So, as is my usual way with Goodreads Deals, I tend to go in to these stories rather blind. I just started blogging this year and so my only frame of reference for Marie Lu is her new book that just came out, Warcross, which I actually bought, but haven’t read yet. But Legend came up in an e-mail from Goodreads because it was on sale for just $2.99. It has over a 4 star rating on Goodreads, which tells me that it’s probably pretty good, so I went ahead and splurged on it. This was my first experience with Marie Lu and it looks like this was her debut novel, so I guess its as good a place to start as any really.
This story is told from two different perspectives: June the “prodigy” (which is actually the name of the second book in this series) and Day the “Legend” (or at least that’s my guess). These two characters are on different sides of society and the law. June lives with her brother Metias and she is the only person in the Republic of America to score a perfect on her exam (a test that all the youth of the Republic are required to take), hence the nickname “prodigy.” As such, she was put through military school to enhance her training so that she could be the fist that the Republic strikes with. Day, on the other hand, lived in the slums but ran away from home to keep his family safe. Day is not in the Republic’s system. The Republic doesn’t know what he looks like and they don’t have his fingerprints in their system. Because he’s this big unknown, a lot of crimes get attributed to him. Many people claim that they’ve seen him, etc. He always seems to be in the news. Hence, again, totally a guess here, the name “Legend.”
Then Metias dies and his superior pulls June on to the case so that she can find her brother’s murderer (if that isn’t a major clue about how the Republic is – sending an 18 year old girl to view her brother’s dead body so that she can find who did it). Who did it? Day. At least, that’s what the Republic wants you to think and that’s how the crime scene appears. But this is where the paths of June and Day intersect. June, being the prodigy that she is, is able to not only find Day, but she ends up ♈ infiltrating his life. She ends up following him and she learns that maybe he’s not the criminal the Republic makes him out to be. But if that’s the case, then who murdered Metias? She also learns that she is not the only person who has scored a perfect exam, but Day has also. That leads her to ask, what’s the difference between the two of them? She’s a prodigy but he’s a criminal? Her belief system kind of spirals from there. ♈
The top tags under “Genres” on Goodreads mentions Young Adult, Romance (?), Fantasy, Science Fiction, Fiction, and Adventure, but curiously enough I don’t see dystopian. Is this no longer a tag? Because I would totally qualify this as dystopian. America finally went to war with itself and that resulted in the Republic, where every kid has to go in to service after school and how well you take your final test tells you what you’ll end up doing for the Republic. Only the smartest make it in to the military. Most end up at what I would call labor camps. The Republic ♈ conducts testing on the less intelligent citizens, if you’re sick you get taken away, there is a whole bunch of shady shit happening in the background and it all around just ♈ seems like a bad place to live.
So why did I only give this 3 Flames when the majority of the company I keep rated it 4 stars or above? It was just, missing something. The plot was interesting to the point where I kept turning the pages because I wanted to see what happened, but it felt very surface level to me. I wouldn’t say I was fully engaged in the story. I feel like much of what happened in this book could easily have been figured out just by reading the synopsis. Nothing in here surprised me. But it was still an interesting read. Do I want to pick up the other books in this series? Yeah. Am I going to go out right now and pay for them? Nah. I added them to my TBR list on Goodreads so hopefully they’ll e-mail me when those go on sale too. 😉