Book Review: Legend by Marie Lu

3 Jan

This book has convinced me to forever steer clear of YA lit. Apologies in advance for this less review, more rant style of book review. :\

If you’ve read Divergent, Matched, or The Host, this book has the same plot and the same characters. Brainwashed girl under thumb of oppressive government falls for rebellious boy who cheats the system. It’s just another dystopian fantasy novel without half the setting or character development of the aforementioned, The Hunger Games, etc.

Everything about Legend is underdeveloped. I was reading the Acknowledgements (yeah, I know, I read the acknowledgements) and Marie Lu mentioned that she took the name of the “evil dictator” from a friend. That stopped me in my acknowledgement-perusing tracks. Hold up! “Evil dictator”?!?! The book only mentioned Elector Primo like, three times. The futuristic world that Day and June live in is divided into sectors, with the main hub thingamajig (Legend’s version of Hunger Games’ Capitol) fighting the Patriots of the Colonies. The plague that supposedly endangers the poor sectors seems neither widespread nor particularly dangerous. Many characters are introduced briefly only to fade into the background, never to be heard from again. The whole book feels like an overdrawn preface for Legend’s sequel, Prodigy. Where’s the history? Where’s the hatred I’m meant to feel toward June’s government?

And now let’s talk about the characters. June spends the entire book in a self-pitying puddle of grief because *SPOILER* her brother was killed in the first ten pages. His name is mentioned so often that, flipping through the book, I was led to believe he might actually have risen from the grave. Metias this, Metias that. Please, girl, just…just don’t. I honestly wanted to empathize with her, but she seemed so cold and irritatingly logical one minute, then mushy and lovesick the next. If I had to assign her a role in my high school, she’d be the girl who gets a perfect score on her SAT and brings it up as often as possible to disguise the fact that, underneath that layer of calculating intelligence, she is just as hormone-driven as the rest of us.

Day is boring. He never seems to experience the moment of doubt that would’ve made me sympathetic toward his situation. He spends half the time going on about how beautiful June is in her rich people clothes, and half the time sucking at protecting his family. In the end, his brother is the real hero, and he’s just a whiny brat. Day and June were made for each other, honestly.

Ok, enough, enough. You get the picture. I feel that, having read a lot of dystopian fantasy novels lately (they’re the Harry Potter of the 2010s), I’ve become overly critical of them. Legend would’ve been a great book had I not had so many better books to compare it to. Maybe. 1/5 and a sticky-note-to-self to stay far, far away from teen fantasy from now on.

Don’t hate me!

~Olive

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2 Responses to “Book Review: Legend by Marie Lu”

  1. Andra Watkins January 3, 2014 at 9:02 pm #

    The worst thing about reading in the 2010’s, at least to me, is the ‘this sold well, so let’s repurpose it in a thousand different ways that are essentially the same thing, and sell it over and over and over again.’ Publishers do not want to take risks. They want to make money, and this book is likely an example of that.

    If you want something different, I love the book The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. I also really love the Thursday Next series. And the Sandman Slim series (which your parents will kill me for mentioning to you.)

    • Olivia January 4, 2014 at 9:45 am #

      Thank you so much for the recommendations! I have been in the worst reading rut since what seems like forever. And don’t worry, my mother’s pretty liberal when it comes to media 🙂

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