I finished Legend by Marie Lu last night. (The last 100 pages really flew by – especially since I had my dystopian Pandora playlist pumping through my headphones. Getting ready for today’s booktalk was also a productive motivator.)
Legend is set in a dystopian future where the United States no longer exists. (Does that sound familiar?) Thankfully, only a few times did it tread into Planet of the Apes/Battlefield Earth “We were on Earth ALL ALONG?!?” territory. What really drives the storyline are the characters.
Day is 15 years-old but a master criminal a la Robin Hood, stealing from the Republic and giving to the citizens of the poor sectors. June is a master tracker, a police officer in the style of Javert from Les Mis. Day is accused of killing June’s brother and she vows to track down the criminal…by the stars (I couldn’t resist a Les Mis reference).
Romantic tension and a jealous third character? Check.
A hero driven to save his/her sibling from the evil government? Check.
Fighting with wits instead of a big gun? Check.
I like how Lu worked in some of those standards for a dystopian YA novel. The guns are so advanced that they track which user is firing them. If a criminal is on the run, he doesn’t want a gun blaring his location to government computers. I do appreciate that Lu did her research when it comes to hacking the computers. She describes what privileges the user needs (instead of just having the character say, “I hacked into the computers”), but doesn’t go into detail with how to do it. This isn’t The Cuckoo’s Egg.
In a sea of current dystopia, Legend stands out. Gone is whiny angst, replaced by action stars that threaten the existence of the Republic and the Colonies. The pacing matches that of a Hunger Games, a decent balance between dialogue and jumping off of a building. There are decent plot twists and turns that go beyond “The evil government is evil.” The sectors seem real, like actual people live there, and definitely have the Les Mis vibe.
The book is already being adapted for the big screen and its producers are Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey, the people who brought you a few movies about some book called Twilight.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict that you’ll hear more about Legend as it gets bigger. It definitely has the makings for a series.