Marie Lu‘s engrossing YA sci-fi trilogy offers a dystopian vision of the future US. In Legend, the first book, the action takes place exclusively within the Republic. Its territory corresponds to the Western states of today’s US. There, a military dictatorship holds sway under the banner of democracy. The country is waging an endless war with the Colonies, which occupy the Eastern, Southern, and Midwestern states.
In the Republic, the supreme leader is a man called the Elector Primo. A small elite enjoys great privilege and lives in luxury while the overwhelming majority is desperately poor. And government laboratories engineer a new variant of a Plague that reliably keeps the population of poor people in check. But each year the elite receive a vaccination against the new variant.
Prodigy (Legend Trilogy #2) by Marie Lu (2013) 386 pages @@@@ (4 out of 5)
In a gripping YA sci-fi trilogy, a dark vision of a future US
In this terrifying society, we meet two extraordinary 15-year-olds. Both have achieved perfect scores in the Trial that’s administered each year to everyone at age 12. June Iparis, daughter of a wealthy family, is “the Republic’s most celebrated prodigy.” She holds an envied position in the Army. But Daniel Altan Wing, known as Day, was told he had failed the Trial. He has long since left slum home for a hardscrabble existence on the street as a rebel. Day has become the most wanted criminal in the Republic. In Legend, the first book in the trilogy, Day and June have teamed up in opposition to the regime of the Elector Primo.
Two teenagers living in the shadow of a dictatorship
Now, in Prodigy, book two, June and Day’s resistance to the Elector Primo shifts into high gear. They join a clandestine resistance group called the Patriots. Then, in chapters that alternate the two teenagers’ perspective, we follow their lives in the shadow of the dictatorship. Eventually, we will learn at last the truth about the Colonies and the war between the two American states. Expect to be surprised. And you’re unlikely to guess what happens to the two protagonists as the novel sets up book three in this brilliant YA sci-fi trilogy, Champion.
For further reading
I’ve reviewed the first book in the Legend Trilogy, Legend, at Far-future teens battling for survival in dystopia. And I’ve included Marie Lu on my list of Six new science fiction authors worth reading now.
For more good reading, check out:
- The ultimate guide to the all-time best science fiction novels;
- Great sci-fi novels reviewed: my top 10 (plus dozens of runners-up); and
- The top 10 dystopian novels reviewed here (plus dozens of others).
You might also check out Top 10 great popular novels reviewed on this site.
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