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Hunger Games watch out - this is Legendary!
on 24 February 2013
15-year-old Day has lived on the streets since he took the compulsory test known as The Trial (where every child's value to society is tested) and failed. He should have died then, but somehow he escaped and has been fending for himself on the streets of Los Angeles ever since. But Day has so much more to care about than where his next meal will come from and avoiding the police: for the Republic of America's most notorious criminal, life is one rebellious act after another. The world Day inhabits is in the future, a bleak future where the United States has been divided into two - East and West, or the Colonies and the Republic. The Republic is responsible for the death of Day's father as well as for Day's living conditions, and Day will do whatever it takes to bring the government down. His only friend is Tess, a girl he found wandering the streets and who quickly became his best friend. But Day's world, and his plans for the Republic, come crashing down around him the day he sees a three-lined cross on his mother's door which can only mean one thing: either his mother or one of his brothers has caught the plague.
Meanwhile, June, also 15, is the Republic's Prodigy. Ever since scoring perfectly on her Trial, she has gone from strength to strength in the eyes of the Republic and is set for an important career in the military, just like her older brother Metias. But then Day, in his efforts to procure a cure for the plague, kills her brother and June becomes more determined than ever to find Day and arrest him. But while Day is consumed with anger and a burning hatred for the Republic that comes with being poor and downtrodden, wealthy June has a naive innocence concerning the Republic and it is this that will ultimately land both her and Day in more trouble than either bargained for.
This is a thrilling dystopian tale which fans of Hunger Games and also Veronica Roth's Divergent will adore. This is without a doubt the next big thing, the next Young Adult series we've all been waiting for. Lu writes beautifully and she brings Day, June, Tess, Metias, and all the other characters to life. The first person perspectives of Day and June are refreshing and enlightening; these are two people who begin the story believing they are chalk and cheese, but when they bury beneath the lies of the Republic and discover the person beneath, June's inner master criminal is unearthed while Day's inner prodigy is discovered. They couldn't be more alike if they tried.
I admit, I loved Day the most. I love handsome YA heroes and Day doesn't disappoint. He will go to the ends of the earth to help those he loves, and his bravery and desire to change the world making him all the more loveable. He's rough around the edges, because of course he lives on the streets, but this too is appealing.
But it is June that the plot hangs on because it is June's naivity that brings trouble and tragedy to Day's life, and it is June that it is left with the difficult decision that will change lives forever: does she side with Day, this charming young man who has opened her eyes to the way of the world, or the Republic, the state she was brought up to honour and respect above all else?
There are plenty of mysteries to discover in this book, plenty of plot points you'll be dying to try to work out. After all, this is the Republic of America and secrets and lies are their speciality. You know those books that are so good you're desperate to finish it and find out what happens, but at the same time you desperately DON'T want to finish it because then it's all over? Legend is one of those books. I don't understand why Legend isn't bigger than it is: Legend deserves to be Hunger Games big. But when I was trying to find Prodigy (the sequel) on the high street, I couldn't find it anywhere, which was very disappointing. Believe me when I tell you, though, you will not forget Legend. This is a book to remember.