The basic premise of Legacy is an interesting one: in the near future, pharmaceutical companies have created mood altering drugs that have then gotten out of hand. You can get large doses of euphoria that allow you to float in a haze all day. There is a fear altering drug to help people with PTSD. Any emotion you want to feel–or not feel–has been made into a drug you can take. Where we now use our phones to ignore our surroundings, the drugs in Lex’s world takes it to another level. Unfortunately at the point that Legacy starts, all of the information about these drugs is given to us secondhand. We are not in the action when they discover that the drugs are not actually safe. Of course giving people emotion altering drugs makes them too violent or too passive. Legacy is set after the government has banned the casual use and production of these drugs. And that is where things stop making sense.
It is a loss that Legacy starts after all of this. It would have been far more interesting if we had been included in this action instead of reading it second hand. For some reason– presumably because people were addicted to these drugs–when the government recalled the drugs they descended into a light dystopian world. I say “light dystopian world” because I don’t feel like this was particularly clear. Yes, we know that there have been bombings of bridges and that the city is not particularly safe for Lex, but much of this is given to us through Lex’s thoughts, which aren’t particularly detailed. She simply tells us how it is, she doesn’t show us. It seemed like San Francisco was the only city that had been abandoned, because when Lex was in her hometown everything seemed fine. To me, this does not qualify as a dystopian world.
Legacy seemed like it was the bare bones for a dystopian novel that was missing the meat of the story. We had all the hallmarks of a dystopian novel:
* Resistance figures going against the big, bad government, check.
* Bonus for not giving a clear reason why the government is bad, check.
* Girl who constantly writes herself off, check.
* Sudden love interest, check.
* Instant-love, check.
This is not Ellery A. Kane’s fault, because many authors have followed this same formula to create a dystopian novel. It is just frustrating to see a synopsis of a book that sounds quite amazing, like Legacy, turn into yet another of the same story with a different book cover. Unique dystopian books can be done. They just need to stop following the plot of The Hunger Games with only a few things changed.
I enjoyed Legacy until I realized that its unique premise didn’t really carry the same oomph through the entire novel. The plot wasn’t really surprising; any sort of point that was supposed to be shocking was rather obviously laid out. I would have felt more empathy for the characters and their backgrounds had they been given more of a personality throughout the story. I assume that when their pasts were revealed we were supposed to care for them but they came too late in the novel to really give any sort of impact for me.
I received a copy from the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for a honest review.