The usual YA dystopian yarn - same old, same old: Legend

Legend - Marie Lu


Somehow all the YA novels I read in autumn 2012, when I had decided that I needed (an overdose of) brain candy, tend to blend together in my memory. I guess that I seriously overindulged and as a consequence all of these novels seemed a bit bland and repetitive with only one or two of them standing out – a bit. Then again, there really is an abundance of YA novels out there that deal with very similar topics, employing similar (dystopian) settings and story-telling devices that I can hardly tell them apart anymore and am having a tough time remembering protagonists’ names and idiosyncrasies.

The recipe seems to go something like this: Throw together an “unlikely pair” of teenagers from different social backgrounds, one sheltered and blind to what is going on around them, one hardened by life and circumstances and aware of glimpses of “The Truth”, isolate them in their flight from or fight against evil superpowers/corrupt government/ societal restrictions/supernatural adversaries/etc., have them overcome a number of obstacles and weather dangerous situations in their lonely fight for freedom/truth/peace/love so they grow dependent on one another and learn to appreciate the assets each of them brings to the partnership. Having them fall madly in love with one another but be restrained by doubts and trust issues is an integral and mandatory part of the mix. Occasionally season with a sprinkle of betrayal, real or perceived, to add spice and heartbreak. Finish with a forced cliff hanger. There. Done.

Well, it’s not fair of me to take out my boredom with the repetitiveness of the genre on this particular novel. Legend at the very least attempts to be different by telling the story from the perspective of both male and female protagonist alternately – in present tense even – with different and differently coloured fonts and all. Actually, I quite enjoyed reading this. June and Day develop a nice dynamic and they grow into strong and independent characters before they team up. They do start out as enemies fighting each other after all. Both protagonists’ family background is truly heartbreaking. Poor June! Poor Day! There’s a big conspiracy afoot and a lot of action and unanswered questions to keep me interested. I’m pretty sure that I will pick up the second part of the series once I have sufficiently recovered from this recent YA overdose.