Review: Life Before Legend: Stories of the Criminal and the Prodigy (Legend #.5) by Marie Lu



Title:  Life Before Legend:  Stories of the Criminal and the Prodigy
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher/Year: Penguin Group (USA) 1/15/13
Length:  48 pages
Series: Legend #.5


Find out more about June and Day in this never-before-seen glimpse into their daily lives before they met in Marie Lu’sNew York Times bestselling LEGEND series. As twelve-year-olds struggling to survive in two very different worlds within the Republic’s stronghold, June was starting her first day of school at Drake University as the youngest cadet ever admitted, and Day was fighting for food on the streets of the Lake sector. LIFE BEFORE LEGEND contains two original stories written by Marie Lu that give readers a sneak peek into the lives of their favorite characters in a thrilling new context.

My Thoughts

I really wanted to like this novella – i’m a HUGE fan of novellas since they give you a glimpse into characters and their lives that you dont get in the bigger book.  what happened here though, wasn’t that at all.  we get just a short chapter for each of them, and it’s just a snippet into a day or 2 for each as well so you don’t even really get into anything of any substance.  We get a preview into how Day’s mind ticks in terms of being a loner, but we don’t get the story on how his knee gets better since we know that it does to an extent since he scales walls and all that

We also only get the beginnings of the story of June – and hear about everyone’s perceptions on how she’s managed to excel and all that – which was nice, but still not quite enough.

so sadly, as much as i wanted to feel happy about this one, i’m really on the edge of 2-3 stars.  sorry Marie Lu, i really do LOVE the series itself, this was just a #novellafail in my eyes.  If any of my readers though think otherwise, i’d love to hear your take on the novella.

Review: Prodigy (Legends #2) by Marie Lu


Title:  Prodigy
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher/Year: Penguin Young Readers Group 1/29/13
Length:  384 pages
Series: Legend Series #2


June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the two join a group of Patriot rebels eager to help Day rescue his brother and offer passage to the Colonies. They have only one request—June and Day must assassinate the new Elector.

It’s their chance to change the nation, to give voice to a people silenced for too long.

But as June realizes this Elector is nothing like his father, she’s haunted by the choice ahead. What if Anden is a new beginning? What if revolution must be more than loss and vengeance, anger and blood—what if the Patriots are wrong?

My Thoughts

At long last, and you all can’t possibly imagine my level of anticipation on this one, the second installment of the Legend series has finally arrived.  What’s even worse is that life got in the way over the past week so it took me several days to read vs. the 1-2 that it would usually take for a book that i’m this excited about.

All that being said, Marie Lu hasn’t disappointed and the story was amazingly well written and really held my interest.

We are brought up to speed while on a train from Los Angeles to Las Vegas where June and Day have stolen on board so they can escape LA where they’ve managed to avoid Day’s execution with the help of June’s brilliance and the Patriots.  The Patriots are based in Vegas and this seems to be the last hope for Day and June if they want to get Eden (Day’s brother) back and some how hide and get to the Colonies

As can be expected – nothing is ever cut and dry.  Upon arrival to Vegas, they find that the Elector Primo has died and his son Anden is taking over.  Day and June manage to cross paths with Kaede who they learned was part of the Patriots in book 1 and she helps them get medical care for Day who was injured in the escape as well as help develop their path and future roles.

Kaede takes them to meet Razor who is the ‘leader’ of the Patriots who has a plan to assassinate the Elector and feels that June is the best person to lure him into position since she has met Anden, is the Prodigy of the Republic and well, Anden has a thing for her.  Day it’s decided will be the one to actually kill the Elector, and June and Day agree to this deal only because they have no other choice in freeing / finding Eden and getting themselves to the Colonies.  So this is where the story goes, twists/turns and develops.

One of the things that i LOVE about the writing is that throughout the story, June’s perspective remains on of extreme awareness – she’s always taking in the details of her surroundings like she’s preparing for Plan B.  she’s always therefore aware of when people are telling her the truth and when something just doesn’t seem right.  This is where she’s really useful since she learns things about the Republic/Anden and The Patriots/Razor that really impact her decisions.

Day on the other hand has his mind set on things, knows what he has to do to get to his brother, but realizes that he has real feelings – feelings of love for June that somewhat complicate things for him.

Tess…not she comes back in a way that i hoped would happen yet i wasn’t sure if would . See, from the weeks that she was separated from Day, she seems to have come into her own, grown up a little, and of course decided that she’s got this crush on Day.  when they reunite, the thing between Day and June complicates things further for her.

so…this story is full of excitement while we’re watching what unfolds for June in her role w/ Anden, Day as we see what he has to do for both his own sake and for Junes….as well as deciding who we should really believe and trust.

What’s killing me right now is that apparently we’ll have to wait until 2014 for Book 3…which is WAY too long to get my questions answered

1) who is to be trusted

2) will Anden survive and what will he do if he does?

3) What is June going to decide- what side is she on?

4) What’s Day’s role in everything and what is he going to do with his personal relationships?

5) what’s the deal with Razor – will he get what’s coming to him?

soo many more questions yet i don’t want to put spoilers here so that’ll be all.  if you haven’t read it yet – PICK IT UP.  i’m usually not a fan of bridge books in a trilogy but this one was AMAZING

Re-Review: Legend by Marie Lu

With the sequel coming out really soon, i decided that i needed a refresher and reminder of what happened in the first installment of the Legend series.  Boy was i glad that i took another read because i thought i really enjoyed the book before and now i love it.  i think that it was one of the first dystopian genre types that i read, and it was a good lead into one of my favorite types of books.

In any event, we are introduced to June in a post revolution society where there’s no such thing as The United States of America – that’s a thing of the past that no one quite believes in but instead a war between the Republic (which June is a part of), and the Colonies.  there’s a 3rd group in the mix as well – the Patriots who are an underground group that kind of works to over throw the republic (most likely the colonies as well)

So….back to June – she’s 15 maybe, and she’s supposedly the only person in the Republic to have ever scored a perfect 1500 on her Trials.  The trials are a series of tests that each 10 yr old has to take that determines their path.  There’s a test, physical evaluation and interview.  June scored perfect and was put on an accelerated path into and out of school and up the ranks.  her brother Matias is also some what of a genius and he’s a captain in the military for the Republic.  He also serves as a guardian and parent to June since their parents ‘died in a car accident’ years earlier.

Then in a parallel story we meet Day who is from one of the poor sectors and who ‘failed’ his trails.  As a result he was sent to the labor camps and escaped his fate there, turning to a life on the streets, and somewhat of a life of ‘crime’.  He’s made a name for himself with his ability to ellude the military and the republic, to commit crimes against the Republic and evade capture and even identification for the last 5 years.  It’s rather impressive if you think about it – for someone that ‘failed their trials’ don’t you think?

June’s and Day’s paths cross when one night while on patrol at the hospital, Matias is killed and it’s thought to be from Day’s doing.  June goes on the hunt for both Matias’ killer and Day who are supposed to be one and the same.  She manages to locate Day, get somewhat close to him, help the military capture him and that’s when things all go pear-shaped.

One of the best things about this story is that even though you really are expecting everything that happens for the first 2/3 of the story – the last few chapters are kind of on a path of their own.  you hope that you’re right about a few things, and know that you are about others yet you don’t quite know where the sequel is going to take you.  this makes me so anxious for Prodigy – book 2 in the series since i want to know what happens to all the key players and what becomes of their stories.

1) What happens with June?

2) what has happened with Day?

3) What’s happening to society and what direction will it take?

4) do you like Thomas? (just one that i’m throwing in there) – i don’t

5) what’s the story behind Chian and Commander Jameson?

6) does Anden play a role in the 2nd book?  i feel like he should but he was only mentioned in like 1-2 pages in Legend