Review: Legend

Cover of "Legend," featuring a strange R symbol with a circle around it drawn in gold dust on a silver background
Image from Marie Lu

Title: Legend

Series: Legend #1

Author: Marie Lu

Genre: Dystopian

Back Cover:

What was once the western United States is now 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 are far from malicious.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths – until the day June’s brother 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 her brother’s death. But the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.


Yes, I know I’m way late to this party. And I’m kind of ashamed at myself about it. I bought Legend on summer vacation two years ago. It’s only now made it to the top of my reading pile, and that’s because I’m trying to clean out my stuff before I leave for college next month.

Day was awesome. He had some fantastic abilities which sometimes bordered on unbelievable. I could ignore that, though, because he’s exactly the kind of character I love – a good guy criminal who puts the government in fits because they can’t catch him or even figure out what he looks like.

June was pretty fun, too – she was Day’s equal, but working on the other side of the law. The story is half her perspective, so even though she’s Day’s worst enemy, I could see her upbringing and beliefs and like her equally well, for different reasons – her boldness and tenacity, as opposed to Day’s street smarts and good heart.

The plot was an engaging split between half June’s semi-political mess and military stuff, and half Day’s criminal underworld and struggle to survive. It was a great balance – June’s plot didn’t get boring, and Day’s didn’t get repetitive. There’s quite a few twists and turns, and while I can’t say I guessed any of them ahead of time, none of them really caught me by surprise, either. (Of course, I’m really good at predicting plots – you might not have that problem.)

Pretty much my only problem with this story was June and Day could be a little too perfect. Don’t get me wrong, I love characters with crazy-awesome bordering-on-impossible skills. I just like them better when they fail a couple times, just so it doesn’t feel like they’re invincible.

So what originally led me to buy this book is I read somewhere that it was heavily influenced by Les Miserables – and Les Miserables is one of my favorite classic books. Through pretty much the first half of the book, every time I sat it down I started looking for Les Mis parallels. I found some, but not as many as I expected. Which was okay, because it was an enjoyable read in its own right.

This is one of those books where I highly enjoyed the story, and I’d certainly love to read the next book, Prodigy. But I’m not a.s.a.p., buy-it-right-now excited about it. I definitely intend to read the next book – but it may have to wait until next summer.

The Legend trilogy:

  1. Legend
  2. Prodigy
  3. Champion



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