ART: Day from Marie Lu’s LEGEND + Book Review & Interviews

Marie Lu and I made a deal awhile ago. Well… after I threatened that I would break into her apartment with a hanger and steal one of her books if she didn’t give me one freely. Therefore, she was forced to give me an ARC (advanced reading copy) of her book, LEGEND. In exchanged, she requested a watercolor painting and I happily obliged!

Click for a bigger view.

On a slight more serious note, when I found out that Marie was a secret, ninja writer and her book is going to be released in November– my mind was pretty much blown. It’s kind of awesome to know someone personally who is a YA author and who is getting published through Penguin Group. Not only that but a movie deal on top of it. Whaaaaaat! Too awesome! Why do I know such amazing people?

The above painting is of Day, the main male protagonist in LEGEND. He also stars in one of her unpublished, past novel (which I also forced her to hand over to me– I’m pretty persuasive, what can I say? ;]) and I found it kind of neat that she brought him back to a new story. In my younger years, I’ve also done a lot of original character recycling in comics, stories and role playing. I can sympathize with a creator’s attachment to their characters.

But back to LEGEND. Read more for an exclusive interview with both Day and the author.

Marie’s book is so fantastic and was a lot of fun to read– everything a YA novel should be. Now, I may be slightly biased since she is one of my closer friends (we enjoy the finer things in life together, like afternoon tea, Nathan Fillion and lots of food) and we’re practically family (our boyfriends are related). So, I will tell you to read this book if you come up and ask me about it.

LEGEND is what they classify as a dystopian novel. I haven’t realized that this genre have grown in popularity among YA readers and it’s kind of an interesting turn of trend- but I won’t get into the ‘I took a class about the apocalyptic genre in media during college’ discussion now. LEGEND takes place in a futuristic (with a hint of steam punk) Los Angeles. The entire United States is not so united anymore. The country is divided into two warring factions: the Republic and the Colonies.

We learn mostly about the Republic in the first book. It is under a dictatorship. If that’s not bad enough, a plague is invading the cities and making people sick. In the midst of it all, Day fights for his friends and family. Mostly, he worries about the health of his family and if they will be safe from the plague. Those in poverty do not get access to the plague medicine as easily as the rich Republicans. But Day is smart and uses his abilities to help the people he cares about. As a result, he has become a notorious “criminal” who stole from the rich and gives to the poor, like a modern day Robin Hood. He’s pretty bad-ass (and snarky) for a teenager.

June Iparis is our female protagonist. She is born into richness, high privilege and is the smartest 17 years old girl in all of the Republic. She is to be one of the most successful individual in her country, promised to a life of honor, riches and comfort. Everybody respected her for her genius but she is also an outcast among her peers who are unable to relate to her. The closest person she has is her brother and her dog.

Day and June weren’t meant to ever cross paths or become friends. Day was a fugitive and the only real reason June would ever have to get near him is if she either had to arrest him. Or kill him.

Marie wrote a story that went in a completely different direction as the world that sheltered and nurtured June started to unravel. Not-so-good secrets are revealed and June finds herself questioning everything she has been thought to believe. She finds herself having to make a choice between her loyalties and what she knows is right. Day’s fate lies in her hands.

Family, survival, tragedy and perhaps some romance– this series of books (as of now, it’s a trilogy) will be a whirlwind, epic story. The author doesn’t let her story linger and the action and drama escalates immediately. I found myself gasping out loud a few times with my hand over my chest. It’s a different experience when you can actually tell the author: “You’re breaking my heart!” I love that she didn’t pull any punches. I love that I can read this book and think: I can totally see Marie think that way! It’s going to be one of the best dystopian novels that will come out later this year. Don’t miss out. Don’t be one of those people scrambling to read the book right before the movie comes out, at least!

Now for an exclusive treat. Day was gracious enough to take time out of his exciting life to fill out a character profile for us.

Day According to Day

AGE: I’m almost sixteen.


FAVORITE FOOD: I’m homeless, so…..anything edible, yeah? If you held  a gun to my head, I’d say fried chicken.

FAVORITE DESSERT: See above about being homeless–but I once stole a real peach from a restaurant kitchen. It was the only peach I’ve ever gotten my hands on, and it was damn good.

FAVORITE DRINK: Sweet nectar wine.

FAVORITE PLACE: Mom’s house.

WEAPON OF CHOICE: Weapon that’s not me? Well, a handmade dust bomb. Simple, effective, and non-fatal. Otherwise, sweetheart, I’d say my hands and legs.

WEAKNESS: Family members in trouble. Orphans in Los Angeles’s poor sectors. Also, pretty girls.

FAVORITE JOKE: The Republic cares about you. *dies laughing*

HEROES: Dad, Mom.

If you watched our modern TV, what would be your favorite show? I’ve seen some of your goddy shows. Game of Thrones is interesting, especially that Daenerys girl. I’d love to punch Joffrey in the face and show Sansa a good time with a better guy. I don’t understand the jokes on Family Guy. And Doctor Who has some sort of travel device that I would find VERY useful.

Most stunning feature: I get a lot of compliments on my hair, so I’m going with that.

Favorite thing about yourself: I can run up the side of a building like nobody’s business. I bet I could be even faster, but sometimes I have a little soreness in my bad knee.

Mini Q&A with the Author

What is your favorite thing about Day?
Day’s a little insufferable at times, but I love that he keeps his hopes up even in the worst situations. (Situations I’m guilty of putting him through, I guess. He would kill me if he ever met me in real life.)

What do you think people will like about Day the most?
LU: I hope that it’s his habit of helping those weaker than himself, as well as his desire to make up his own mind about the world he lives in. He’s a survivor.

What was your favorite part about writing a strong, female lead like June?
June was really challenging for me to write because she’s much smarter than me. We are such different people that I sometimes had trouble getting inside her logical mind. I loved that challenge, though, because it meant I had to look up a lot of really random facts about things that she already inherently knows. She has helped me expand my horizons.

What are you most looking forward to that readers will hopefully take away from LEGEND?
I hope most of all that readers are entertained by LEGEND, and that they finish the book feeling very attached to the characters. I really hope that they’ll like Day and June! Also, I hope afterward that readers feel a need to uncover the truths of their own worlds, to not take everything at face value, to dig deeper into how their lives are connected with their society. None of us live in a vacuum, and the decisions we make as individuals have far-reaching effects that we’re not always aware of. As Day would say, “Walk in the light”!

Visit Marie’s personal site at - like her on facebook or follow her on twitter @Marie_Lu.

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Watch the trailer released by Penguin:

Pre-order the book from, IndieBound or Barnes & Nobles.

Read: Lu’s dystopian novel is a ‘Legend’ in the making by USA Today — they also have the first 40+ pages of the book available to read!

Check out the official site for Legend at

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You can follow the Space Pirate Queen on Twitter @punkagogo.

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