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Legend, a dystopian young adult novel by Marie Lu, was originally made on November 29, 2011. It is the first book of The Legend Trilogy, followed by Prodigy and Champion. A film adaptation of Legend is currently in the works.
What was once the western United States is now home to The Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June Iparis is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.
- From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.
Legend is set in dystopian Los Angeles, in a time where North America has devolved into two warring countries: The Republic and The Colonies. Mixed into this fight is a rebel group, known as the Patriots. Legend centers around Day and June, two 15 year-olds from opposite sides of the economic spectrum. June is a military prodigy (with a perfect score on her Trial, the method of determining a child's physical and mental capabilities), born into an elite family, and "groomed for success in the Republic's highest circles." She has a habit of getting into trouble with her superiors, as her stunts at her military college are often rather dangerous. With no parents to rely on (they were killed in a car crash years before), she can always count on aid from Metias, her older brother.
That is, until the day Metias is mysteriously murdered while guarding a hospital. The prime suspect is Day. Day is a 15 year-old boy born into the meanest slums of the Republic and the country's most wanted criminal. Day's crime spree started early on, after his father was beaten. But this would have most likely meant nothing had he not failed his Trial. He was sent to the Republic's "work camps," which turned out to really be labs to experiment on the supposedly worthless children who had failed the Trial. The Republic took samples from Day's body and left him for dead, but he managed to escape. From then on, he led a life of extreme poverty, living on the streets with his friend Tess, a 13 year-old orphan who had been found three years prior to when the story occurs. Day hated the Republic, and used his phenomenal athletic and intellectual capabilities to harass them, attacking their military bases and hospitals, and generally causing chaos. It is during one of these attacks that Day supposedly murders Metias.
June is sent to find Day, and turn him in to the Republic. After posing as a girl from the slums, Day rescues her from a fight, and he and Tess help heal the knife wound she was given during the fight. After a little while, Day and June realize that they're falling for each other. However, neither of them know who the other person is. They wind up making out in an alley, unaware of the circumstances. But then, as Day is falling asleep, June sees him reach for the pendant that he had once had around his neck. The pendant he lost at the site of Metias's death and the pendant that June has in her pocket. June makes the connection, and suddenly, all her emotions conflict. She says nothing, but follows Day when he wakes, watching him enter his house. Based on the marking on his door, she knows that someone (that someone turns out to be Eden, Day's little brother) has the Plague, a deadly disease that spreads through different sectors of the Republic every so often.
June decides she has no choice but to report Day, and she calls back to her superiors, notifying them that she's found Day. The next morning, military medical trucks head for Day's family's house, and he heads off to save them. June goes after him, but not before telling Tess to hide. Day tries desperately to keep the military from taking his family, but June has already tipped them off. They capture Day's family, forcing Day out of hiding. He tries to resist capture, but Thomas, Metias's childhood friend, and the new captain of Metias's old military unit, shoots Day's mother in the head, killing her. Day goes into a rage, trying to kill the soldiers, but Commander Jameson, the leader of all the units, and June's commanding officer, shoots Day in the leg. Day awakes, a captive of the Republic. His brothers John and Eden have been taken captive, his mother is dead, and he was betrayed by June, the girl he thinks he might love. He is in a Republic base, however, and there is little he can do to resist. He is questioned, with a great level of violence, by June, Commander Jameson, and eventually Thomas. His leg is still sore, and he can't even stand, making the beatings worse.
Eventually, his execution date (for his crimes against the Republic) is set to be four days away. However, the more he talks to June, the closer they grow, and the more she trusts him. He insists that he did not kill Metias, and she, believing it possible, takes a closer look at the pictures of her brother's corpse. She realizes that there are two knife wounds, one in the shoulder, where Day says he hit Metias with the knife, and one in Metias's chest. June looks closer at the knife, and sees rifle grease on the handle, the same grease that was on Thomas's forehead the night of Metias's death. She realizes that if Day was right about not killing Metias, he could be right about other things. For instance, he had a theory that the Plague was spread by the Republic, not by natural causes. This theory is also shared by her brother, Metias, who created a secret blog for her before he died, telling her what he supected. The more June mulls it over, the more she comes to accept it. She eventually strikes a deal with the Patriots for their help, freeing Day on the morning of his execution. However, his brother John dies in his place.
- June Iparis, a 15 year-old prodigy who scored a 1500 (100%) on her Trial. Born into an elite Republic family, her parents were mysteriously killed in a car crash, leaving Metias to care for her. She is Day's love interest, yet she is also his enemy and a friend. Her first encounter with Day was a rouge to find out his true identity, only seeking revenge for her brother's death, since he was the accused. She's very analytical and smart, able to keenly survive on the streets, and a bit of an uptight, tense person. June has long, dark brown, almost black hair, that she likes to tie in a tight high ponytail.
- Daniel "Day" Wing, a 15-year-old prodigy who scored a 1500 (100%) on his Trial. He was born in the slums of the Republic. Day is the Republic's most-wanted criminal and the suspect of Metias's murder. Day is a mix between Mongolian and Chinese with long light-blond hair.
- Metias Iparis, June's older brother. Metias is murdered violently one night, and investigators suspect that Day is the murderer, although the crime was actually committed by Thomas, who framed Day.
- Thomas, Metias's old friend who is believed to be in love with June, and has a special hatred against Day. It is later indicated that Thomas is in fact Metias's murderer.
- Eden Wing, Day's younger brother who has tragically caught the Plague.
- John Wing, Day's older brother who is killed by the Republic's firing squad in a sacrifice to save both Day and June in a life-threatening situation.
- Commander Jameson, June's hardcore commander and sort of another parent to June, being that June's brother and parents are dead.
- Tess, Day's 13 year-old partner in crime and caretaker. Tess was abandoned by her parents and taken in by Day when she was only 10.
- Chian, June and Day's Trial administrator.
- Grace Wing, Day's mother. Mrs. Wing is killed by Thomas under Commander Jameson's orders in a raid in the Wings's home.
- Taylor Wing, Day's father. It is stated that Mr. Wing was killed before the story's beginning in the book.
- Mr. and Mrs. Iparis, June's parents. June falsely believed that they were killed in a car accident, but a blog that Metias created before he died told June that the Republic executed them.
- Kaede, a Patriot known to be involved in wrestling fights. She helps Day and June escape the Republic after June pays her a large sum of money.
- Ollie, June's loyal Sheppard who helps coax her through the tragic period of Metias's death.