Series Title: Legend
Author: Marie Lu
Number of Books: 3
Genre: Young Adult Dystopia
Series (Average) Rating: 4.33/5 stars ★★★★
LEGEND is a young adult dystopian series set in a future America divided into two countries: the Republic and the Colonies. The story stars two teens–both ‘legends’ in their own rights–named June and Day. Their names sound confusing, I know. Let’s break this review down into FAQ’s:
1. What makes Legend Trilogy different from all the other dystopian novels?
The world building is solid and in my opinion, something that could really happen in the future (especially with the Trump presidency). The ideas presented in the entire story arc are futuristic yes, but the governing bodies aren’t too radical and scientific. Lu took on a traditional approach in setting her fictional world but still managed to be unique. Her America is still the America we can recognize, with only slight changes, changes that we can imagine happening.
2. Is the story focused on the romance? Love triangle?
Not at all. I did have issues with the two leads falling in love fairly quickly but the story wasn’t really focused on the romance so it’s no big deal. Legend is all about winning the war and choosing where your loyalties lie. There is a love triangle (square actually) but very minor only. The romance isn’t the center of the story to begin with so imagine how little these love square moments would actually be.
First person point of views that alternates between the two lead characters. June and Day kind of sound alike but thankfully, the author used a designated font and font color for the two of them. June’s chapters are usually dark colors like black and dark green (it varies per book) and Day’s are the colorful ones (gold, blue and red) which aligns with the cover design.
That’s about my FAQ’s. Let’s get to the two leads’ profiles.
Name: June Iparis
Age: 15 years old
Special attributes: Youngest graduate of the military academy, scored a perfect 1500/1500 to the Trials, the Republic’s Prodigy.
Name: Daniel “DAY” Altan Wing
Age: 15 years old
Special attributes: Republic’s Most Wanted Criminal, can scale buildings the fastest, Republic’s legendary rogue.
BOOK 1: LEGEND
“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.”
What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.
From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.
4 of 5 stars to Legend by Marie Lu
I rarely read Dystopian novels and with what little experience I have of said genre, I can say that Legend is probably the best, yet.
The world building was gradually done in a way that as you go along the story, you would get a piece of the puzzle one by one until you can picture it in its entirety. In short, it wasn’t a giant info dump in the first chapter alone.
I like the idea (not that I want it to happen) of a future America when the states are divided and that the existing “United” States of America now, is just an unfounded myth or legend for the people in that time. I just find it so fascinating that in the many years to come, this moment we are living right now could actually be erased from history, forgotten and whispered around as if it was a forbidden thought.
I also like that the characters were from two different worlds and would later on unite against a common enemy. They used to be from two different sides of the fence that made things a lot more complicated yet exciting.
June Iparis is an easily loveable heroine. She’s smart, reliable, skillful and logical. I love her courage to stand up against the wrong even if it meant throwing away the life she’s only known.
Daniel “Day” Wing, a prodigy lost in the chaotic world of politics but found his way again when he met June. Just like her, Day is intelligent, resourceful, loves his family dearly and is pretty much an amazing person all around.
Come to think about it, Day and June’s characteristics are so similar that they could be the boy/girl version of themselves. It’s hard to differentiate their traits from each other. It’s probably why I didn’t feel their chemistry. In fact, I wanted the romance to happen at the later part of the series like maybe in the second half of the next book or even at the final book. The romance felt forced and even premature. I just thought that they should have known each other better before feeling passionate things for each other.
On another note, the pacing of the story was slow in the beginning but picked up halfway through it. I think that the death of certain characters were rushed and not given much emphasis that I didn’t mourn for their loss as much as I thought I would have, especially since these characters have endeared themselves to me even though they don’t have a very active role in the story.
In conclusion, I enjoyed this book and would gladly continue on the series.
(Side note: anyone else thinks that Day and June’s physical apperances are very anime inspired? June is totally Tiffa Lockheart and Day is Cloud–with the longer hair of course.)
Book 2: PRODIGY
“He is beauty, inside and out. He is the silver lining in a world of darkness. He is my light.”
Injured and on the run, it has been seven days since June and Day barely escaped Los Angeles and the Republic with their lives. Day is believed dead having lost his own brother to an execution squad who thought they were assassinating him. June is now the Republic’s most wanted traitor. Desperate for help, they turn to the Patriots – a vigilante rebel group sworn to bring down the Republic. But can they trust them or have they unwittingly become pawns in the most terrifying of political games?
4 of 5 stars to Prodigy by Marie Lu
Prodigy is without a doubt, better than the first book in the series (Legend). I had many reservations in book one that prompted me to rate it less than a perfect score.
Most of those reservations have been completely dashed after reading the second installment especially the romantic aspect of the book. I had complained about not feeling the chemistry between June and Day primarily because they are so alike in character and attitude. I was wrong. Prodigy chronicles June and Day’s adventures within the Patriot’s territory and along the way, we get to see more of their motivations and thoughts AND how different they think.
The love that Day was so sure about in Legend was questioned. Suddenly he was no longer sure of his feelings for June. At the same time, June’s love for Day solidifies when she wasn’t so sure in the beginning. It was interesting to read about their struggles when confronted with romantic situations from different people. They are not without flaws. For a while there, they floundered in their feelings for each other while also fighting a war and trying to decide which side of the fence they should be on. Talk a lot about love at the wrong time!
June is a solider through and through. She is logical and tactical about how she approaches certain problems but she also trusts her instinct. She knows her abilities and she uses them well. For once, it is so refereshing to read about a Dystopian heroine not admired by everyone. June has her fair share of fans, yes, but she also has her detractors. And believe me, they were very vocal about their dislike.
Day is a passionate warrior, an advocate for change who mainly uses his emotion when dealing with things. He may not be as confident in his abilities as June but Day is powerful in his own way.
June has herself. Day has the people backing him up. That’s where their strengths lay.
The plot in the second book follows the Patriot arc and is a lot more thrilling and action packed. The conflicts are more complicated and trickier; the story bigger than just two starcrossed lovers. It isn’t simply about avenging their own families anymore but saving a dying country.
There was an unexpected (and unpleasant) surprise at the end of the book, one I refuse to dwell too much about (at least until I know more about it once I get my hands on the final book). But just for my sake, I’ll prepare my heart for a possible heartbreak.
Book 3: CHAMPION
“We can heal. Perhaps we can return to that same place we once stood, when we were both young and innocent.”
He is a Legend.
She is a Prodigy.
Who will be Champion?
June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps-Elect, while Day has been assigned a high-level military position.
But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them: just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything.
With heart-pounding action and suspense, Marie Lu’s bestselling trilogy draws to a stunning conclusion.
5 of 5 stars to Champion by Marie Lu
This maybe a fictional story but the way the characters dealt with their problems felt so realistic. Even the conclusion to the war arc seemed like something that could happen in real life.
After reading the entire series, a staggering realization hit me. The Republic reflects a lot of what my country’s government is doing right now (the government asserting total control of the military and gradually putting out new laws and regulations). The Republic’s people reflects a lot of what my country’s people are experiencing right now (the people being forced against their will and rights). Of course, some details do not match but the idea that a pseudo-totalitarian government exists makes it pretty much similar.
The conflict between the Republic and the Colonies was resolved in the most politically diplomatic way. The war didn’t techinically end, it was just suspended. The Republic didn’t lose their country but they also didn’t win. Wasn’t that what happened in world history?
The romance was dealt in a pretty much the same manner: diplomatic (but also heartbreaking). I can’t say I’m absolutely satisfied about how June and Day’s relationship went but it was the kind of ending that was needed to solidify the weight of their love. It was Day who suffered a lot but I found myself sympathizing with June more. Day was able to get out of the war practically new but it was June who had to be left behind and lick her wounds. She was the one who had to make the most conflicting decisions and she was very brave about it. I think that fighting a war is always hard but facing the aftermath will always be the hardest. In the end, June was selfless and put Day’s feelings above her own. That decision, I think, was a clear testament to how far she could go for the one she loves. It was okay for her to bear all the heartbreak and pain alone just as long as the one she loves could get his one ultimate wish. Of all the Young Adult novels I’ve read, dystopian or otherwise, I’d say this romantic sacrifice was the most painfully touching one yet.
“You know, sometimes I wonder what things would be like if I just … met you one day. Like normal people do. If I just walked by you on some street one sunny morning and thought you were cute, stopped, shook your hand, and said, “Hi, I’m Daniel.” – PRODIGY
While there were a lot of painful events towards the end, the last chapter was definitely healing and hopeful. It wasn’t what I wanted but it was enough. It seemed apt that their romance was left hanging so it could be up to the readers to decide on how they wanted it to proceed (that is one big fanfiction invite if you ask me!). I was eager to see the story to its end but I didn’t realize how I would regret that after reading that cliffy ending. I wanted more from June and Day but alas, some things are better left hanging for a greater impact. Marie Lu certainly accomplished that. The ending was something that would take me a long time to move on from and for that, I give it 5 stars.
Reading the Legend trilogy was a fantastic experience. I’m still hung up about the ending, still constantly thinking of what could be. I put that quote above because I distinctly remember Day saying that and it was the moment that would define June’s life, although she has no idea yet. Here is the final collage/artwork I made for this series: