2 out of 5 stars
This is a two-fer review because I’m never going to finish this series. I can’t believe I read the second book – it was as meh as the first, and serves me right.
June is a 15-year Republic prodigy: holder of the only-ever perfect score on their nefarious Trial, a test given to every 10-year old. Now she’s a military rank-climber with a wild streak, a privileged, rule-breaking kid made untouchable. Also 15-years old, slum-kid Day is the country’s most-wanted criminal. (What kind of military society’s most wanted is a 15-year old kid?) He’s a Banks-y type, out for social rebellion, and has, of course, a heart of gold.
When June’s brother dies, Day is framed for the crime. When Day’s brother contracts the plague, Day is determined to save him. June goes after Day on her own, because of course, at 15, that’s possible. She succeeds… in learning her fellow child is not the criminal supermind her totalitarian government claimed! I may die of shock. June and Day fall in love. More shock. They work together and – giving credit where it’s due – there is an actual shock in this story. June’s assumption that she’s in charge of everything (not the shock) backfires wildly (still not it) and someone dies (there you go). June and Day run – end of book one.
The world-build here is quite interesting, though you don’t find out enough about it until the second book. The United States has fallen, and various factions control parts and people of different lands. The Republic is a militaristic society somewhere around Colorado. The mysterious enemy Colonies are East, and more open, more free… maybe.
Book two has more meat on it, but annoys away any gain. June and Day start working with the rebel Patriots in a plot to (sort of) overthrow the Republic. It would be sharp and interesting except every character has so much doubt. Do June and Day trust each other? The Patriots? The Elector? Does anyone trust them? Can we hem and haw about it for a hundred pages?
The good parts of this story are buried in tropes. Everyone’s a child. Everyone’s in a love triangle. Every plot is the same: 1. Ask someone to do something. 2. Get really mad at them for doing it.
There’s a sidekick character named Tess, a younger girl who Day picked up on the streets and protected. Now she’s grown up and infuriating AF. If anyone’s ever been dumber, I don’t want to read them. I said, “OHMYGODSHUTUPTESS” at least eight times during this book. Finally, I got my wish when it ended.
In short, I pretty much hated these books. So much wasted potential. June is an ice-cold character I was never compelled to root for. Day is more human, but his “love” for June is just words on a page, backed by zero resonating emotion. My English teacher used it say, “Show me, don’t tell me”. He’d be screaming it at this book. It’s a shame, because the world of Legend could be quite compelling. Another story told on this stage could be top notch. This one just isn’t it.