Legend Review

Lauren Miller, Writer

Marie Lu’s Legend might have been published in 2011, but its impact on young adult fiction is still alive seven years later.

The novel centers around two teenagers on opposite sides of the societal spectrum. In its futuristic setting, America has become divided between the Republic and the Colonies. Both hailing from the Republic, Daniel “Day” Wing and June Iparis are enemies after the death of June’s older brother, Metias. Lu crafts Day and June as similarly intelligent young people, whilst touching on the differing opportunities for both of them in their living conditions. Day is a witty criminal from the slums who will do anything to survive while June is quite the opposite, a genius-level young woman going through military training.

It is the protagonists’ antagonism towards each other that creates the perfect amount of

tension in the novel. Lu does a fantastic job of appealing to the senses with vivid imagery and a well-crafted, post-apocalyptic setting. The character depth goes far beyond the protagonists as well. Each minor character is fleshed out with distinct motivations that add intrigue to the main plot.

Alongside tension between the main characters is a tension with the government, and whether they’re doing what’s best for the country. Lu uses deceit and riveting plot twists to constantly keep readers on the edge of their seats. The shifting perspectives in the novel also provides a unique outlook on each characters’ situation. Lu is able to provide a clear distinction between Day and June’s voices, illustrating their exclusive personalities. She is also able to play to the readers’ emotions incredibly well, expressing each characters’ suffering, hope, and determination.

Legend is the first novel in a series, with the two follow-ups entitled Prodigy and Champion. The series follows Day and June throughout their journey as they struggle to develop trust and love between each other, and the nation they were born in. While Day shows obvious detestment of the government who has taken so much from him, June must come to terms with the fact that everything is not as it seems. Whether together or apart, Day and June are forces to be reckoned with, and through their hectic, climactic scenes and their calm, emotional moments, Lu manages to ground both characters in an equally amazing setting.