Saturday, April 28, 2012

YAckers Review: Legend by Marie Lu

Published November 29, 2011.

Author website.

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.  (

Fellow YAcker Emily was our Keeper of the Book for the month of March and of her choices us ladies  unanimously chose LEGEND by Marie Lu.  We were SOOOOOOOOOOOO excited to read this one!  I mean, how could not be?  All the awesome things that were being said about it, all the rave reviews?  How could we go wrong?

. . .

Well, read on to see some wrongness . . .

Laura: Soooo has anyone started Legend?

Melissa: Yeppers. Am I the only one the colored font is driving batty?

Sya: Started today. I have a uk arc so no coloured ink just different fonts.

Me: I'm waiting until the last possible second. But this shouldn't be any surprise by now.

Sya: I finished it last night. Quite impressed although I have a few unanswered questions.

Melissa: I agree, Sya. Interesting, intriguing, but it kind of leaves you hanging. And I never got over my font dislike.

Me: I've started it. The font thing isn't really bothering me but it is pretty noticeable. I'm not far enough into it to have an opinion yet.

Sya: So are the alternating viewpoints printed in wildly different colours?

Me: The type face is definitely different and the color is a brownish instead of black. You can tell against the standard font the other POV is in. I'm still kind of ambivalent about the story. I have just over 100 pages left. I like June for how she kept to character after the shoe dropped but I need to see where this is going first.

Me: Just finished it. I'm still ambivalent. It's a topic I've seen plenty of times, a story I've read in plenty of books and it

Me: dammit

Me: it's really not stand-out to me. A few things: 1) Did I miss the part where it's explained how the US ended up fracturing like it did? 2) Did I missed the part where it explains how SoCal all of a sudden is getting massive hurricanes? 3) Why does the Republic have electro-bombs that disable guns when they're the only ones using them? That's not a wise weapon to use in war since you'd screw yourself, the poor people they're constantly fighting aren't armed like that and it appears to have no other discernible use except to come in conveniently at the end. Why have a weapon that would temporarily make themselves impotent? Why don't they all just give themselves charlie horses at the most inopportune moments? This bothers me. 4) Points for no love triangle.

Me: I hate to say it but I can kind of see how this had a hard time selling to publishers. It's pretty well written but it ultimately blends pretty well with the already desolate dystopian landscape. At the end I'm not pressed to read the next book. I kind of don't care enough. I'm a buzz kill, aren't I?

Laura: I'm having a hard time getting into this book. I'm granting it a further 50 page grace period but as the magic eight ball says, "Outlook not so good."

Melissa: ‎1) no. It was never explained. 2) ditto. 3) No effing idea. and 4) I agree. Huh. I liked it when I first finished it (aside from the font thingy), but I'm having a hard time making it sound interesting. Maybe because it really wasn't??

Sya: Yeah, I feel the same Melissa... I've been trying to write up my review and it's coming across as distinctly meh. BUT... I did really like both June and Day and was intrigued by the society that was being portrayed. Sadly, this was tempered by the fact that I didn't know why everything was actually like that. But then, I've been re-reading The Hunger Games and you don't really find out why THAT society is fractured either. However, Legend rather lacks the wow-factor that THG has. Also, I spent a lot of my time reading it trying to figure out how it was inspired by Les Miserables (which, I admit, was probably tougher having only seen the musical - I was all, "that's Eponine... no... THAT's Eponine" and I'm not even entirely sure who Eponine is...).

Sya: Also, Donna - excellent point re. Electro-bombs. They are an entirely stupid idea.

Melissa: I can see the Les Mis thing going on (I think Tess is supposed to be Eponine; or maybe Day? Whatevers...), but I don't think Legend was thought through enough to be really truly inspired by Les Mis. I think I'm getting tired of dystopian novels now.

Melissa: Or officially tired. Whatever.

Me: THG was an amazing novel/series that is untainted by its own followers so it's going to stand out by default. Aside from the fact that it's awesome. It's because of that awesomeness that I didn't NEED to know why the Earth sharted. I had so much else to occupy me that it was inconsequential and I could easily overlook it. Here it's more of the same and especially when world issues keep getting pointed out (the society as a whole, not sure how that would be avoided but anyway, hurricanes in SoCal) my kinda bored brain is going to gravitate there to occupy itself. I'm cranky about dystopias/post-apocalyptic now too because they're starting to get tired. I think that's one of the reasons I'm gravitating more towards adult vamporn now, just for something different. I'm tired of contemporaries with effed up kids because they're so depressing, keep me away from YA vampires lest I stake them, dystopias/post-apoc are starting to blend and PNR isn't a genre I go near anyway. That would expose me to the likes of Hush, Hush and I may explode. So what's left? Not much more than scrapes.

Me: And seriously, those electro-bombs are driving me insane. The more I think about them the fucking stupider they become. It's like a guy punching himself in the dick when he has a hard on. WHY?

Melissa: Because she needed a plot device. :-D

Melissa: That's a good point, Donna, about THG. Hadn't thought about it that way before. (Though you do have to admit that the series fell apart after the first one. Right?) And you're right about the current state of YA fiction: if there's one book that stands out, everyone's bound to copy it. (No pressure for when it's finally my turn to choose a book for this group....) As a side note, I've noticed that for the first time in YEARS, my total YA reading has been down. There's just not much out there that's grabbing my attention anymore.

Sya: I think you're absolutely write about YA at the moment. The last Dystopian book I really enjoyed was Divergent. I recently read Pieces of Us, a contemporary that has put me off contemporaries possibly for life as it was so brutally depressing. On the topic of THG, I arrived at the party rather late and read Mockingjay in a sulk after it had been spoiled for me in a review. Having just re-read the trilogy as a whole I'm feeling a little obsessed with the whole thing. Absolute brilliance.

Me: I don't think the series took a total tank but I wasn't thrilled with Mockingjay (that was the last one, right?). I don't feel Katniss chose properly so it kind of bombed everything from that point on. But I do like it because it was one of the first of it's kind in this new wave of depressing. If I had the time I'd read it again to see if it still lived up. I'm sure it would.

Laura: Yeah so me and Legend aren't going to happen. I hate to skip a book but I can't even get interested in it enough to hate it and rip it a new one. I AM A BAD BOOK CLUB FRIEND.

Me: Between this and WHEN THE SEA IS RISING RED, you should hang your head in shame. Granted I'm about to set the latter on fire but that's okay. I hated Bella less than the pretentious twat in WHEN THE SEA . . .

Emily: I personally loved it. I thought she did a great job of pitting two good characters against each other, and while I feel like the story wasn't new, it was fun. I look forward to the next book.

Emily: well, after reading all of the comments, I must note that I read an arc that had the same color font and style throughout. As I said earlier, the plot wasn't what was interesting to me, it was the characters. I don't know why there were electro-bombs, except that maybe the rebels or whatever they were called also have guns. I dunno. Laura I hate that you couldn't get into it..what was it?

So I think we evened out.  It was OKAY but it had it's issues and ultimately it read like something we've all read before.  Something to file into the "yet another dystopian" category.

This month's participating YAckers -

Ban Factor: Medium - Some swearing and, of course, children bucking the system and doing things THAT AREN'T GOOD FOR THEM.  We all know how banners hate that.
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