As some of you may know, Legend by Marie Lu is an extremely special book to me. It was the first book that I ever reviewed; it is what made me start my blog and begin reviewing other books, as well. It is also my favorite book, so you could imagine my excitement when Gauntlet Press offered me the opportunity to review the Collector’s Edition of Legend!
The book is basically set up into seven sections: the introduction (written by Marie Lu), the actual novel, the Afterword (written by Ridley Pearson), the artwork, Day and June’s profiles, two “outtakes” from the original version of Legend, and two excerpts from a book that Marie Lu wrote in high school, The Glass Sonata. Every section was equally amazing!!
In the introduction, Lu describes how her earlier works morphed together and changed to become Legend. She also gives some inspirational advice and wisdom to aspiring writers (like moi J) that was really awesome.
The “novel” part of the book was, of course, WONDERFUL. I love this book and reading it for the third time this year, it was just as incredible as the very first time I read it more than a year ago! If you want a review of the actual story itself, you can find it here!
I swear that Ridley Pearson can read my mind. The afterword literally puts my pure, all-consuming love for this book and Lu’s writing into words. Lu is one of the most gifted writers that I have ever had the pleasure of reading, and Pearson’s praises of her are spot-on. She also offers some wisdom to those of us who want to be great writers like Lu.
It is in the next section where I start to get even more jealous of Marie Lu than I was of her writing alone. Not only is she an AMAZING writer, she can also draw. One person should not be graced with so many awesome talents! And I mean her drawings are SO GOOD! I can’t draw for my life; I may actually be the worst artist known to man, so I am exceptionally jealous of those who can draw. But I ABSOLUTELY LOVE the drawings that Lu has done of her characters, especially those of June and Day. They look exactly the same on a piece of paper as they did in my head and they are so beautiful, I love them so much! I’m tempted to hang the pictures on my bedroom wall so I can look at them every day, seriously!
The next part, the “profiles,” was actually really cool. It stated everything about Day and June that you could ever want to know, from their birthdays to their blood types, and their strengths and weaknesses. I really enjoyed reading this part of the book. One thing I must say, though, is that after reading these profiles, I will be even pickier about the appearance of the actors that are cast as June and Day in the movie. Because their appearances are so explicitly stated and detailed, those actors better look exactly how she describes them or I’m going to be really freaking angry! Just by reading the profiles, I fell in love with Day once again, for probably the thousandth time, and I noticed that June and I are really similar when all of her personal information was laid out so clearly. I mean, we’re both 5’ 4”, we’re pretty much the same weight, we both have brown hair and brown eyes, and we basically have the same exact personality, so if I were to be, oh, I don’t know, cast as June for the movie, I would be perfect for the role (*wink, wink, cough, cough*)! Anyway, enough about my freakishly close resemblance to June and my superior acting abilities…. J
After reading the two outtakes, it made me realize that an author cannot include everything that he/she wants into his/her book. I also realized that the ending of Legend as it was when it was published is INCREDIBLE. The alternate ending (which was one of the two “outtakes”) was definitely not as good as the ending that we know and love. If she had ended Legend with the alternate ending instead, the second book would have been completely different, which is crazy to think about since I love the second book so much! The second “outtake” was a scene that Lu had originally written into the story, but she ended up taking it out. It follows Day, Tess, and June as they steal some hotdogs from an unsuspecting vendor for their breakfast. It was a fun scene to read, but ultimately I agreed with Lu’s decision to cut it out of the final product; it wasn’t exactly necessary to the advancement of the plot, but it was amusing to read nonetheless!
The last section of the Collector’s Edition consists of two excerpts from a book that Lu wrote in high school called The Glass Sonata. This is where Day originally shows up, but his personality is more cruel and merciless than that of the Day we all know and love (a lot) from Legend. Even though she wrote it in high school, the story and writing are still amazing, at least in the two sections of it that I read. I really want to read the rest of it! The story was super interesting and it was a fantasy novel (and I love me some fantasy, let me tell ya) that followed a character similar to Day. In the book, society is divided into two groups: the Aristans and the Salans. The Salans are like slaves, while the Aristans are their masters. All of the main characters are Salans. We even see an early version of a Skiz fight, but it's more like if The Hungers Games and a Skiz fight had a baby, then it became even more intense than its parents. The narration of the story is told by Anden, the character who later develops into the Elector Primo’s son in Legend. There is also an early version of June in this book. Even though her name is not June and she comes from the lower, slave class rather than the high class (like in Legend), you can definitely feel June emanating from that character. I think that it takes amazing skill to be able to define a character so well that you can tell it is her, even when she is in a different body with a different name and completely different consequences. Even in high school, Lu was an incredibly gifted writer and I am even more jealous of her! But don’t worry; my jealousy only contributes more to my awe-inspiring respect of Marie Lu!
This book shows me that some people are just born gifted writers, and Marie Lu is definitely one of them. If you love Legend as much as I do, then you should definitely check out this book! It was completely awesome and wonderful and it offered so much new insight on the Legend series that makes reading it so much more enjoyable! I definitely recommend it!!