Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Legend by Marie Lu

The market for dystopian books is really crowded nowadays thanks in large part to The Hunger Games. If you love dystopian stories, it seems as if you could have a never ending supply of stories to read. The problem for me has been that the premise of so many of them have been quite thin and the stories themselves seem to lack the magic that really makes them come alive. This is a problem with anything popular--more is published than needs to be. And as a result, I almost don't want to read anything anymore because it's too hard to find the books that really stand out. (several of the more popular series haven't really worked for me, either)

Legend seemed to rise above the noise, though. It received great reviews around the blogosphere and also from sources such as Entertainment Weekly. I was really looking forward to reading it because I do like a good dystopian story.

And you know what? It is a solid book. The premise works. It's loosely based on Les Miserables so you have the clever girl hunting down the criminal. All of this makes sense and sounds like a good story. The world itself is drawn well enough to be believable. You can sense, even in this first book, that there's a lot the reader doesn't know about what's really going on. There are enough questions and surprises to keep things interesting and the pace moves briskly along. So from a technical aspect it works.

Where it failed me was in being able to feel the motivations of the characters. Why is it so important for June to capture Day? The book gives a reason--and a really good one--but I never felt what June felt. Big horrific things happen and while the book makes record of the character's reactions, I still felt at arm's length from them throughout the book. This is problematic because it's a dual first person narrative. I should be feeling everything they do in the gut. But instead these motivations and feelings felt secondary to the plot. And it's because of that reason that even though I enjoyed the book well enough, I couldn't really love it.

I'll probably finish the series. I mean there's so much going for it and so many reason I wish I had really loved it. I do want to see where the story goes and find out more about this world. But I don't think it's a must read.

Rating: 3/5
Source of Book: Sent to me by a fellow blogger!
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile


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