The Legend trilogy by Marie Lu is probably my favorite dystopian of all times. What looked like a standard dystopian format at first glance turned into something utterly fantastic. The character-driven story told from two perspectives, the commanding narrative and all the emotions, smart thoughts and creative world building made this series completely unique.
I read this series a few years ago, and was totally spellbound. Now, writing about it makes me want to re-read it so much. I’m confident these books would succeed to meet the expectations once again. So far, I’ve have not yet read another dystopian that beats this series.
What makes it so special is the strong characters and the focus on their separate problems, not so much on the hero-parts. As for the plot, it takes place in what was once the western United States, but 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 circels. 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. So yes, the story does have a lot of the typical dystopian settings with an evil dictator, military control, and special, supertalented teens who protests against the roles assigned to them by a test, but the book is still very different from other dystopian stories. Marie Lu’s writing and the way the story was told made it feel completely unique. Mostly because of the amazing characters.
The story is told in alternating perspectives, from both June’s and Day’s point of views, which made you feel really close to both of them. I loved Day from the start. Even though he’s the most wanted criminal in the Republic, he’s sweet, kind and so lovable. June is more of the badass, trained warrior type suppressing her feelings. But as the story continues through the three books, she becomes more vulnerable and allows more of her feelings to have impact on her decisions instead of just blindly following the authorities, which made her grow on me. The Legend trilogy is really the first series I’ve read where the boy and the girl are equals in every way and where the girl is allowed to be the tough, logical and not so empathetic action hero and the boy more of the kind, more emotional character. I love that!
I also love the way the love story developed and how the main focus was not really on the action plot but on the characters facing their own personal problems in the midst of the rebelling going on. The way June and Day struggled emotionally with their feelings, for each other and for the loss of their families, and the way their characters matured and grew during the story, made it very real and relatable. As the story develops, June and Day both have to choose who to trust more and where their loyalties lay. The guilt and grief they both have to deal with really made my heart ache for them.
I recommend this series with all my heart, it deserves all the buzz and more! It’s fast-paced, heart-breaking, compelling and utterly fantastic!
Find out more about the book and the author here: Marie Lu