Marie Lu not only presents a dystopian world that is complete and intriguing, she creates characters that are intelligent, sensitive, and courageous. The first-person POV, with both main characters taking turns telling the story, is a well-executed storytelling motif. I read the books with my Kindle App on my phone and the first book included different fonts for each character. (I’m not sure why the change of fonts wasn’t there in the next two books.)
Legend introduces us to a typical dystopian world where the government is oppressive and a rag-tag band of rebels fight against it and discover its secrets. It is not unlike other popular dystopian YA fictional worlds.
The characters are what make this series shine. The female main character is exceptional in every way—intelligence, beauty, strength, and invention. She is on the side of the government and, though she has a strong independent streak, stands firm in her position. The male main character is on the side of the rebels and is also exceptional—though he never truly knows how exceptional. He is a sacrificial protagonist, giving up his comfort, safety, and welfare for his family and the people of the Republic. They are in many ways the same, but in a few crucial areas, very different. Their relationship is of the reverse-Shakespearian variety. (The guy is placed on the pedestal and the girl feels undeserving, in her own assessment, of being loved by him.)
The first inciting incident happens after becoming invested in the lives of these two characters and presents a difficult dilemma for the reader. Whose side do you choose? As the plot thickens, the dilemmas grow and grow.
Legend, Prodigy, and Champion are equally compelling and action-packed. Marie Lu is also a devoted descriptive writer. Sometimes I found the description annoying because I simply wanted to arrive at the next plot point and blah, blah, blah got in the way. I’m impatient, though, so my critique is skewed.
The ending was satisfying for me. It was not as neat and happy as some readers may prefer, but it seemed consistent with the character’s beliefs and echoed the repercussions of the overarching themes.
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