Friday, December 30, 2011

Yay for YA: Legend, by Marie Lu, review

I had the pleasure of finding a first edition, signed, copy of this at my local bookstore.  I debated about getting it so close to Christmas, but it was the last one in stock.  (My boyfriend can attest, I danced around with it in the aisle before buying it.)  So, thanks to this little splurge, I actually read this in a somewhat timely manner and you get a review in the month the book came out.

Checkouts: Coming soon to the library
Typical reader: Late elementary/middle school boys and girls alike should be able to pick up this thriller
Source: Personally purchased from Snowbound Books

Synopsis: In Los Angeles, two lives collide after a heinous crime.  Day is at 15 years old the Republic's most wanted criminal, and has been accused of murder.  June is the Republic's groomed prodigy who must track down Day, who allegedly killed her brother.  This is the story of a game of cat and mouse, told from the perspective of both.  And after a shocking turn of events, it is the story of uncovering the truth of what really happened, and what is really going on in the city.

My Goodreads rating: 4 stars

This has a great cover that has appealed to me since I first saw it on other bloggers' reviews.  It's shiny!  It's also very gender-neutral, which is perfect for a book told from the perspectives of a young man and a young woman.  Anyone can pick it up and not be ashamed to be seen with it.

Day and June were destined for their lives by standardized testing, we learn early in the story.  While each has family history that plays into their status in life, the main determinant is the Trial that all children must take on their tenth birthdays.  Day flunked his, and escaped with his life to become a criminal.  June scored a perfect 1500 and is the darling of the Republic, head of her classes in university and destined for greatness.  But Day is certainly smarter and more physically fit than his Trial score indicated.  There's perhaps a bit of social commentary here.

The narrative style is excellent.  Day and June alternate chapters, each with a different font style and color in the physical copy of the book.  It's very easy to always know who you're reading!  I love how the two stories came together.  The scene where they met was great - as was the scene where she finally figures out who, in fact, she's been hanging out with on the streets.  As the story progresses past a certain turning point, the action really heats up, and you get so much more with both narratives than you would from a single point-of-view.

I felt that the first half was paced well, but things got so intense halfway through the book that I could hardly put it down after that.  The first half of the novel sets the characters, setting, and mood, and gives us an interesting game of cat and mouse.  But the second half!  That really is a suspenseful thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

This is pretty lightly dystopian, very slightly science fiction.  It's set in the future, but feels like it isn't that far off.  The technology is somewhat advanced but very recognizable.  LA has a lake and a lot of flooding issues, and a lot more slums.  There's also not much in the way of gory violence or adult themes.  If you're not terribly into dystopias, this can still appeal to you.

No comments:

Post a Comment