain. She made her too mean and too vile to the point that I could not picture her as one of the good guys. I cannot ever like her now. There was a point when I thought, well maybe, but then she did something horrible. I put it underneath a spoiler tag in case you haven’t read it. She escaped and LEFT HER DOG BEHIND. WHAT?? After that, it was never going to happen for us. She could have arranged something with a neighbor or a friend. But she didn’t. She can suck it.  


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Normally, a book that was full of emotion and deaths and so much tragedy like this one would have me sobbing. But to be honest with you, I barely even teared up. And as someone who is extremely emotional and knows I should have cried during a couple of dramatic scenes, that is a big indicator to me that these characters weren’t written as well as they could have been. My emotions are like a dowsing rod. I liked Day very much. But Day’s family was not developed enough. So obviously I’m not gonna care about them if the author doesn’t make them focal points of the story. And they should have been. 

The other issue I had was with some of the world-building. WHERE WAS IT? I liked the ideas, but I could not picture the settings like I wanted to. Some things weren’t explained well and the writing was kind of vague and abrupt. I liked the tone and I think the author writes well but it’s a dystopian and I need details! How did the lake come to be? Explain the different districts. Explain how the Republic and the Colonies are divided. And so on and so forth. I am very big on mental pictures. If I cannot picture a setting and create it in my brain with the information I am given, something is wrong! 

Thing is, I did like this book though. I know it doesn’t sound like it, but I did. I liked the plot. I LOVED Day. I liked Tess quite a bit too. But again, I wanted more of her. I hope we get that in the next book. Legend was VERY suspenseful, aside from a few pacing issues, and it kept me turning the pages. It was a very dark book. Almost as dark as Pure by Julianna Baggott. But when all was said and done, it just kind of felt generic. Not special. Like it was missing something. I am still looking for that one dystopian novel that makes me jump up and down and lose my shit. I ALMOST found it with a few of the books I’ve read this year. But we can do better still. Someday I’ll find it.

To purchase a copy of Legend from Amazon.com and help me out in the process since I am an affiliate, click here: Legend.

26 responses to “Book Review of Legend by Marie Lu

    • I hear you. There certainly aren’t a lot of great ones but they are so damn addictive and I keep reading them. My favorite still is The Hunger Games and I don’t know if anything will ever beat that.

  1. Ooooooh my goodness gracious! Kara, you never fail to make me laugh during your reviews. They’re just that amazing. My favorite part? “if you are publishing a dystopian now when every other book published is dystopian-like, it better be f*cking special”

    Best. Ever. You’ve brightened my morning, thank you!

  2. Wonderful review, Kara! I haven’t read this one yet and I keep adding it and then taking it off my shelf since I don’t know whether or not to pick it up, but it seems at least worth a read, especially since it’s so fast-paced and quick to get through. Not to mention the sequel has been receiving some raving ARC Reviews, so hopefully that one will work out better for you. I’m curious to pick this one up now though, so thank you for such a helpful review! 🙂

    • That’s what I’m hoping too. I hope Prodigy is even better for me. I’m not in a hurry to read it, but I definitely will. I think Legend is worth reading so you can at least see what everyone raved over. It definitely is fast-paced.

  3. I actually liked this book (well, audiobook) and I find your negative review genuinely interesting. I like to see other peoples interpretations of the same book and you put it so wonderfully. I noticed that thing that made you really hate June and I have to say that was a little weird for me too.

    I do agree This book isn’t anything special in the dystopian realm, but it is a relatively clean dystopian for younger preteens who haven’t read much dystopian.

    • It’s definitely NOT a negative review. I did give it 3 stars which means I liked it. 😉 Thank you for the compliments though!

      Thank you for your thoughts on the June thing. It made me seethe with anger.

      It’s funny that you mention it being clean. And I guess it is as far as sex and profanity go, but I thought it was excessively violent. LOL.

  4. Great review! I’ve talked this one over with some friends, even though I have it and probably should read it since it’s so short and apparently fast-paced, but I just can’t bring myself to risk the heart ache of hating something that many love. Not again after Divergent, haha.

    -Megan @ Book Brats

    • I know how that is. I liked Divergent but I didn’t love it. I think the hype machine does a lot of positive things for books sometimes. I’m not so sure it would have been so universally loved if it didn’t have all the build-up behind it. I could be wrong though.

  5. I started this book a few months back, and I was so bored, that I just had to stop reading. I might give it another shot, but I find that I have way too many books to worry about one that doesn’t catch my interest. You see to be one of the few people that doesn’t rave over this book.

  6. Amy

    I liked Legend a lot. I listened to the audiobook of it which tends to make me feel the characters better. I think I get a little lost in that with audiobooks and often wonder if I would like the book as much if I had actually read it myself. (The audiobook had both a male and female reader to for when it was their respective POV’s) I totally get what you mean about June. I was able to come to like her at the end, but I still don’t love her. Day is a fantastic character and I totally love him. Awesome review chick!!

    • Maybe the audiobook WOULD have been better since there were dual characters.

      I’m okay with June but what she did at the end there was unforgivable and I will never be more than neutral with her. Love Day though.

      Thanks, Amy.

  7. Bahahha!!! Okay we’ll I freaking loved this book- but that pic of “Done with your shit” just about KILLED ME! My side HURTS from laughing so hard! I gotta go look at it again!

  8. I also liked DIVERGENT but didn’t love it, and I’ve been on the fence about LEGEND for a while. After reading this review, I don’t think I’ll rush too much.

  9. I know EXACTLY what you mean about dystopian now. Every time there’s a new “it” genre I get really picky because there’s so much crap published when they’re trying to cash in on it. Usually I just end up not reading anything in that genre, like what happened with angels/fallen angels/half-angels after TMI.

    Anyway, back to Legend. I feel like this is the first review I’ve read for it that wasn’t just glowing praise. I’m glad you touched on world-building because if it’s not good in a dystopian then what’s the point? I’m sure I’ll end up reading Legend eventually, but maybe I’ll borrow it first to see if it’s something I want to spend money on. Aaaaand long-winded comment over.

    • I’m glad! Dystopian is just a buzz word now. More than half the books that are published as dystopians aren’t actually dystopians. They are post-apocalyptic and that is sooo different.

      But you are right. It is so totally obvious to me when someone is trying to cash in on a fad. I’m not having it. Though I do think this author tried to be one of the original ones. It just did not work, unfortunately.

      World-building is of utter importance to me, especially in a dystopian. If it doesn’t make sense of explain itself perfectly, I can’t have that. I realize it could be coming in later books, but I don’t feel I got ENOUGH explanation, if that makes sense.

      Please let me know what you think of it when you do read it. And never worry about leaving me long-winded comments. I love them.

  10. It’s post-apocalyptic and even just futuristic, which is not dystopian in the least. I think some people need to go back and read The Giver. That’s what I’m doing!

    It might be a while before I get to read it. I’m just finishing up school, with no income, so I’m relying on borrowed books and gifts! Plus, I may or may not have 100+ books on my to-read shelf on goodreads.

    • It’s not. I agree. Although there are some elements of dystopia in this one. I still need to read The Giver. O_O I am a failure. LOL.

      I know about the overwhelming shelves. You should see mine. I am a hoarder and it is out of control. Good luck with school!

    • haha technically you’re not really a failure. I first read The Giver for school in eighth grade, so I technically had to. It just so happened that I ended up loving it, and read the companion novel on my own right after. Now there are two more books, so that’s why I’m starting all over. You could probably find a good deal on a package of all four, and I know at least the first three are very short, so not too time consuming.

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