In its place, the Republic stands in all its stifling glory, devolved into a military state, fragmented into secto
The United States is gone.
In its place, the Republic stands in all its stifling glory, devolved into a military state, fragmented into sectors, overpopulated, citizens brow-beaten, and plague ridden.
Such is the world of Marie Lu’s Legend, her debut YA dystopian novel that tells the tale of two very different enemies…and two disparate views of a harrowing future where survival-of-the-fittest takes on new meaning.
There is an overwhelming sense of grey in Legend, its military industrial complex has absolute control over its citizens…and perpetually forces a chasm between the have and have-nots through a series of Trials and punitive measures. Those that pass the Trials with high scores enjoy an education at the top universities, and those who fail miserably enjoy the work camps…or that’s where everyone believes they go. Lu is sure to remind readers that the Republic has absolute control….is always watching and this works to deliver the conflict, however abrasive it is to its two lead characters.
For June Iparis, the Republic has always been home. Everything she has experienced in her short life…the intense political nationalization…the rigid structure has essentially sheltered her. And the privilege of birth has enabled her to see the world from a different lens. As a child prodigy, June is the only child in the Republic to have received a perfect score in the Trials. Her future is set…or so it seems to venture into the highest ranks in government.
But for Day, the Republics’ most wanted terrorist and would-be revolutionary, the Republic has done nothing but opress. Since his “detour” to a work camp and his rumored death, Day emerges from the Lake Sector a thorn in the Republic’s side. But he has to watch over his family too, and that misstep could cost him his life.
Destinies and paths collide when June’s brother Metias is killed, and the Republic suspects that Day is responsible, and June will risk everything to capture him. When it comes down to facing her beliefs…and hidden secrets revealed, she will end up questioning everything she knows.
Legend is intensely good…hard to put down and Lu’s strength shines through her enigmatic characters and the journey she takes them (and her readers) on. For June and Day, their relationship wavers…trust lost and then gained…pain, rage, duplicity, friendship, fear of the Republic… hope…and perhaps something close to love.
A few key scenes are present in Legend, reminiscent of those last skirmishes in Mockingjay that amp up the intensity. If you’ve read Collins’ series and remember some of those scenes…Legend simmers with similar conflict. After all, the Republic is at war and as harrowing as it is, even its citizens are fodder. Lu’s creation of Commander Jameson is simply a work of art…a zealot who will turn readers blood cold. In many ways she is representative of the cold heart of the Republic…vicious. ruthless. Totalitarian. I was literally gripping the book at the imagery that Lu created. I wonder what is next in store for the characters. Where can she take this next? What an amazing debut!