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Legend by Marie Lu


a review by Nalini Haynes

Legend, a dystopian YA novel with a far future setting, is a world where climate change and earthquakes changed the landscape. The Republic and Colonies, the remaining factions of the United States, war over a precious resource: land.

June, a 15 year old prodigy, is in her final year at university studying to serve the Republic. A maverick who likes to think for herself, June genuinely believes in the nobility of her country. Day, another 15 year old prodigy, didn’t receive this preferential treatment. Day escaped authorities to live a life of crime like a futuristic Robin Hood.

June’s brother Metias is killed on duty. June’s commander told June that Day killed Metias. Determined to hunt Day down, June takes on the role of Javert  to Day’s Jean Valjean.

June also investigates her brother’s murder…

Social issues

Legend is beyond gender issues. Menz are loving, loyal or mindless automatons willing to carry out atrocities in the name of following orders. Female characters are caring, kick-ass or give orders to carry out atrocities. Characters’ motivations and behaviours are based on who they are regardless of sex-based stereotypes.

Racial diversity is described based on characters’ possible ancestry. In this future world, descendants of today’s US citizens are a mixture of their forebears. June is part Asian.

Day, described as predominantly Mongolian, is easily sunburnt with white-blonde hair. Day may be meant to be an albino. If so, Lu has missed the vision impairment that is an essential feature of albinism due to lack of pigmentation in the retina (part of the eye) but I will forgive her because DAY IS AWESOME. Day breaks the albino stereotypes.

Legend the movie

Legend has been optioned for a movie although there isn’t much information on IMDB. The movie might be in development hell as the author’s news feed doesn’t have any recent information.

USA Today has an author interview and exclusive excerpt from the final book in the trilogy.


Legend has a good combination of action, drama, friends and romance. The world is interesting, providing fabulous visualisation and unexpected twists. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and highly recommend it as a quick read (295 pages) and part of a trilogy – there is end in sight, with the story completely written.

Nalini is an award-winning writer and artist as well as managing editor of Dark Matter Zine.


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