‘Legend’ launches readers through harrowing dystopian journey

kathrynbaginski

LegendcoverI’m racing through the streets of a dystopian Los Angeles, running for my life from the oppressive military government. I can hear propaganda blaring from the big screens all over the city. My heart is pumping rapidly and adrenaline courses through my veins.

I just haven’t left my bedroom yet.

Marie Lu’s debut novel “Legend” launches the reader right into the story, never slowing down even at the very end. The story of famous criminal Day and military prodigy June captivated me, even the second time around.

In what was once the eastern United States, the military dictatorship called the Republic wages war with its western counterpart, the Colonies. June, who was born into the elite military class, is being trained for Republic success. Day, who was born in the slums, is the nation’s most wanted criminal.

The “New York Times” bestseller “Legend,” published in 2011, begins the trilogy about the unlikely friendship between these two starkly different characters. After June’s brother is murdered, their two paths cross, and they unfold the mysteries and atrocities of the Republic’s government.

With a thrilling plot to keep readers hooked, Lu delivers many hard truths about real problems. She deals with biological warfare, the disparity between the rich and the poor, the oppression of a military dictatorship disguised as a democracy. These issues yet Lu weaves them throughout the plot seamlessly.

Lu offers the teenage perspective on these complicated situations, which is something readers don’t often get. Although the teenagers in this book contain almost superhuman capabilities, they are still relatable. Their reactions to the Republic’s cruelty exemplify how confusing it is to face

This book is 305 pages of blood-pumping adrenaline and heart-breaking tragedy, and the adventure doesn’t even end there. The “Legend” trilogy forced me to think outside the box and wonder how I might deal with such difficult situations. Lu taught me to take each day one at a time and, most importantly, to “try to walk in the light.” If we all strived to walk in the light each day, even a country as horrible as the Republic would not seem so bad.

To start on the journey to the light, in the Marian library or on Overdrive, Marian’s digital library.

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