Lu, Marie. Legend. Penguin, 2011. 305p. Grades 6-12. Dystopian.
June and Day are enemies in the Republic of America. June is a prodigy and Day is public enemy number one. While June is trying to capture Day, they develop feelings for each other. Eventually leading to June rescuing Day from Prison. It is the first book in a trilogy.
Review: The biggest problem I had with Legend was the text color. When the novel focused on Day, the text was a gold color conversely, when June was the narrator, the text was navy blue. While this was effective in letting the reader know which character was speaking, it was distracting. The gold was hard for me to focus on. This may have to do with the fact that I am getting glasses within the next few days. However, it made it difficult to focus and distracted from Day’s part of the novel. I also would give teens more credit and say that they can figure out who is speaking in a novel by chapter titles and context clues, while reading. The different colored text was over kill. Legend, the large title headings with June or Day’s names would have been enough without the colored text.
With that being said, Legend was captivating, but simplistic plot. It was very formulaic and at times unrealistic. It lacked detail, but made up for it with action and descriptions of a dystopian America, where the east and west are warring against each other. It was hard to believe Day could jump from a window, roll, break his ribs and be able to out run and out smart men with guns. The two protagonists, Day and June seemed to be a first one dimensional characters, with their desires stemming from one place, their family, or lack there of. As Day and June interact with each other their complexity is revealed as each of them question their beliefs in relation to each other. This is especially true of June, who at the beginning comes across very one sided.
I heard Marie Lu speak about Legend and Prodigy at book people. Hearing her describe Day and June’s relationship as a power couple that are constantly at odds, but at the same time, the perfect match for each other made me like their relationship more. It was easy to see the relationship as an afterthought without that explanation. I also liked that there was no love triangle in Legend. So often in young adult novels, if there is a romance, there has to be external drama about it. While there is external drama in the relationship, there is no other person in either of June or Day’s life, which was a refreshing change.
I think Legend is more marketable to teenage girls but, I think it boys would enjoy it as well. Day read as a believable and likeable male character and I think that constant action and sci-fi aspect of it would appeal to boys.