Legend by Marie Lu
This dystopian fantasy is set in what used to be the western United States and now is The Republic. The rising waters have caused issues with power, large slums, and lawlessness. June is the only person to ever get a perfect score in the Trials, marking her as a prodigy. She lives a live of luxury with her older brother, who has raised her after her parents’ accidental deaths. Trained as a soldier, she is about to claim her destiny as the ideal warrior. Day is the most wanted criminal in The Republic. From the slums, he has managed several amazing feats of defiance but worries most about his family and the plague that is in their neighborhood. The two of them would never have met, but then June’s brother is killed and it looks like Day is the culprit.
Lu takes the dystopian genre and weaves a story that both hearkens back to the heart of the genre yet creates something new and amazing. The setting of a decaying United States at war with itself is slowly revealed through the story. The results of that war are shown rather than told in details that bring the entire world to life. From the luxury of June’s life through the squalor and danger of the slums, the setting is a pivotal piece of the tale.
The two compelling main characters add the action, the style and even the romance to this book. June is trained to be a lethal weapon, yet she questions orders and thinks deeply about the ramifications of what she is doing. Day is a dystopian Robin Hood with plenty of moxie and appeal. Both of them wonder at their world, the truth of The Republic. They also both see themselves as people who are able to make a difference.
The writing here is crisp and clean. The story is vibrant, fast moving, and stellar. This is one outstanding dystopian fantasy. It is sure to appeal to fans of The Hunger Games and will leave many fans eager for the next book in the series. Appropriate for ages 14-16.
Reviewed from ARC received from Penguin.
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