The moment that Day, street rebel against the Republic, saves June, a young and brilliant soldier of the Republic, from an illegal Skiz fight, we know the two are destined to walk the same path. As they learn Republic secrets they know they will have to fight the regime, possibly with the Patriots (an organized group of dissidents), and unseat the Elector.
Legend takes place in a future Los Angeles, and is narrated alternately by Day (golden-brown ink) and June (black ink). Day is a criminal in that he fights an evil, oppressive government, one which monitors an ongoing plague, but doesn’t allow the poor multitudes to receive expensive vaccinations or cures, both of which exist. Day also scrounges on the streets to provide for his family of two brothers and a mother although his younger brother and mother believe he’s dead. His image is constantly flashed on the city’s many JumboTrons as he is one of country’s most wanted criminals.
Day’s criminal life began when, at age ten, he failed his Trial. “It’s almost always the slum-sector kids who fail. If you’re in this unlucky category, the Republic sends officials to your family’s home. They made your parents sign a contract giving the government full custody over you. They say that you’ve been sent away to the Republic’s labor camps and that your family will not see you again. Your parents have to nod and agree.”
June is from a wealthy family, but her parents are dead. It’s her brother Metias who cares for this prodigy of a girl. That is, until he, too, is killed by a rebel. After he dies, there is nothing that June wants more than revenge. And she’s the perfect person to exact that revenge. She’s the only person in the Republic to ever have gotten a perfect score of 1500 on her Trial. She’s smart, she notices detail, and she’s quite the warrior.
The publishers of Legend want you to connect it to The Hunger Games. Again, as I mentioned with Divergent, the book cover design will cause a subconscious connection with the Mockingjay pin.
Fans of dystopian fiction, particularly The Hunger Games have told me that the romance is equally as important as the fight against the dictatorships. And although I’ve only read stellar reviews of Legend, the romance between Day and June is the one part of the book I find fault with. It seems to happen because it is supposed to. Both teens easily let go of whatever issues they had with the other, especially Day. His forgiveness of June is a tough sell, and the reader should be given more of the process. These two have the hots for one another, but no sparks come off the page, as they do with Katniss and Peta or Trice and Four. Still, this is the first book in a trilogy, and we’ll have the chance to understand the couple’s affection in the next installment. Meanwhile, we get to enjoy a quick, tightly written piece of science fiction full of adventure. Based on my reading, I’m guessing we’ll see some soylent green action, but who knows? I’ll have to get my hands on book two.