As we await the rest of the cast of Divergent to be announced and mark off the months until Catching Fire’s release (about a million years from now, right?), there’s plenty to keep our minds full of paranoid visions of a dark future that can only be saved by a couple of brilliant teenagers. Take, for instance, Marie Lu’s Legend trilogy, whose second book, Prodigy, hit shelves today. If you haven’t picked up the first, let us assure you that it’s not to be lumped brainlessly with all the other dystopian young adult novels out now — largely because of its unique characters, who take turns narrating their story. There’s 15-year-old Day, the Republic’s most-wanted criminal, whose ability to run from authorities and basically leap buildings in a single bound (parkour-style) helps him complete all sorts of Robin Hood pranks, stealing from the government to feed the poor. And then there’s 15-year-old June, the Republic’s star prodigy, who’s about to graduate early from military academy when her older brother (and only family member, since her parents’ death) is brutally murdered, she thinks, by Day. Their interaction is as tense and emotionally complex as the Jean Valjean/Javert conflict in Les Miserables, which Lu says was a partial inspiration for the story.
We caught up with Lu at San Diego Comic-Con last July, shortly after the screenplay for the Legend movie, which is being produced by Wyck Godfrey among others, was handed in to CBS Films. And it wasn’t hard for us to imagine a big showing for the film at one of the Con’s giant halls sometime in the future. “That would be amaaaazing. My fingers are crossed!” Lu said.
While she’s been in the loop on the screenplay, she doesn’t know what will be done as far as casting the movie, especially since it doesn’t yet have a director. (Warm Bodies‘ Jonathan Levine was once attached, but MTV reports that he’s since dropped out.) “I know you can’t find someone that’s exactly the way that I picture them in my head. I think they’ll do a pretty good job casting them in general. There’s only one character that I wrote with an actor in my head, and that was Metias, June’s brother. I always pictured Ben Barnes. I just love Ben Barnes. I’m going to cast him in anything that I write. I’ll squeeze him in there.” Read more…
If there’s one thing we love about dystopian novels for young adults, it’s the idea that in the future, smart, brave teenagers will save the world from the terrible, oppressive world the grownups created for them. The Hunger Games‘ Katniss gives us hope for the next, next, next generation. In Marie Lu’s Legend, which is in stores today, we have two brilliant 15-year-olds ready to kick ass, if they don’t kill each other first. And for day two of Dystopian Week, we’d like to introduce you to Day and June.
Legend (the first in a trilogy, of course) is already in development as a movie — produced by Twilight‘s Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen, and directed by Jonathan Levine, who’s making zombie-in-love YA adaptation Warm Bodies for Summit right now. (Head over to Hollywood Crush for an interview with Lu about the book and her involvement in the movie.)
We’ve been hearing about it for MONTHS now, so we were almost worried the book couldn’t possibly live up to the hype. If it were just up to the action sequences and the vision of a dark future in which the Republic of California is a country under military rule, at war with the Colonies (the rest of the former U.S.), the novel might not be such a phenom. It’s the characters that make it so. Day has been living on his own since he escaped execution at age 10, and now he’s the Republic’s most-wanted criminal, due to his daring, Robin Hood-esque pranks. He robs banks and sets military equipment on fire, but mostly just tries to steal enough to provide for his mother and brothers while he and his young sidekick Tess live in the streets.
June is the Republic’s most promising prodigy and is nearing her graduation from college and into a military life at just 15. She’s looking forward to following in the footsteps of her brother Metias, who’s raised her since the death of their parents. Read more…