Really and truly LOVED it.
Did I use the word “love”?? Oh. I’m sorry. I meant L.O.V.E.
It was just one of those books that made me want to crawl into the pages of the story, shut the cover and live it again and again.
This is a series I purchased on Kindle and in hardcopy and then cheerfully and with well-intended threats forced everyone I know to read.
In all fairness by the time I discovered the Legend series (for which I am eternally grateful to amazon recommendations) it was already complete and I can’t honestly say that as a single book Legend would have made me feel such intense devotion. I’m NOT saying I wouldn’t have loved it anyway…I’m just admitting that I don’t know how I would have felt if I had had to read this story one book at a time… I am SO, SO, SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO glad I didn’t have to wait… Legend might stand on it’s own but the end of Prodigy without Champion waiting to be downloaded might have killed me. In fact the four hours between finishing Prodigy on my lunch break and starting Champion at home probably took a few weeks off of my life!
I’m getting ahead of myself here though..
I’ve been trying to boil down what I liked so much about Legend for a while…. I still can’t quite pinpoint what it is that has made this one of my favorite books…maybe it was just “there” when I wanted exactly this story. In all fairness I don’t think everyone will LOVE it quite as much as I have.
Of the 5 people I successfully forced into reading the Legend series, my mother and sister really enjoyed it (we ARE related you know), one guy is still plodding along (come ON Sterling, you’re killing me!!!) but he likes it a lot so far… and two of my girlfriends were more than a little OVER the dystopian thing (apparently not everyone gets quite as hooked on a single genre as I do) having recently read Hunger Games and Divergent. (I have graciously forgiven them). So now I shall happily try to convince YOU to go read it…you know, immediately!
The setting for Legend is….. fascinating . I can’t possibly be the only one who thinks that Lu was using North Korea as a template for the Republic right?? I mean, the Elector seemed to be fashioned after Kim Jong-Il and while Anden is no Kim Jong-Un (thank heavens) there are too many parallels to the current socioeconomic environment of North Korea for it to be a coincidence… I certainly HOPE that’s what she had in mind because it was brilliant! I simply adore it when an author (especially a Young Adult author) uses current events on the world stage to highlight our own shortcomings and make us think.
This particular scenario really accomplished that. So. Much. Thinking…I have long found North Korea (who’s official title btw is The Democratic Peoples Republic of North Korea…mmhmmm yeah.) intriguing albeit incredibly eerie and more than a little frightening. As a country they remind me of that crazy isolated neighbor who might also be a serial killer with a torture chamber in the basement and bodies buried in the garden ….except NK probably DOES have torture chambers and the staggering human rights violations are not a joke.
Here in America we like to imagine that we are beyond that kind of evil. I truly hope we are but it is certainly worth it to take the pulse of our society every so often and ask ourselves what it would take to become the thing we despise. Given the circumstances laid out in Legend I don’t think it is beyond the realm of possibility to think that the U.S. could split into two warring countries (THAT actually isn’t hard to picture AT ALL considering the political environment these days) and enact a state of martial law. Fear and chaos have a way of feeding the flames of insanity and given impossible choices it is easy to see how a government might spiral completely out control in the name of the Greater Good.
*Sigh* I just love it when a book makes me contemplate these things!
Politics and morality aside I thought Legend was just a cleanly written, well told story with two kick ass heroes. June and Day are amazing, iconic characters. (kinda a Romeo and Juliette meets Robin Hood thing). And this book is a great example of duel narration done well; Day and June both have a clearly defined “voice” and a unique perspective to offer the story. Even without the (slightly odd) type shifts it would be near impossible to confuse who the storyteller is in any given chapter. June has fantastically OCD habits of categorizing and counting EVERYTHING and Day’s lake sector colloquialisms colored his speech in an incredibly natural way. So often I find slang written specifically for a story to be clunky and awkward…but Day’s speech patterns were so subtle they seemed to roll naturally right through my head, I could totally hear him… and damn if I haven’t caught myself tacking “Yeah?” on the end of sentences….
June has the bulk of the character arc in this first book. We watch her grow from a brutally brilliant, blindly loyal child solider torn apart and ruthlessly sharpened by her brothers death into a contentious young woman willing to admit her mistakes, question her beliefs and take responsibility for the consequences of her actions. I kind of love her.
Real quick…Can we just talk about Metias for a second before I move on to Day?? I am the oldest of three girls but I always wanted an older brother exactly like Metias (who wouldn’t??). For a character that dies almost immediately he is an incredibly full, well developed and beautiful character who’s influence spans the entire series. I love him too.
And then there’s Day:
Oh Day… Sigh… “The Boy who Walks in the Light” is a fitting description . (also a lovely one)
Day is pretty much the heart and soul of this story. Especially since as June takes him into her heart he begins to represent the person she strives to be as well… He is sassy, arrogant and 100% June’s equal intellectually although in a very different, more organic way. His story is horrific and heartbreaking and I do not know a woman alive who would not want to “save” him. We are SO ridiculous like that. Thankfully June is just as helpless to this type of Boy charm as the rest of us so she DOES save him and the story can continue ; )
I struggled to picture Day… I just could not imagine a naturally golden blonde, blue eyed Asian boy (NOT dyed blonde..ewww Day wouldn’t bother with that kind of thing unless it was a disguise..obviously) So. I did what anyone would do and Googled it………..BIG MISTAKE…I don’t remember exactly what it was I typed in to the search (I may not tell you if I did) but lets just say I will NEVER ever be able to unsee those things… Yeesh!! Anyway after THAT little misstep I tried again and I still couldn’t find anyone out there who looks quite like Day is described. I loved him anyway though (you’re shocked…I know)
That is honestly completely irrelevant. In case I haven’t mentioned it…. I loved these books. At this point I think I am in danger of writing a whole novel about this novel so I’m gonna let it go and save some love for my Prodigy and Champion discussions… (I’ll even be providing visual proof of my obsession).
If you like romance…you should read this book
If you like YA at all…you should read this book.
If you just want to read a well-written story with an interesting setting and a subtle message…read this book.
Ok…hopping off my soapbox now.
I’ll just leave you with this lovely quote
“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. You try to walk in the light“