Thursday, April 12, 2012

Review: Legend - Marie Lu

Legend by Marie Lu
Series: Legend #1
Genre: YA, dystopian, action, futuristic
Published on November 29, 2011
Published by Putnam
Pages: 305
Read From: 3.23.12 - 3.24.12

Once known as the western coast of the United States, the Republic is now a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors, the Colonies. 
Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a military prodigy. Obedient, passionate, and committed to her country, she is being groomed for success in the Republic's highest circles. 
Born into the slums of the Republic's Lake Sector, 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 bother, Metias, is murdered, and Day becomes the prime suspect. Now, caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June tries desperately 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 to which their country will go to keep its secrets.


I was not impressed with this particular dystopian story. I don't know why dystopian Authors think that they have to write their stories in present-tense, and while I was able to tolerate it in The Hunger Games, I couldn't stand it in Legend. It was too movie-ish, and was employed as an excuse for short, incomplete sentences. Also, the Author's descriptions were way over-the-top detailed. As the story went on, I realized that the Author was using the majority of her random and unimportant descriptions to illustrate the fact that June notices details, but the manner in which she did it felt hurried, random, and they were always placed in sudden parentheses right in the middle of a sentence. Now, I am all for the parenthesis method. I myself employ the parenthesis to have a character add an afterthought right in the middle of a description or whatnot. But, in using the parenthesis, an Author must be careful with it, and the Author must not allow the sentence in the parenthesis to be so long that the Reader forgets the character's original point. I cannot say that the Author was successful in Legend. And if the Author wished to illustrate June's ability to notice details, she ought to have found a better way of doing it.

As far as characters go, June was okay. Her constant sassing of her superiors was, to say the least, absurd. I am sorry, but in the military - especially a totalitarian state military - no soldier, not even a top student, could get by with sassing his/her superiors. It just doesn't happen; not without consequences. However, once June's brother dies, June's attitude levels out as she concentrates on tracking down his killer, and the Author manages to not make her into a macho-chick. The street-fighting match between June and Kaeda was semi-believable because of June's military training and the fact that Kaeda was another girl, and not some muscleman that June simply would not, realistically, be able to beat.

Day, on the other hand, just reminded me of hair grease, gold rings, and a really annoying smile. Perhaps it was his name. Perhaps it was the fact that he, the hero, actually took time to tell the Reader what he was wearing, and even described his outfit - yes, outfit - as being pretty snazzy. Okay, he didn't use the word snazzy, but he came mighty close to it. I am sorry, but if you want the Reader to retain any amount of respect for the hero, and to imagine him as some tough guy who has an unrealistic knack for resisting the effects of concussions and retain only a few cracked ribs after hitting cement from a three-story jump, you do not have him take a minute or two to describe his clothes! It takes all of the toughness out of him. I admired him for caring for his family so much, but that's about it. And when romance blossoms between him and June (sorry if I'm spoiling anything, but if you didn't predict that, then clearly you haven't read enough books), he just gets all the more annoying.

And how believable was this particular totalitarian regime? Well, it was a bit more believable than the Capitol in The Hunger Games. Police busted down doors on a regular basis, arrested people, and even shot them. And the interrogation scenes, while not graphic, are brutal and properly vicious for a totalitarian government. Such occurrences were mentioned by the characters in The Hunger Games, but the Reader never "saw" it actually happen until the second half of Catching Fire. But yet again, there was a painfully obvious lack of secret police, which comes with all totalitarian governments. To keep a tight grip on people, you need to be constantly monitoring them.

The story, as a whole, was interesting enough, but predictable. If you start suspecting that there is something funny about the random plague outbreaks - well, I'm sorry to inform you that yes, it's that obvious of a "twist." The end offered a few occurrences that were surprising, and of course it concludes with the promise of a sequel. I have hopes that maybe the sequel will be better; this is a series that is not a total loss. Even so, I found enough faults with this one to not put it on my top ten list.

Others in This Trilogy:

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