Legend (Legend #1) – Marie Lu

Legend (Legend #1) – Marie LuTitle: Legend (Legend #1) by Marie Lu
Publishing Info: November 29, 2011 by Penguin
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: November 16, 2013
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    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.


I am SO glad I finally read LEGEND because it’s the best dystopian I’ve read in a long time. Even better than Divergent — Yes, I said it. I knew people really loved this series and I didn’t mean to push it off for so long but ya know… So many books…

I was totally “wowed” by LEGEND and I’m so thankful for that because I’ve been trying to be a bit pickier on the books I pick up.  I’ve been craving that really good paranormal or dystopian-type book so LEGEND hit the spot! Right off the bat, I could tell this book was special and the publishers sure know how to make you remember it and enhance Marie Lu’s writing! Each main character (Day and June) gets their own font for their chapters. Day’s chapter kicks off the book with a pretty gold font which totally caught me off guard, but obviously in a good way! I also really loved that each chapter had its own font because it really helped me differentiate between the two. I didn’t get confused between the two voices, but if you’re one that isn’t a huge fan of alternating POVs, the different fonts might help!

In the new Republic, every child has to go through a series of tests (“the Trial”) when they’re eleven which determines their intelligence, general ranking, and if they will get into school or if they’re… banished. LEGEND surrounds our main characters June — all-around all-star with a perfect score on the Trial and a bit of a penchant for being just a bit mischevious — and Day, her polar opposite or so it seems. Day received the lowest score on the Trial that anyone has ever received but something seems fishy. He’s pretty dang intelligent himself and even if he bombed a couple sections, he doesn’t feel his score should have ever been that low…
I was interested from chapter one, but as the book slowly starts to dig deeper into the plot, I was hooked. Marie Lu has some great world building with the new dystopian America. Usually there are times when the new world is being described and I feel a bit of a world-building-drag, but there is really never a dull moment in this book. The reader gets a feel for the new country, the new government, the new leaders and rebels all woven into the plot. Sometimes I have a tendency to get lost in a new world if I can’t picture it, but I really felt like I was watching the whole book unfold on the big screen. I could picture each situation that Day and June encountered. It was fantastic! There was a combination of the destruction and disease that a dystopian brings to the table, but since it is set in the future, we also have glimpses of some awesome technology — both gadgets as well as things used city-wide like the jumbotron-type screens used to portray news and announcements.

The thing I loved the most about LEGEND was all of the twisty-turny surprises! With dystopian being the genre that pulled me into YA, I’ve read quite a few and you start to sense or sort of pattern or repeated idea that most dystopians will have — it’s just inescapable when writing in the genre. I was so, so pleased with the amount of plot twists in LEGEND to keep me on the edge of my seat and the story feeling fresh. (Now, now, I know LEGEND was actually one the earlier ones, but it’s new to me so really no matter when it was written, there will always be someone catching up and those surprises are always important!) There were some that I was able to predict a tiny bit and others that totally shocked me! Honestly, at once point in time I was reading on the couch and Shane was upstairs and I shouted, “WHAT!?!” so loud that he called down to make sure I was okay haha. There were THOSE kind of moments and I loved being kept on the edge of my seat!

I also really loved the characters. I felt for both June and Day and I looooved the scenes with them together! It was so interesting to read their alternating POVs until the moment when they come together… And then things get even more interesting! Their voices felt much more mature than fifteen (in my head they were 18 or 19, but that’s just something that I do haha) so really the book can appeal a wide range of audiences. (Although for some violent content, I’d say 14 and up?) Then again, they were both incredibly smart (something else that I also loved) so it does make sense that they’d sound more mature than their actual ages.

The good news is, the entire series is out so I can go read some more as quickly as I want to because my immediate though upon finishing was, “I need to inhale the rest of this series.”


Day // Character Obsessions: Caring for his family, protecting Tess, maintaining a secret identity, resisting the Republic.
I really loved Day’s character. He feels he’s been wronged in his testing since all of his friends and family know he’s much smarter than his results show. He was the “smart” one in the family and his brother received a higher score than him. Day lives on the fringes of society, surviving on his own all the while eluding the Republic (which obviously doesn’t make them too happy). He’s strong, caring, and extremely skilled. I love his dedication to his family — both blood and adopted (Tess) and his ability to forge ahead when everything is stacked against him. He still maintains some lovely snark and a sense of humor. I absolutely loved reading about him in LEGEND!
June // Character Obsessions: Her brother Metias, training for the Republic, catching Day.
June was also incredibly smart and so interesting to read about as well! She’s the golden child — the only person to score perfectly on her Trial — and with that kind of an incredible mind… She gets bored a bit easily. Her boredom pushes her to act out a bit and at times show off and we get to see a little less serious side of June! I loved seeing her intelligence really shine in LEGEND and not only in the traditional sense but also her ability to problem solve and think for herself.


Kept Me Hooked On: Really, really, REALLY good reads. I went through a minor reading slump — it wasn’t bad, but I just needed to read something REALLY good. I had a craving to absolutely fall in love witha book and LEGEND was it. It kept me reading dystopians and maintained my love for them and totally wowed me!
Left Me Wanting More: EVERYTHING. I just want more and more and more of this series. I can’t wait to pick up the next book!

Addiction Rating

I loved LEGEND. This is definitely a series I want to devour and now I understand what all the fuss is about! Definitely one for your shelves!



(Click the cover to see my review!)

          Divergent       Crewel

Hi, I'm Brittany!
Hi, I'm Brittany!

I'm an avid reader, candle-maker, and audiobook lover! Here you'll find book reviews, fun blog posts, and my other loves of photography & craft beer!

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14 thoughts on “Legend (Legend #1) – Marie Lu

  1. Kim

    Brittany, I’m so glad you liked it! Books like Legend are why I wanted to start blogging and talking about YA books. Since I just started reading YA books over the last few years I have missed a few awesome series that I want to dive into and catch up. (Divergent) But, not this one. Wonderful review! 🙂

  2. Danielle

    Awesome review Brittany! I’ve heard good things about this series but didn’t really take much notice because like everyone it seems this year has been the year of dystopian burnout but I’m excited to read this now! I love how well crafted the characters and world building sound and love the attention to detail with the unique fonts etc! Bumping this up the TBR!

  3. Jan

    Wow, even better than Divergent?? That is a bold statement! I’ve got this on my TBR list and I think I might get this at Christmas but if I don’t I think I’ll have to bump it up in terms of priority reading!

  4. Amanda @ Late Nights with Good Books

    I ultimately decided not to purchase the box set of this trilogy was was on super sale via Amazon yesterday, but I DO want to check this out from the library as soon as I feel ready to delve into some more dystopians again. Unexpected twists and teen characters that seem more mature are two aspects I definitely enjoy in the YA books I read. I’ll definitely have to keep this one in mind. Great review, Brittany!

  5. Alexa Y.

    You are making a great case for me to read this series! I’ve been meaning to, and even picked up when Legend first released in 2011. But for some reason, I just haven’t read it yet. Looks like I might just have to fix that in 2014 — and at least I won’t have to wait in between books!

  6. Amanda

    I liked the sequel “Prodigy” even better, I hope you do too! When do you think you’ll be able to start that one? The only thing I didn’t like about “Legend” was how young they were, I thought 15 (and isn’t Tess only like 12?) was a little unrealistic for all of the things they were doing, but then again that’s probably just me being unrealistic!

    If you ever get the chance to meet Marie Lu you should totally do it, she’s one of the sweetest authors I’ve ever met!

  7. Leigh Smith

    I agree that it’s better than Divergent too. I couldn’t put it down. The pacing is amazing and the Tension between Day and June. Whoa. I finally just finished Prodigy and I’m starting Champion today! Wheeeee!

  8. Rebecca @ The Library Canary

    I love this series so much! And I agree about it being better than Divergent. There is something so wholly original about Legend and the characters are amazing. Day and June forever! <3 them! I'm so glad you finally picked this one up and loved it. You won't be disappointed with the rest of the series. It's amazing. 🙂

  9. Rachel @ hello, chelly.

    I love this series SO MUCH! And I don’t think it’s crazy to say that it’s better than Divergent because that’s exactly how I feel. I really liked Legend, absolutely fell in love with Prodigy.. and the last book, Champion? OMG, that’s how you end a series! (I’m still a little bitter over Allegiant haha). I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on the rest of the books. And if you need someone to fangirl over these books with.. I’m around 🙂

  10. Ashley

    Funny, I actually just bought the box set on Amazon yesterday! It was a lightening deal. Glad you enjoyed it. Hopefully, I will too! 🙂

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