In May 2013, I read The Hunger Games trilogy, and minus the third book, I was riveted by the dystopian world, something that has not happened to me since reading The Giver and “Harrison Bergeron”. I couldn’t stay away from the realistic portrayals of Katniss’ world, and I wrote a status update on Facebook expressing my awe on the books. Couple of people recommended me the Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth, and JJ suggested the Legend trilogy by Marie Lu. Hungry for more YA dystopian novels, I put them on my backlog, and last week, I began reading the books and finished both series yesterday.
To compare the two series wouldn’t be fair, but since I read them back-to-back, I can’t help but compare them. Overall, I really liked the Legend trilogy over Divergent. The former proved to get better from book one to book three; the latter went downhill after the first book. The world building was more believable in Legend, and I really could see the correlation to the Republic to North Korea, and I could only wonder if a similar experience is occurring there like what Day and June went through.
Character-wise, I like Four over June and Day because something about him calls to me. I think I admired him for the way he was shown as a mentor. Tris and June were both strong female characters, but I ended up liking Kaede and Cara over them both. In fact, I really loved the secondary characters moreso than the main ones. I have a newfound love for Metias, Uriah, Cara, Johanna, and Anden. Seriously, I have this humongous crush on Metias, and I keep wanting him to be paired up with Day and Anden in an alternate universe, haha!
Which brings me to another point I noticed about the two series — the inclusion of LGBT characters in non-LGBT mainstream YA novels. Just, WHOAH. I swear that surprised me since I’d have never seen LGBT characters in mainstream non-LGBT YA novels when I was in high school! The inclusion makes me happy because it shows just how much time has changed to where it affects literature now. I am certainly not complaining about these subject matter being in the books!
But going back to the series, I really liked Legend better for the more believable plot and the better writing, and I am still struck by the possibility of the Republic being something akin to North Korea. Divergent gave me Four, and I did like the world building, but the series as a whole was just not as good as Legend. I do not regret reading Divergent, but I’d definitely recommend Legend over it.