Legend by Marie Lu

Legend by Marie Lu

Title: Legend (Legend #1)
Author: Marie Lu
Genre: YA Dystopia
Format: Hardcover
Length: 305 pages
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Publish Date: November 29, 2011
Death, Epidemic, War, Torture,
Police Brutality, Violence
Mongolian (other Asian not specified),
Learning Disability (possibly dyslexia)

I’m super late in reading this, please don’t confront me about it.

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Day is the Republic’s most wanted criminal. Not the most dangerous, just the most wanted. Why? Because nobody knows how he really looks like. I swear there’s like a Criminal Minds or Elementary episode that’s similar to that.

Tess is another orphan that works with Day. She is either around the same age as Day or a little younger. She is great at doing some medical procedures even with her lack of resources. She makes a good asset.

June is the smartest kid on the block, literally. And she does not have any qualms of saying so. It’s just a fact, after all. It’s not her being boastful or anything.

I don’t just think I’m smart. I’m the only person in the entire Republic with a perfect 1500 score on her Trial. I was assigned here, to the country’s top university, at twelve, four years ahead of schedule. Then I skipped my sophomore year. I’ve earned perfect grades at Drake for three years. I am smart.

June

I mean good on you, June. Don’t dumb yourself down or anything. But you gotta show me instead of just tell me. But since this is still the beginning, I’m sure you’ll prove it to me, right?

Thomas is supposed to be Metias’ friend (June’s brother) and he seems to be the perfect soldier. Always following orders without questioning anything. I don’t like him.

So apparently a Civil War happened again in the United States and it’s split up into two countries: The Republic (West Coast) and the Colonies (probably East Coast?).

I guess the original colonies wanted their name back.

June is a prodigy, the only person to ever score a perfect 1500 on her Trial. When her brother Metias is killed in cold blood, and she’s told that Day is the one who did it, she vows to exact vengeance and do whatever it takes for him to be punished.

Day on the other hand is an outlaw because he escaped a gruesome death, and does what little he can to take down the Republic with his little resources. He doesn’t realize that the girl he saves from getting attacked by an angry mob is the same girl that is after his blood for killing her brother. Only, it doesn’t seem like he did it.

I honestly felt like it was a slow burn kind of romance, and I don’t even really feel like it bothered me that Day and June started to have feelings for each other the more they hung out – you know, without them knowing who the other really was and all that jazz. I liked how Day and Tess worked together and kept each other safe. Even in a world that was designed to keep them from surviving. Actually, yeah Tess is younger… She hasn’t taken her Trial yet. My bad fam.

I liked seeing June get out of her head to do more research on what Day was telling her, not just behaving like a perfect little soldier like she trained to be. Seeing her growth in the span of this novel was such an awesome thing to behold. Even if it felt like it took a while because she was kind of stubborn – who wouldn’t be though? – it was nice to see her use her brains for good.

I liked the relationship between June and her brother, even though we really only get to see most of it through flashbacks. I feel like Metias did a great job trying to take care of her and be the best big brother he could be in a situation like that.

I liked that June was able to recognize her privilege. Yes, she was in such a better position than Day, Tess, and the others in the poor sectors. Again, it wasn’t instantaneous, but she realized it and called herself out on it.

Thomas felt like a manipulative stalker, and I hated that he kept ignoring June’s clear rebuttals of his affections. He tried to kiss her and she didn’t want it. He got mad about it and then tries to convince her that he’s “sorry” and shows up at her house unannounced and uninvited? I don’t like people like that, and I don’t like that he did this to her.

Seeing how the poor were treated in this dystopian world really pissed me off because it’s so believable that it kills me. I won’t spoil what really irks me about what happens with them, but when you read it, you’ll know. It’s truly despicable that Congress and the “Elector Primo” (which I’m assuming is the current depiction of what would be President) would be okay with treating their citizens like this. You know? Apparently poor people are expendable.

My poor, poor [redacted].

Of course this highly iconic line. I can’t NOT put it on here.

“Each day means a new twenty-four hours. Each day means everything’s possible again. You live in the moment, you die in the moment, you take it all one day at a time.”

Where Day got his Street Name From

Something that really stood out to me that I’m really glad that Lu included in this was the idea of police brutality still being prevalent in a dystopian America. Even if the country is literally split in two. I feel like if certain people don’t experience it themselves, they think it’s a myth or whatever. Like people that protest about it are just trying to stir up trouble. This one scene where Day is beat up by a police officer because he accidentally kicked a paper ball in his face was really… emotional for me. I can’t explain it.

“You never look at an officer like that, do you understand? You want to get us all killed?”

You never fight back. Ever. You do what officers tell you, and you don’t argue with them.”

John to Day after the Incident

Do people realize that this kind of thought process is ingrained in so many minorities because of how they are treated? Yeah, sure, it’s not all police, but it’s enough to make people afraid of how to be around the people that are supposed to keep us safe. I don’t know how many times I’ve been so scared to get a police officer mad for doing the wrong thing, saying the wrong thing, looking at him in the wrong way without me realizing it.

Day and his family are biracial. Mongolian (according to his file) and Caucasian. I’m sure they probably show more of the Asian side since that’s apparently the dominant ethnicity in his file. Not to mention their family is so poor that their mother had to sell one of her only dresses and other things to buy a whole chicken for dinner. You really think that he would have reacted that way if it wasn’t someone like Day that accidentally kicked a paper ball in his face? With the way they treat the rich families in this novel, I highly freaking doubt it.

So clearly I had some feelings about Thomas and his issue with consent, and the police brutality scene. Clearly. This was actually my first Marie Lu book, and I was definitely not disappointed. I like the world that she created, and I really, really, really want to see if there’s going to be some sort of back history as to how the United States broke up in the first place. Although it seems like the idea of the United States has been lost for some time, that nobody thinks it really existed. Interesting, no?

7 thoughts on “Legend by Marie Lu

  1. I really liked Legend and I think it was really nice that Lu put police brutality in her book. And the fact that I really need to catch up on the Legend trilogy since I’m still stuck on book 2 of it, and haven’t read book 3 yet.

    I really recommend reading her YA fantasy-The Young Elites which is an interesting topic that set in the 1400’s if I remember correctly. Than again, I haven’t finished book 2 nor 3 in that series. It’s funny I adore Marie Lu, but can’t even finish her series for some odd read, Warcross which is really interiqing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We are stuck on Book 2 together! Although, I haven’t started it yet, but I’m hoping to… very very soon anyway!

      I have The Young Elites on my shelf! I just… have to… read them lol. I haven’t tried Warcross honestly so I don’t know. I’ve heard mixed things on all of her series but if I liked Legend so much, I’m hoping that I like the rest!

      Hey, I’m bad at finishing series in general, so I totally understand you on that.

      Liked by 1 person

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