- Age Range: 12 and up
- Grade Level: 7 - 9
- Lexile Measure: HL710L (What's this?)
- Series: Legend (Book 1)
- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Speak; Reprint edition (April 16, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 014242207X
- ISBN-13: 978-0142422076
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2,216 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,678 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Legend Paperback – April 16, 2013
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"The Farmer's Son" by John Connell
"A fascinating portrait of a single sensibility, a born noticer, someone on whom nothing is lost, observing birth and death, the landscape, and his own heritage." ―Colm Tóibín, author of "Brooklyn" Learn more
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Praise for Marie Lu’s New York Times bestseller LEGEND:
From USA TODAY:
"Marie Lu's dystopian novel is a Legend in the making."
From ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY:
“Fine writing and excellent execution. Sequel, please!”
From THE NEW YORK TIMES:
“Legend doesn’t merely survive the hype, it deserves it.”
From THE LOS ANGELES TIMES:
“An action-packed love story full of inventive details.”
STARRED REVIEW from PUBLISHERS WEEKLY:
“Lu’s debut is a stunner. . . raises hopes high for the sequels to come. ”
STARRED REVIEW from KIRKUS REVIEWS:
“A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles. This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes.”
STARRED REVIEW from BOOKLIST:
“[D]elicious details keep pages turning . . . you’ve got the makings for a potent sequel.”
STARRED REVIEW from VOYA:
“A fast-paced blend of action and science fiction (with only a hint of potential romance) means that this one will likely appeal to male and female readers alike. Debut author Lu has managed a great feat—emulating a highly successful young adult series while staying true to her own voice. Legend will give Hunger Games fans something worthwhile to read.”
STARRED REVIEW from LIBRARY MEDIA CONNECTION:
“This book stands out . . .”
FROM KAMI GARCIA, New York Times bestselling co-author of the Beautiful Creatures trilogy
“A romantic thriller set in a post-apocalyptic world where nothing is what it seems—Legend is impossible to put down and even harder to forget.”
FROM SARAH REES BRENNAN, author of The Demon Lexicon trilogy
“A compelling dystopic world, with diverse characters, high tension and political intrigue. [If] you liked the Hunger Games, you'll love this.”
Don't miss the highly-anticipated sequel, PRODIGY!
Featured on ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY’S MUST-LIST!
From THE LOS ANGELES TIMES:
“Marie Lu has beaten the curse with Prodigy. . . it has all the chivalry of Robin Hood and all the shine and grime of Blade Runner . . . The well-drawn worlds, political undercurrents and the believability of the characters make it all feel fresh . . . Lu proves that a Book 2 needn't play second fiddle, providing intrigue and deep pleasure all its own.”
From THE NEW YORK JOURNAL OF BOOKS:
“. . . clear your calendar to allow yourself the luxury of reading this book in one or two sittings. You will be shaken . . .”
STARRED REVIEW from PUBLISHERS WEEKLY:
“Lu opts for a high simmer of intrigue in her sequel to Legend…taut and insightful.”
STARRED REVIEW from SHELF AWARENESS:
“Stunning follow-up to Legend . . . The thrilling action and futuristic settings are sure to please fans of Divergent.”
About the Author
New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu (www.marielu.org) graduated from the University of Southern California and jumped into the video game industry, working for Disney Interactive Studios as a Flash artist. Now a full-time writer, she spends her spare time reading, drawing, playing Assassin’s Creed, and getting stuck in traffic. She lives in Los Angeles, California (see above: traffic), with one boyfriend, one Chihuahua mix, and two Pembroke Welsh corgis.
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June is Day’s opposite: she comes from the upper class, she is the only person with perfect scores on the Trials, a series of tests that determine a child’s path in life: education, salary, living conditions. She, like her older brother, is training to become part of the military. But then disaster strikes her: her brother is killed during a raid on a hospital. And the military immediately identifies Day as the murderer and allows June to focus her entire being on capturing Day and participating in his execution.
The novel, itself, moves back and forth between chapters from each of their points of view. This is a powerful structural format that allows the reader to follow their changing understanding of the world and the factions they support. Lu’s writing is fine, and my only real frustration was that the major plot twist was obvious from quite early on in the book. But otherwise, this novel seems true to the genre: good folks vs bad ones; a bit of romance; some nice action sequences. I was a middle-school teacher for much of my career, and I think that many of my students would enjoy this book, and would be dashing off for the sequel, Prodigy. And it’s great to see powerful female characters!
A militarized nation engaged in perpetual war
Legend is one of the more prominent examples of the flood of dystopian novels for young adults that have appeared in recent years. Lu's protagonists, far-future teens Daniel Wing (known as "Day") and June Iparis live in what today is Los Angeles. The state of California is part of the Republic, a nation that covers much of the American West. Dominated by the military and governed by the Elector Primo who is now in his eleventh term, the Republic is engaged in perpetual war with the Colonies, a more advanced nation somewhere to the east.
Razor-sharp class distinctions
Class distinctions in the Republic are razor-sharp. A wealthy elite rules through the military, often serving as high-ranking officers. The vast majority of the population is desperately poor. Every year, a new strain of a horrific disease known as the plague ravages poor neighborhoods. Vaccines are available only to the elite. At age 10, every child in the Republic is subjected to the Trial, which measures intellectual ability, physical prowess, and emotional stability. Only those with superior scores are admitted to high schools, universities, and the military and thus gain the opportunity for advancement.
Far-future teens on opposite sides of the class divide
At age 15, June and Day dramatize the contrast between rich and poor. June, daughter of a wealthy family and younger sister of a captain in the military, is a prodigy. She's the only person ever to have achieved a perfect score in the Trial. However, June is something of a rebel. "The Republic's favorite little prodigy is in trouble again," she notes as she heads off again to the dean's office at her university.
By contrast, Day's score was abysmal. His mother and two brothers live on the verge of starvation and are constantly at risk of succumbing to the plague. Having gone into hiding to sabotage the military, Day is the most wanted criminal in the Republic. "I'm not the most dangerous criminal in the country, but the most wanted," Day reflects. "I make them look bad."
We know that June and Day will meet. But how? That's the story. And it's a very good one. Legend is a great way to start a trilogy.
About the author
Marie Lu was born in China but has lived in the United States since the age of five. She writes for young adults. The Legend Trilogy is her most popular work and will soon be adapted into a film.
Then, there is Day. He narrates his life as one of the society's less fortunate. He's from a poor slum where life is hard, resources scarce, and plague a constant threat. He's supposed to be dead, failed his trial, and now, he's wanted for criminal activity - he likes to disrupt the Republic by bombing things, steal supplies, etc although he's never killed anyone.
When Day risks everything to save a family member, June hunts him - for personal reasons. As is typical of dystopian novels, she comes to learn that not everything she was taught is the truth. But, her conflict with Day is personal.
Both narrators are well-drawn, voices distinct enough. The action is tight and the novel moves along quickly, without extraneous plots of giant chunks of exposition explaining the history of the world. In fact, few details are known on the how or why, or even a complete picture of the current state of the world of Day and June. The focus is on the characters and the action. The theme and the connection to issues of today are clear, but not overdone - no long speeches or chapters of rumination on the meaning of it all. No big surprises or twists, but it also didn't feel contrived or unoriginal. And while the changing relationship between the two narratives is expected, it isn't overly angst-filled or focused on more than the plot or theme.
Legend is one of the better YA fantasy novels.