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.
Dystopias can be a little hit and miss with me, maybe it’s oversaturation or the fact that all the good, interesting YA books seem to be dystopias and very near-future dystopias (where are my space books? Cyperpunk? Solarpunk? Steampunk? Where are the books with an apathetic government rather than one that is actively working against its people?). I read The Giver and wanted more, I read the Hunger Games and was quite happy never reading Catching Fire or Mockingjay. I bought Catching Fire but it is still sitting in my Kindle unread.
In other words, I was surprised at how much I liked the world in Legend. Maybe it was teh fact that the world was portrayed from the POV of people from the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ of the world. Day was someone who had been betrayed by the world he lived in and was fighting back, a very familiar character arc for dystopias, while June’s character arc was a little more unique in the fact that she had everything going for her, and she gave it all up when she realised the corruption of her world. June’s character arc was the far more interesting of the two and I adored her relationship with her brother and her finding out what her brother had really been thinking. I wish he had lived – a brother and sister working to take down the corrupt system from the inside would have been excellent to read about. The plot went in a different direction and I can’t really fault it for that, it is simply I would have preferred to read about the plot going a different way. But that’s more personal preference than anything else.
The thing that really let down the book I think was the romance between June and Day. It was lacking in chemistry, happened too fast, too soon and is generally exactly what I hate about romances being shoehorned into YA dystopias. If it had read as a relationship that had become too intense, too quickly because of the situation they both were in, then I could have found it better than what we got. June and Day were excellent characters in their own rights, I felt the romance was unnecessary, I couldn’t see why the two of them were even romantically attracted to each other and it soured the book for me a little. And it’s definitely put me off reading the sequels to it, especially now June is a Have-Not like Day.
Despite the last paragraph, I would recommend this book. If it hadn’t had that romance, it probably would have got a higher score than it did.