book review,  dystopian

Legacy, by Ean. W. Lanning

Legacy, by Ean. W. Lanning

Hey guys, welcome back to Bookish Beyond.
How have you been?

Today, I’m excited to be reviewing Legacy, by Ean. W. Lanning.
So, if you’ve got your favourite drink to hand and are all settled in, let’s begin.


The story is set between Old Los Angeles (a beaten-down, dirty place, kept alive only by the grace of Lord Maddus) and New Los Angeles (Lord Maddus’ playground, more or less.) The two halves of the city are separated by an enormous wall, which prevents citizens in either from interacting with each-other.

Manhattan and Tom live in a Dystopian version of Los Angeles, USA, where ruthless guards keep the people in line by imposing a strict set of rules, all under the guidance of Lord Maddus, a power-crazed tyrant.

The fight for Old Los Angeles’ people is being lost, with living conditions getting worse, unless Lord Maddus can be stopped. Young Manhattan must flee with Ford, another young man, if he wants to live, leaving Tom and his former life behind. It is at this moment that Manhattan makes a vow to kill Lord Maddus, no matter the cost.

Soon after, Manhattan is introduced to The Renegades, a rebel group of which Ford is a member. Under their guidance, he is trained in combat, making new friends and strengthening himself over the years, all in the hopes of ending Maddus’ rule over LA. But, secrets are being kept from Manhattan, and he demands to find out what they are. However, once he learns them, his life will never be the same.



Please note: There may be some slight spoilers here.

For the purpose of this review, I’d like to focus on the following four characters: Manhattan, Lord Maddus, Ford, and Tess.

First, allow me to introduce Manhattan. As a young boy, he was raised by Tom, an elderly man in whose care he was placed. Manhattan never knew his parents and loved Tom whole-heartedly. One of the first things I noticed about Manhattan was the special necklace he wears around his neck at all times, a gift from his mother that he was told to ‘guard with his life.’ Manhattan starts the story as a somewhat shy but helpful and caring boy, naïve and afraid of the world around him. However, when his life is turned upside-down and he has no real choice but to join the Renegades, he steadily becomes more confident in himself and is willing to take more risks in life. As he grows, he becomes more curious about the world around him, wanting to do as much good as he can for the people living in Old LA. Ultimately, he desires to take down Lord Maddus himself, to have vengeance over losing Tom, the only family he had ever really known.

Secondly, I’d like to discuss Lord Maddus himself. My first impression of him was of an immaculately-dressed man who had people constantly bending to his will, or else. Over the course of the story, I came to learn that Maddus was a callous and highly-corrupt individual, a man who long ago had become power-obsessed, apparently feeling no remorse for his heinous actions towards those who live in his city. In every scene he appeared in, Maddus didn’t seem content unless he was in control of everyone and everything in his immediate vicinity, a habit which only served to emphasize his overwhelming sense of power and corruption. As the primary antagonist of the story, he felt easy to dislike. However, there was something about him which suggested more depth than the usual classic ‘bad guy’ character trope.

Next, we come to Ford, a young man slightly older than Manhattan. At the start of the story, we are introduced to Ford as a self-assured and confident young man, whose bravery and hot-headedness can get him into trouble. However, as the story progressed, Ford seemed to lose his earlier confidence and enthusiasm for fighting on behalf of the Renegades, becoming a cold shell of his former self. This came to a head at the end of the story, where Ford’s entire ‘self’ appears to have been beaten out of him, leaving the faintest traces of the young man he once was.

Finally, we come to Tess, the Renegade’s resident badass. From the get-go, we are shown just how complex a character Tess is. Smart, beautiful, fierce, and brave, I liked her immediately. She doesn’t take any crap from anybody and knows how to take care of herself. She is always the first to head into a fight, but unlike Ford who doesn’t think things through, Tess’ moves always appeared well thought out. I came to admire how she would swallow her fear, taking action whenever needed, to achieve her goal. Toward the end of the story, we learn about Tess’ background and how she came to be so tough. If it’s possible, learning such information only made me adore her character more as it proved just how much she had overcome so far in life.

Ean. W. Lanning
Ean. W. Lanning: Author of Legacy

Positive Aspects

There were many positives to Legacy, which I have listed below:

  • The character descriptions are vivid, creating a strong mental image. Overall, it was a very vivid, visual story.
  • The world-building is intricate and gives the reader a clear impression of how people in both Old LA, and New LA live.

  • The first-person narration makes the scenes feel so real, and ramps up the tension.
  • The characters felt realistic, nuanced, and with their own unique traits and backstories.

  • The tension-building in this story is wonderful and ramps up steadily. There are many gripping scenes, whether they be fights, negotiations, or scenes where characters sneak about in the hopes of surprising the enemy.

  • The plot moves along steadily, its nail-biting tension imploring me to turn each page.
  • The story was brimming with secrets and surprising plot twists.

  • The story started by giving off the impression that everyone living in New LA was somehow complicit in Lord Maddus’ reign of terror. However, toward the end of the story, this didn’t seem the case at all, with even the guards showing a clear fear and distaste toward Maddus. I thought this flip of impressions was really thought-provoking and well-executed.

  • The story had a good, solid ending with plenty of mystery left for a sequel.


Negative Aspects

Despite the positive aspects, there were some things which I feel let the story down.

  • The author mixed first-person present tense with first-person past tense a lot, which felt rather confusing when reading the book.

  • The story could do with a good proofread as there were numerous typos and errors apparent throughout the book.

Memorable Quotes

The following four quotes really captivated me:

1) ‘We all have a job to do, no matter how unimportant we think that job is. You are no different.’

2) ‘There will always be someone there to fight – Someone will stand up and keep fighting.’

3) ‘I have wanted to leave for quite some time and every time I have tried, something has kept me.’

This quote felt so relevant to my life and I think many people can probably relate to this feeling, almost of being trapped but unable to tear yourself away from the old and familiar.

4) ‘People need to be controlled. They need limits and boundaries from themselves.’

I found Maddus’ argument here fascinating. While I could see his twisted logic in this statement, he took things to the extreme, limiting people’s ability to choose for themselves, having taken away their personal freedom. It is my view that people have the capacity to choose for themselves and to set their own boundaries in life, and should be allowed to develop these over time, or else they shall forever be at the mercy of those who would seek to control them.

Legacy, book review, book quote, bookish beyond, Ean. W. Lanning


Overall, I found Legacy to be a tense and well-written story about vengeance, loss, and family as one young man and a band of renegades hope to overthrow a ruthless dictator that governs both New – and Old – Los Angeles.

Themes included; survival, family, camaraderie, secrets, and war (of sorts.)

My Rating: 4 stars.
Recommended to: lovers of dystopian novels which focus on themes of survival, vengeance, and family.


Would you like more information?

To learn more about Legacy, you can visit its Goodreads page, HERE.
Or, to find out more about Ean. W. Lanning, simply visit his Amazon Author page, HERE.


As always, thank you for joining me for today’s review.
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Have a wonderful week,
Ellie. xoxo

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