Series: Legend #1-3
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Publication Dates: November 29, 2011 / January 29, 2013 / November 5, 2013
Source/Format: Bought || Hardcover; Borrowed from Rachel || Hardcover
I read my fair share of dystopian novels in my earliest days of blogging. While it’s a time that is long gone now, and I do generally avoid most reads from that genre these days, I find that I can be swayed by a recommendation from a trusted friend. Rachel (and Kelly) both convinced me to pick up this trilogy; though I waffled over it initially, I finally found myself swayed by the knowledge that these two have really never steered me wrong when it comes to books. And, true enough, I was correct to trust them – Legend, Prodigy and Champion proved to be worthwhile reads. Though I found the first book to be a touch average, it ended on a note compelling enough to encourage me to keep on and pick up its decidedly more impressive sequels.
The setting is really interesting, placing readers in a world where the United States has been torn apart into two separate entities – the Republic and the Colonies – who are at war. Lu builds her world, adding further details with every novel, and by the time you’ve reached the final book, you have a better idea of what’s what. Lu has crafted one of the most impressive dystopian settings I’ve ever read about, painting the portrait of a war-torn country and complicated political situation really well. The plots, rife with complications and intrigues, are another interesting, well-done aspect of this trilogy. Lu doesn’t hold back when it comes to making her characters face the realities of their situation – whether it’s the war, the class disparities, the lack of manpower and materials, the secrets or anything else. I really appreciated how it all played out, both in the characters of Day and June, as well as for the Republic as a nation. It was realistic in both the triumphs and defeats, as well as true to the personalities involved.
And then, there are the characters. Day knows his way about the streets, capable of pulling off the most unexpected capers. He’s smart, driven by loyalty and love, which often leads to recklessness and impulsive decisions. June knows her way about the military, trained well in drills and procedures and duty. She’s incredibly smart, observant, a born strategist, but not so quick to open up and be vulnerable with others. The story alternates between their points of view, which helps readers get to know each individual better. The dual narration definitely helps the reader appreciate the growth these characters have experienced by the end, since each one bears witness to defining moments in their lives. These two, however, are not the only memorable characters that populate these pages, as Lu has ensured that readers will remember important secondary characters like Tess, Eden, Pascao and Anden, who all have very significant roles to play in this story.
All in all, I’m really quite glad my friends encouraged me to give this series a shot. I definitely got invested in discovering what would happen to Day, June and the rest of the Republic with each successive twist. Heavy on the politics and on the emotions, the series is well worth checking out if you want a unique dystopian read.
In case you were curious about my thoughts on each individual novel, you can see those below:
Legend was a decent beginning, though I personally felt like the plot was predictable and the relationships a little bit dry initially. The latter third of the story, however, drew me in completely, almost certainly due to the faster pace and higher stakes. By the time I hit the end, I knew I was going to have to keep reading in order to find out what happened next. Day was initially my favorite character, but June slowly crept up and stole his spot by the end.
Prodigy was jam-packed with action and intensity right from the start, since Day and June have irreversibly been thrust into new circumstances. The quick pace and unexpected twists were key in making sure to grab and hold my attention in this one. I was certainly pleased to witness a little growth in both Day and June, since their strenuous circumstances demanded it of them. The ending was definitely a game-changer, and I was curious to see how that would affect the next book.
Champion was definitely my favorite of the trilogy, mostly because the world has been fully realized, the plot is still full of action and intrigue, and the characters have definitely evolved. There was a lot to be tense about (I seriously felt like I was having palpitations somewhere in the middle towards the end). But Lu handles it all deftly, giving the series the ending that it truly deserves - and one that also feels incredibly realistic.