I Give Up Book Review: “Legend” by Marie Lu (2011)

Image result for legend bookI began this book with some hopes that it would hook me as quickly and securely as had The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins, based on both its dystopian plot and its target audience. I found intriguing its method of counter-posing the hunter and prey perspectives chapter by chapter, and the story’s disjointed movement forward definitely adds to the sense of discomfort one must feel while trying to survive in such a society as represented here.

The longer I read, however, the less committed I felt to the book, especially considering that it’s only Book 1 of a series. I’m not a teenager filled with angst, nor am I a guy with loads of free time to spend on mere frivolities. Young people can teach me stuff, sure, but I know I can better spend my time with proven works that are as educational as they are entertaining. This just doesn’t cut the bacon. I gave up a third of the way through.

What I found interesting is that this dystopian society is yet again 100% American, just as it was in The Hunger Games trilogy. Clearly, we’re not the only ones to fantasize about such a future, but I wonder what makes our dystopias uniquely American when contrasted to those of European, Asian, or African writers. Are our heroes more independent? Are our fictional dictators based more upon foreign dictators from the past, since we have so little in our own history off which to base a proper despot? Do our supposed future societies bear less filial responsibility than might be seen in the fictions of other societies? It must be human nature to think, “No matter what happens, I’ll be one of the few survivors,” but do warmer cultures also think, “No matter what happens, my wife and kids and parents and I will be among the survivors”?

If this series is ever made into a movie, I’ll go see it in order to find out what happens with June, Day and the corruption of the future. Otherwise, I’ll not be too disappointed if I never hear about it again.

©2017 E.T.

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