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Legend - Marie Lu When I think back to when I first heard about Legend, when I labeled it as a definite must-read for 2011, I had a feeling that this new alternate-dystopian trilogy will become something big. Now that I’ve read it -- and have been hanging on these thoughts for the past month, since I’ve read it -- I can say that it is much more than just ‘big’; it is legendary. With the film rights being bought earlier in the year, Marie Lu’s visionary world of Legend will soon become real. The Twilight-team are behind this project, and if they could get a legion of fans behind Twilight *cough cough* then there is absolutely no doubt why the same cannot be said for Legend. Sure, Legend will be up against The Hunger Games and possibly Divergent, but whatever the outcome of which one is superior in its scope, Legend will still end up becoming a blockbuster, as is the novel -- in my eyes of course! (That isn’t to say I don’t adore the other two trilogies -- I do just as much.)When you look at the United States today, a country comprised of fifty states, you wouldn’t suspect that a war would occur in the centre of it; between them all. Marie Lu creates a ruined and segregated US, "The Republic of America”. Long gone are these states. Now, two opposing nations are at war with one another -- the Republic and the Colonies. Although the hows, whys and whens of this separation and happenings are briefly/indirectly touched on in Legend, there is enough to keep you thinking about the rest of this world and how else might Marie Lu build upon it in the next two books. If you want to know why, then here is what happened: After sudden floods made oceans rise (>100m), East parts of the US lost half its lands but the West stayed mostly together. The West built a barrier dividing the US in half, due to the amount of people trying to take refuge from the devastated East, into the West. Ever since then the two sides have been fighting over the lands, and therefore, we find the two opposing nations.The Colonies are the slums where Republican soldiers monitor, keeping a watchful eye for households with members of families or entire families infected with the plague, marking their doors with an X. By contrast, the residents of those living in the Republic are given vaccines every year to avoid the plague. Each individual is born and raised to serve their leader, determined more than ever to finally eradicate the pests that are The Colonies. Within this war-torn continent, Marie Lu has provided us with two kick-ass characters, Day and June, to invest our emotions into. There is also a thrilling, suspenseful and cinematic plot which unravels before our eyes that we are able to experience and discover along with the characters. We too, are given the opportunity to see Day’s and June’s lives develop and due to the circumstances and events thrust upon them whether for the better or for the worst, ultimately unfold. This happens because of the alternating points of view between Day and June. Day, the most-wanted criminal in the Republic, and June, a military prodigy. Their lives come together through difficult circumstances that affects both characters deeply and when they finally do, they make an invincible, intelligent and dynamic duo.It wasn’t until the other day, a few weeks after I read Legend, that I realised what one of Marie Lu’s inspirations were. She has given us a futuristic modern-day retelling but with younger characters, of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. Day being "prisoner 24601” Jean Valjean and June as (Inspector) Javert. I thought Marie did an exceptional job at bringing these classic personas into Day and June, and supplying them with a world in which they can portray them.Legend is one of those books where I found it difficult to draw a line between the plot and the characters. They drove, fought and steered each other all the way to the very end, creating a story that you can easily be captivated in. There were many gasp moments during the book because of the direction the plot took, making me pause and reflect on what just happened: on what the characters had just witnessed and what I had just read. Marie excelled in forging an emotional bond between the reader and the characters which fundamentally was the driving force in my personal record of reading a book in one single sitting, in one night, in less than four hours. I’m a slow reader but I was gripped from the first page and soon, devoured the three-hundred pages of black and gold font.Marie Lu has won my heart with Legend as Suzanne Collins did with The Hunger Games, and I will never forget -- oh! how cliche can I get? -- the experience I had when reading it. These are novels that will stick with me for my entire lifetime. My views of the world are changed from what I learn in these novels which reflect on what our future could shape up to become. We have the chance to shape it for the better so why shouldn’t we take it?