Literature / Legend Trilogy
A series of dystopian Young Adult novels written by American author Marie Lu.

The series is made up of 3 books, the first of which is "Legend", followed by "Prodigy" and "Champion".

In a dystopian future, the USA is divided into two rival nations: "The colonies of America" and "The American Republic". Every year, all 10-year-olds of the Republic must go through the "trial". Those who are successful move on to the the best schools and universities, usually followed military and government careers. Less satisfying results lead to a life of poverty, or worse.

The story is told in dual perspective, narrated by the two 15-year-old leads: Day, a boy from the poor, plague-ridden sectors of LA and a wanted criminal turned legend, and June, a prodigy born into one of the Republic's elite families, and the only person in the history of the Republic to receive a perfect score on her trial.

Their paths cross when June's brother, Metias, is killed on a military patrol. The blame falls on Day, and June vows to capture and bring him to justice. She sets out to the poor sectors, disguised as a street rat, in pursuit of Day. Their encounter sets off a chain of events that inevitably changes their lives, and the fate of both nations.

Legend's film rights have been sold to CBS Films, with Twilight producers Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen set to produce. Jonathan Levine is currently set to direct the film.

Legend contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: June. The republic's prodigy, trained in combat from a young age. In her first narration, she clues the readers into having skipped class to climb a skyscraper.
    • Kaede also qualifies.
  • After-Action Healing Drama: At the beginning of the second book, when Day and June are on the run from the Republic, one of their biggest concerns is finding a way to fix Day's leg.
    • Later in that same book, after Anden's foiled assassination, June collapses from illness when she and Day flee to the underground tunnels, and he's forced to carry her all the way through to The Colonies so that they can find her a hospital.
  • After the End: The Colonies and the Republic are located in what used to be the United States.
  • Artificial Limbs: In the second book, Day has to get a part of his leg replaced, after being shot in the first book. They replaced his bad knee (damaged by Republic experiments when he was 10) while they were at it.
  • Bad Dreams: Day seems to be plagued by these, and large parts of his narration are often spent recanting them.
  • Battle Couple: Day and June.
  • Big Bad: The Chancellor of the Colonies.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Metias to June, since he has been basically raising her since they're parents died.
    • Also Day to Tess.
  • Big Damn Heroes: After June's skiz fight with Kaede, she's cornered by an angry mob, made up of the gamblers who lost money betting against her. Enter Day.
  • Bittersweet Ending: As of the end of Legend, Day has been saved from execution, but his mother is dead, his older brother John dies while taking Day's place in the execution, and his younger brother Eden is in the hands of The Republic, most likely dying of the plague mutation. Also, after saving Day, June has become a fugitive, while her brother's killer, Thomas, walks free.
    • By the end of the prodigy, it seems like things will finally pick up for the Republic after Anden takes over as elector. Both Day and June have been pardoned, with Day being hailed a hero, and June being offered the role of Princeps-Elect. Eden Has been freed and is receiving medical treatment. However, Day and June have not worked out through any of their issues. Eden might be permanently blind and in the final chapters Day discovers that he is dying, which prompts him to break up with June, leaving both of them heart broken.
    • By the end of the series Day gets shot in the head, forcing the doctors to remove a growing tumor, in the process damaging his memory. He wakes up with no memory of June whatsoever.
  • The Brute: Kaede. She's very tall, and is described by Day as "hitting like a bull".
  • But Not Too Black: Day is half-Asian and half-white but is described as having blond hair and blue eyes. The author explains how this is possible here.
  • Child Prodigy:
    • June is the only child in the history of the Republic to get a perfect score on her trial or so we think. Her status as prodigy is so much a recurring theme that the second book is even named prodigy.
    • We later learn that Day did just as well on his trial, but it was covered up by the republic.
    • Eden, Day's younger brother, is described as the smartest member of the family- which says a lot, considering. In one particular example, Day and John asked him to help them fix an old radio. He was four at the time.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Day gets this after he's caught by the republic. Especially from Thomas.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: The Elector Primo, who has been running the republic for decades, largely responsible for the rotten state its in.
    • In Prodigy, this changes when he dies, and his son Anden takes his place as Elector.
  • Divided States of America: The story takes place with America being divided east to west: the dystopian Republic where the ghetto sectors are used for plague testing and the Colonies, which are suggested to be a shining utopia. In Prodigy, it is discovered that Colonies is a heavily consumer dominated, corporate police state.
  • The Dragon: Commander Jameson.
  • Dystopia
  • First-Episode Spoiler: Metias dies.
  • Genki Girl: Tess, at least in Legend.
    • And she's back to her old Genki ways by the time champion comes around.
  • Inspector Javert: Thomas shares many character traits with Javert, including a strict separation of right and wrong (in his own opinion), being born and raised in the slum districts of Los Angeles (the same place as Day, but while Day uses his childhood as proof that the government is working against poor residents, Thomas uses his experience as proof of the benefits of hard work and obedience, a la "The Confrontation" in Les Mis), and most importantly, when his view of Republic superiority is shattered by Colonies troops entering the capital, he chooses to commit suicide by engaging in a one-man suicide charge.
  • Knife Nut: This is often the weapon of choice for the main characters, as guns can be easily traced.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: Thomas obeys Commander Jameson's orders to fire into a crowd of protesters, killing dozens. During his trial in Champion, he continues to show obedience and courtesy to Anden, who just handed down a death sentence (as opposed to Commander Jameson, who used her time to speak at the trial to constantly insult Anden and other leadership figures).
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: Thomas killed Matias, his best friend, due to Matias' treasonous hacking into government servers.
    • Despite being sentenced to death for following orders and engaging in a lengthy dialogue with June about how he feels abandoned by the Republic while Day, a barely reformed criminal, and until recently, traitor, is now a national hero, he chooses to engage in a suicidal attack against invading Colonies soldiers, shouting patriotic slogans, no less.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Daniel Altan Wing as Day.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Grace, Day's mother.
  • Sacrificial Lion: John, Day's older brother, and Kaede.
  • Sherlock Scan: June. She even tends to randomly analyze what materials objects in her vicinity are made of.
  • Shoot the Dog: Commander Jameson orders Thomas to shoot Day's mother in the head in order to lure Day out, which Thomas does without a second thought.
  • Spanner in the Works: Legend is Spanner in the Works: The Novel. Who thought that sending an attractive teenage female super-spy to capture an attractive teenage male super criminal was a good idea, again?
  • Trauma Conga Line: Poor, poor Day. Even before the narrative takes place, at the age of 10, he is experimented on and then left for dead by the Republic. By the end of the first book, his mother is shot dead in front of him, he's captured and tortured by The Republic, and his older brother John dies to save him from execution. Not to mention his younger brother Eden is in the hands of the Republic, and most likely dying of the plague mutation.
    • By the end of the second book, he finds out he's dying, which causes him to part ways with June, who by this point is one of the only people left close to him.
    • As the third book opens, Day has spent the last 8 months plagued with headaches and slowly dying. He has also not spoken to June during that time, which just adds to his misery .
  • Worthy Opponent: The Republic hadn't even the slightest hint as to Day's identity or whereabouts for years. enter June.
  • X Meets Y: Les MisÚrables meets Kim Possible.