Dystopian novels have become a staple of libraries across the country, as series such as the Hunger Games and Divergent have taken the literary world, and later box offices, by storm. Aside from a few exceptions, I usually stay away from the dystopian genre, but I recently took a chance on a dystopian novel and was rewarded with one of the best series I’ve ever read- the Legend trilogy. Not only do the three Legend books seemingly perfect the dystopia genre, but all three rank among my all-time favorites.
The first book of the Legend trilogy, Legend, takes place in Los Angeles in 2150, in a world in which the United States is divided between the Republic and the Colonies, the East Coast is submerged in the Atlantic Ocean and Antarctica is a world power. This dynamic makes the trilogy more interesting, as the imagination of a future world is entertaining and every reference to the old United States feels nostalgic. The novels alternate between the points of view of its two protagonists, Day, a criminal wanted by the corrupt Republic, and June, a highly touted recruit to the Republic’s government. When June’s brother Metias is killed, the Republic sends her on a mission to find the number one suspect, Day. At a fighting match, their paths intertwine and the two must work together to survive.
Thanks to its fast-paced action and engaging writing, I was truly enthralled while reading this trilogy. The novels are enhanced by the two points of view and the characterizations of the protagonists are thorough and realistic and emotion is conveyed powerfully. These books were page-turners in the most literal sense of the word; I read through 300 consecutive pages during one shift at work. And each book grows progressively more interesting as the concepts of the futuristic world and the conflicts between the countries develop.
The Legend trilogy captures the idea of a dystopia in a way that the Hunger Games did not. All three books explore the idea that any government can be dystopian in its own way and how the line between good and evil can be blurred. Aside from entertaining me, this trilogy spurred me to deeply ponder these issues, something many books and movies today fail to do.
Because it shares a genre with so many recent bestsellers, some aspects of dystopia can seem redundant. I definitely noticed this at the beginning of the book, but once I was engaged in the plot the commonalities were overshadowed by the quality of the writing. For those unfamiliar with the dystopia genre, this is a great one to start on, and for those who have read many dystopias, this series has a unique take on the idea.
Finding a page-turning book is both amazing and rare for me, so uncovering the Legend trilogy felt like finding treasure. The Legend trilogy gives a fresh and thoughtful vision of a future world and each book is better than the last, finishing with a thrilling climax. Legend, Prodigy, and Champion restored my faith in the dystopian genre, all while destroying my faith that any dystopian series could be better.