Thursday, January 5, 2012

Audiobook Review: Legend by Marie Lu

Publisher:  Putnam Juvenile/Penguin Audio
Publication Date:  November 29th, 2011

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias' death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills.
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

This book was fantastic- I can't believe it too me over a month to get around to reading it!  To be honest, I put off reading it because I didn't like the cover.  I know, I know... But I can't help it.  Bad cover equals bottom of the TBR pile until someone convinces me to read it.  (I know I'm not alone in this, so publishers take note!)  Anyway, this book got so much love and so many rave reviews from bloggers, that I had no choice but to grab it when my library got the audio...  I'm so glad it did!  I was right when I mentioned on my Top 25 YA Books of 2011 post that I thought this would have made the list if I had gotten to read it in time; not only would it have made it, it would have been UP there on the list- like possibly top ten.

There are many reasons why I loved Legend, but I would have to say that first would be the characters.  This story is told from the POVs of two very different people, from very different backgrounds, thrown together in an impossible situation.  As their affection grows for one another and truths are revealed, confusion ensues, their relationships with other people evolve, and their characters grow.  They both have complicated histories, making them more alike than you would initially think based on their vastly different upbringings and opportunities.  I also enjoyed the supporting characters; I didn't necessarily like them all all, but I liked how they fit with the story, and the fact that Lu took the time to develop them, despite their rather minor roles.  The book would still have been good, had she not done that, but it was so much better because she did.

The plot and pacing were also great.  By telling the story from alternating POVs, Lu was able to reveal things about each character without the other knowing about them, which helped me, as the reader, better understand what was going on, while still keeping the mystery alive.  I thought there was a nice balance of action, emotion, and intrigue in this story; I think the mass appeal of this book has everything to do with that.  The story was original and well thought out, and the world was convincing and well rendered.  The only small issue I had was that it was a bit predictable at times, but I really don't think that it mattered much in the end.  I still give it a 5-star rating, and am still looking forward to reading its sequel on release day (or sooner, should I be lucky enough to get an advance copy), even if it also has an ugly cover...

I really enjoyed the audio.  Narrators Mariel Stern (June) and Steven Kaplan (Day) did a wonderful job with the voices of their characters.  They both had nice tone and read at the perfect pace for the story.  They breathed life into their characters and made them very human to me.  The casting could not have been better!  I highly recommend giving this book a try in audio format.

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★  

Grade Level Recommendation:  This book is pretty benign as far as YA goes.  No sex.  It is graphically violent in a few places, so I wouldn't indiscriminately hand it to a 4th grader, and there are a few swears, but overall, it is pretty clean.  I would say that it is fine for 5th grade and up (ages 10+) and a good option for a pretty advanced younger reader (3rd-4th grade) who has been exposed to some YA already; I would have let my advanced 5th grader read this in 3rd or 4th grade.  Anyone who has read The Hunger Games or watched Star Wars will be fine with the level of violence, which is really the only "issue" in this book.  This book is  a GREAT read for both genders, but I think boys, in particular, would really like it.

1 comment:

  1. i enjoy reading this book! as what you said, Ms. Lu really did a good job writing June's and Day's POV without sacrificing the other. :)


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