Legend by Marie Lu
I gave up on Entertainment Weekly after continually getting books I didn't like that had come highly recommended by EW. It turns out that it may be, in part, my fault. Lori has been recently getting books and saying "You might like this." - sometimes before she's even read them herself.
Legend tells the story of Day and June in alternating chapters, living in a dystopian future where the United States has collapsed and different portions are at war. Day and June both live in the United States. Both are prime individuals, she of military and scholarly prowess, he of the not-quite-bad criminal element. They both live in Los Angeles, a city shrunk by the rising sea but also crippled by regular plagues that affect the poorer zones. An industrial military element controls the city and a test at age ten defines the future of the citizens of this country which is ruled over by a leader who's just been elected for an eleventh four-year-term.
So it's probably no surprise that these two individuals' paths will cross and that the story will try to figure out how they relate to one another while we learn more about the world they live in. The author says that inspiration is from drawn from Les Miserables, which I haven't seen/read.
The story is entertaining and moves at a good pace. But if there's one thing that bothers me, it's the age of our protagonist and antagonist. At 15-years-old, it feels implausible, that she would have risen so far, that he would have committed so many crimes. I had to repeatedly suspend disbelief. I know difficult times force children to grow up quicker, but this just didn't seem likely, that there's a level of maturity that isn't there at this age, regardless of how much of a prodigy someone is. (Or from what we've been studying in regards to parenting, often this comes with a deficit elsewhere.) I suspect there's also supposed to be some sort of subtle messaging here with parallels to modern or past historical wars, but I think I'm gifted at missing those pointed criticisms of the real world buried in most fiction.
I will be reading at least the next book in the trilogy.
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