Book Review: When Legends Rise by Daphne Self
(Legends of Light Book One)
“So, this is a dangerous book?”
“Dangerous to a few. People in power do not like books that contain ideas contrary to their own beliefs or their narrative. Especially books that teach freewill and grace.”
His decommission day had come, Juliet 7-A, “Jules,” an elite assassin of the Global Federated Territories, flees for his life and in search of his brother-in-arms, Juliet 7-J, “JJ.” His path converges with Abigail du Soleil’s, whom Jules takes in as a passenger. She’s in possession of a dangerous stolen program, the GHOST, and trying to find her way home. Soon Jules realizes that Abby, JJ, and his copilot, Huey all have one thing in common: they are all part of the Christian Coalition—the people that might be able to help him find his brother and reclaim his humanity—and the very people he used to hunt.
When Legends Rise takes place in a future where humankind has achieved space flight as far out as colonies on Mars and the Jupiter Station, but is also under the control of the GFT, Global Federated Territories that has outlawed dangerous books—texts that the illegal Christian Coalition are seeking. Abigail has hacked and stolen a program that would have led to the demise of her friends and family in the Coalition and must trust a former assassin for her safety, but she comes to view him as a friend, maybe even more than a friend.
I enjoyed this action-packed, fast-paced novel. While it takes place in a future world with advanced technology, its focus is on the characters. The story centers on Jules, who was taken from his family at a young age, enhanced, and trained to be a super-soldier and assassin. He wants to leave his past behind him, but part of reclaiming his humanity is regaining the painful memories the GFT program stole from him.
My only criticism of the story is that sometimes its fast pace, especially during actions scenes, breezed over descriptions that left me not quite sure how to visualize some of the areas that the characters were running or fighting through. Particularly, sometimes they were in access tubes or tunnels on Mars base, but I personally had a hard time visualizing the compartments they were in. I especially would have liked the underground Coalition base in Antarctica to have been described in greater length. However, the lack of description is something I commonly struggle with in sci-fi that tends to have a lower word count than fantasy.
While the story does contain romance between Jules and Abigail, it doesn’t overpower the story. It’s not a “romance in space.” Rather, the romantic tensions are a part of Jules learning how to navigate human relations and emotions that had been stripped from him for most of his life. If you’re looking for a hard sci-fi that delves into a lot of tech, space flight, and “sciency” stuff, this novel is not that. But if you like character-driven stories filled with heart and emotion, and quests for answers and truth from a Christian viewpoint, you will enjoy When Legends Rise.
This is clean read appropriate for ages 13+ and I highly recommend this novel. It is the beginning of a series, but even if you’re not into reading series, this novel concludes the story nicely and could be a stand-alone read.