Thursday, December 12, 2013

Review: Champion by Marie Lu

Title: Champion (Legend #3)
Marie Lu
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile (Penguin)
Acquired Via: Library Release Date: November 5, 2013

The explosive finale to Marie Lu’s New York Times bestselling LEGEND trilogy—perfect for fans of THE HUNGER GAMES and DIVERGENT!

He is a Legend.
She is a Prodigy.
Who will be Champion?

June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps Elect while Day has been assigned a high level military position. But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them once again. Just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything he has. With heart-pounding action and suspense, Marie Lu’s bestselling trilogy draws to a stunning conclusion.

My Review

Thar be spoilers infesting these waters if you're new to these seas, matey. Arrr!

The negative:

The plot, or lack thereof. There wasn’t really a whole happening until almost the very end of the book. Or maybe, there was stuff happening, but it didn’t feel like it mattered in the long run. There was a whole lot of Day not telling June information, which is one plot device that drives me crazy. If the only way there is tension between characters is the lack of truth or the existence of lies, I get really annoyed. Mostly because this conflict is normally drug out much longer than necessary, because the quick and easy fix for the problem is the characters just being honest with each other. There were plenty of other issues between June and Day that this was unnecessary. Other than being annoyed with this issue, I found myself kind of bored and uninterested at times, even when there was action supposedly going on. I think a lot of what was happening was supposed to show the reader that Anden was a good guy and not a monster like his dad was. But, there could have been fewer scenes showing the conflicts that were presented to Anden and all his responsibilities, and I would still have understood that Anden was one of the good guys.

The positive:

I was so glad that Day gave us a little recap at the beginning of Champion, because I apparently did not remember that much from Prodigy. I mostly remember not really liking June as much from Legend. I liked June a lot more in this book. She lets down her guard more and we get to see some emotion from her.

I forgot how great Lu’s writing is. I think what I like most about it is that some of her sentences are so bare and stark and then that contrasts with some truly beautiful emotionally powerful statements from the characters. The juxtaposition is a reflection of the book itself – Day and June fighting so emotionally for their war-torn Republic. It is also a reflection of Day and June themselves – Day is so emotional and vibrant and alive, while June is calculating and analyzing everything. For example, this passage from Day:
“You drive me insane, June,” he murmurs against my hair. “You’re the scariest, most clever, bravest person I know, and sometimes I can’t catch my breath because I’m trying so hard to keep up. There will never be another like you. You realize that, don’t you?”

The ending:

As previously mentioned, there wasn’t a whole lot of plot until the ending of the book. But the ending was very well done. It ended mostly realistically to this type of world with a kind of open ending that while not quite happy, allows for the possibility of happy. The two countries did not magically start getting along because June and Day had some miraculously lucky episode that saved the entire world; there is still some conflict between the countries, but they seem to be going in a good direction. I liked the epilogue which allowed us to see 10 years into the future of the world and allowed for a great ending between June and Day.

So, while I was a little bored or annoyed through a lot of the book, the writing and the ending make up for that and give this book a higher rating. Legend was a fantastic book, and Champion gives a good conclusion to the trilogy.

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