Legend: A Dystopian Novel Even Better Than The Hunger GamesElric-san You remember how, a few years back, The Hunger Games books and movies were surrounded by hype and praise? Well, to be honest, I never quite understood it. Don't get me wrong, the books and the movies are still good, but, to me, they seemed to lack interesting and developed characters, and the last book as well as the last two movies were quite boring and underwhelming. It's one of the reasons I stayed away from dystopia for so long. However, I recently read a book that is not only better than The Hunger Games, but is probably one of the best dystopia stories geared towards young adults. That book is Legend, by Marie Lu.
The background of the story is that the Republic, created after the U.S, is divided in sectors. In each sector, everyone has to take the Trial on the day of their tenth birthday. Depending on how high you score, that will determine if you go to high school and college or just get stuck working at a place like a steam plant. That is, unless you fail your Trial. You are supposedly sent to "labor camps," but as the story goes on, you learn that this is not the case. The slum sectors of the Republic also have to deal with plagues every year, which will kill them unless they manage to find a cure.
The plot mainly focuses on two characters: June, a 15 year old prodigy who managed to get a perfect score on her Trial, and Day, a fifteen year old criminal from one of the slum sectors who failed his Trial, and whose main goal is to provide for his poor family, of which only one member knows him to be alive.
At first, the plot jumps around, showing us the lives of Day and June, but eventually their lives become intertwined because of one event (of which I won't say, due to minor spoilers). The best thing about the plot is that it never lets you know what's going to happen next. It always leaves you guessing about the direction it will take, as well as what the actions of the characters will be. It's smart and unpredictable, making it one of the best dystopia plots I've seen in a long time.
What makes the book even better, though, are the characters. I love almost all of these characters, even the antagonists. First of all, June is a great character because she's smart, calculating, analytical, and isn't your typical female protagonist (well, besides the romance factor, but I'll get to that). Day is an amazing character, and my personal favorite in the book, because they didn't go the hardened criminal route that they could if. He helps people in need, he's kind, and he isn't a criminal for selfish reasons. He's doing this for his family, not himself. He wants to see his family live another day. That's his only motivation, and it's a damn good one. The supporting characters are also great. Day's partner in crime, Tess, is great, because, while a criminal, she's still got her cute and sweet side. Metias, June's brother, while not in the book for long, is kind,and cares about his little sister. Day's whole family is a family I feel nothing but sympathy for. Again, nit saying why because of spoilers, but let's just say it makes me feel as sorry for Day as it does them. Commander Jameson is cold and harsh, like any soldier, making for a good antagonist. The only character I hate is Thomas. I can't say what he does, but I will say it is unforgivable.
Now, there are only two negatives I have with this book: the romance and the ending. The romance is very rushed and very predictable, so it bothers me, because I wish it wouldn't have gone down that route, and it just irked me every time I had to read about it. The other issue, the ending, isn't as big of a problem, because there are two sequel books (which I have not read as of now), but I still wish the author would have wrapped it up a bit better.
However, those two issues are just nitpicks I had. This book is amazing, not because of the dystopia, but because of the great characters it created. If you are a fan of The Hunger Games or Divergent, I highly recommend this book. It's probably not the greatest dystopian story of all time, but to me, it is the best one for young adults.
Good review. - Undistinguished
Thanks. - Elric-san
Great post. Do you think you might make more posts in the future? - ModernSpongeBobSucks
Possibly. I could write a few more anime posts, and I do read a LOT of books, so I could do more on that. The main reasons I haven't lately is
a) lack of ideas
b) homework, especially from my AP class
c) half the time, I come on here between 12-4 a.m due to my insomnia. - Elric-san
Awesome review! - TwilightKitsune
Thank you! - Elric-san