Book Review: Champion by Marie Lu

32
Posted 11/05/2013 by alicemarvels in Dystopian
champion marie lu review

Rating

Rating:
 
 
 
 
 


Overview

Genre:
 
Author:
 
Year:
 
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
 
Release Date: November 5, 2013
 
Page Count: 384
 

PROS:

June and Day make you remember why you love them; epic romance; believable (and frightening) future world, but one with hope
 

CONS:

emotional rollercoaster
 
BOTTOM LINE

A thrilling and worthy conclusion to the LEGEND series

I’ve been waiting for the finale to Marie Lu’s Legend series since the thrilling end of book two, Prodigy, so excitement levels were high when I finally cracked the pages of Champion, and found out what’s next for June and Day. Champion is everything a dystopian finale should be—full of heart-pounding danger, complicated emotions and impossible decisions for the characters we’ve grown to love.

spoilerlegend

Warning: a few spoilers for Legend and Prodigy ahead!

 

When we begin Champion, we find Day and June a bit out of their element. They’ve given their support to Anden as the new Elector to the Republic, and it has changed their lives dramatically. Day is a celebrity, no longer cowering in the shadows with the Patriots, but living in comfort and trying to keep a low profile with his brother Eden, all while nursing a dark secret. June is the Princeps-Elect, no longer patrolling the streets as part of the Republic’s military forces, but spending her days trailing Anden and attending Senate meetings full of political bickering. As the threat from the Colonies grows, June and Day find themselves once again working together, and it’s a wonderful return to the heroic, romantic relationship dynamic that makes this series so wonderful.

 

Here’s why Champion is such a satisfying ending (and why the entire Legend series rocks, for that matter):

 

Worthy Heroes

June

Don’t you love when the heroes of a thrilling, action-packed tale are actually worthy of their story? June and Day aren’t coasting by on past heroics—neither of them has ever chosen the easy route, and this story is no exception. In case you may have book amnesia and you’ve forgotten why you love them, they are quick to remind you.

June is still the hyper-intelligent strategist who can’t help but note every detail around her, but her heart is her strongest attribute, and she would break her own if it meant the happiness of someone she loves. Day has never encountered a bigger obstacle than the one he faces in Champion, but he doesn’t stop defending his family and his people in spectacular gravity and authority defying fashion, scaling buildings and carrying out one daring mission after another. These characters are easy to love and root for, even though they’re not perfect and have made many mistakes.

 

Epic Love

june and day

(artwork by Marie Lu)

“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?” I tilt my face up to see him. His eyes reflect the faint lights from the JumboTrons, a rainbow of evening colors. “Billions of people will come and go in this world,” he says softly, “but there will never be another like you.”

I love that June and Day’s romance smolders and thrills without threatening to overwhelm the rest of the story. I also love that it’s not the center of either of these characters’ universes. June and Day have intense passion and respect for one another, but also a sense of individual pride and self-preservation. They love each other fiercely, but they aren’t possessive and just want each other to be safe and happy—a tall order in any dystopian world, but especially so for two of the Republic’s most notorious faces.

There can be no doubt the love between them is epic, once-in-a-lifetime stuff, but there are so many things that get in the way, and family and the defenseless, powerless people of the Republic sometimes must come first. I don’t think this romance would have been nearly as epic or emotional had it been written any other way, and I’m very satisfied with where it goes in this finale.

 

Realistic Future World

Republic

We’re already well acquainted with the iron-fisted Republic, and though we see it in a state of transformation from a ruthless military state to something less despotic, it is by no means a perfectly safe place for its citizens. In Prodigy, we are given an alternative in the corporation-run privatized government of the Colonies, but it too provides an imperfect system of rule. In Champion, we see the futuristic, gamification obsessed Antarctica, and while its hi-tech capital city has many charms, one wonders what the darker side of its game-style reward based government might be.

Marie Lu imagines a future world that is an imperfect, realistic culmination of years of existing political tensions and ideas. There is no clear victor to root for in these political struggles, and our loyalties (and for that matter Day and June’s), are torn while seeking the lesser of all evils, much as they are in the real world.

 

Cinematic action

Day fleeing Colonies soldiers in Republic in Champion

I couldn’t be more happy that Legend is headed for the big screen, because the action in these books is thrilling, unforgettable, popcorn munching stuff (anyone else just shovel popcorn in their mouths when the action is super intense onscreen as a way of coping? Champion is going to be a jumbo sized popcorn finale of a movie, if it gets made).

 

A series finale with heart

finale

Champion reminds me why I’ve always set the Legend series in its own league, even as the dystopian trend saturated bookshelves with similar stories. The Legend characters and their stories are full of heart and relentlessly hopeful, despite the cruel world in which they exist. It is not just fun, it’s emotionally gratifying to root for these stories to go the way you want, and to feel heartbroken when the characters you love are hurting. If you take away the futuristic world and place these characters in a fantasy novel or a contemporary setting, I’d still love them and care so deeply about what happens to them that my fingers would grip the pages, because Legends appeal goes far beyond being a successful dystopian trendsetter. The ending takes all the heart and goodwill built up over the series and gives us a satisfying end, one that will leave us happy we invested so much emotion and energy into reading it.

 

Overall:

Champion is a worthy conclusion to the Legend series, and it might just be the best book in the series. The stakes are incredibly high, and emotions run high for the characters, and for the readers who love those characters. And after three books with June and Day, it’s impossible not to feel strongly for them. I feel sure I’ll never forget them.

 

Watch the trailer:

Don’t miss the action-packed Champion trailer!

Read an excerpt here.

Earlier this year, in celebration of Prodigys release, Marie Lu stopped by to discuss the fashion of the Republic. Check it out!

 

Note: All quotes have been taken from an ARC copy of Champion, and may have changed.


32 Comments


  1.  

    I just scanned this since I haven’t started this series yet but I am so glad that it was a worth conclusion to the series. I always worry about ending of series, sometimes they break your heart, sometimes they make you mad and frustrated and I hate it when that happens. When they end like you expected or at least are happy with, it is always nice to see. 🙂




  2.  
    Leah

    I can’t wait to read this! I really love June and Day. I agree they are worthy heroes!




  3.  

    I still haven’t read Prodigy so I didn’t read your review. I’m very happy to see that rating though!




  4.  

    I skimmed a bit since I have the first one on my tbr, but haven’t gotten to it yet. I will though and I can see that I will enjoy this latest edition. Oh and I love your spoiler alert graphic!




  5.  

    Oh, wow, to be perfectly honest, I haven’t had much luck with this trilogy, not like I had with Veronica Rossi or Tahereh Mafi. But I still love how you described this conslusion and I’m very eager to read it. My favorite thing is that Day and June aren’t obsessed with each other and that their feelings are so healthy and not selfish at all. That alone makes this worth reading.




  6.  

    Cool 😀 I really should try this series




  7.  

    I reviewed this yesterday and also loved it. Hooray for an emotionally satisfying ending to a dystopian trilogy, an ending that isn’t sappy and unrealistic or dreary and depressing. And hooray for characters who are allowed to be vulnerable, heroic, risk-taking, noble… I was just so pleased by this book.
    Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen @ YA Romantics




  8.  

    It’s obvious you are very passionate about this series. I don’t know why I haven’t picked up it up. I guess I better hurry before the movie comes out. The romance sounds phenomenal. I love books with an iron government. They are so creepy. This is on my must read for 2014 list!




  9.  
    Love dance!

    I red prodigy in one day!!! I can’t wait to read champion!




  10.  
    Astrid

    <3 I've read it! This book is so well written! I cried on the early chapters of Day. It's so sad…




  11.  

    Amen for worthy heroes and epic love. You’re so right about the whole series — Lu is fantastic at getting to the emotional core and wringing it out of you. It’s definitely a book far and above the dystopian trend; it transcends it. Can’t wait to read this final installment!




  12.  

    I still haven’t started this series but everyone is talking about it right now so I’ll get to it soon probably. Well I’m so happy you enjoyed it and an emotional rollercoster is always a pro to me. 🙂




  13.  

    This series is at the top of my list too. I think it’s because I absolutely love June & Day. Well, I know that’s why. I made such a connection to them, and really feel my heart pound right along with them. This series IS something special. Haven’t got Champion yet. Can’t wait!




  14.  

    I read your captions, admired the pics and watched the vid, since I haven’t read this series yet. I am glad it was a good ending ..I will move forward on this one!




  15.  
    Anonymous

    Gffvvbjhg




  16.  

    I want to read your full review, but I still need to read the first book. I think I will soon since now I’ll be able to read them all close together. Your con would be a pro to me … yay for emotional roller coasters! lol




  17.  

    Now that the third book is out, I’ll definitely grab the books and add them to my read list. I think I’ll like the emotional roller-coaster ride that this series offers. Thanks for sharing!




  18.  

    I must admit that the reason I never got into this series is because by the time it came around, I had gotten SO burnt out on dystopians and they were all starting to blend together. But I think I was definitely too hasty in casting this series aside – because I think it speaks volumes that you feel this series truly stands out among the sea of dystopians. That it is special and full of heart. I know I now want to read this series sometime!




    •  
      Anonymous

      Yes I was really over dystopians 2 after reading the divergent but I’m glad I gave it a chance




    •  

      I agree with Dual Mom. You are such a strong woman – what a great role model – to your kids and others of us who need it. Thank you for sharing your story with us!And, I love the new look on the blog. I've been out of touch for a few days, so I may be belated with the colnpimemt, but it looks great!




    •  

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  19.  
    ...=D

    I’m reading prodigy and I’m so glad that the ending of champion is a happy ending




  20.  
    LOL

    OH MY GOODNESS THE ENDING IS SO FREAKING SAD. UGH I HATE JUNE FOR DOING WHAT SHE DID AT THE END :-: SORRY. SPOILERS. I SHOULDNT SAY THIS BUT OH MY GOD DO NOT ABSOLUTELY DO NOT DO NOT NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NEVER EVER READ CHAMPION. IT IS ABSOLUTELY SAD AND HEART BREAKING AND. Im saying this for your good. Just dont read it. Ive cried for like 20 minutes. cuz of this.




  21.  
    Mike

    I haven’t Read it yet but i have read every other book 5+ times so hyped




  22.  
    jade

    what is the champions’ book photo supposed to be?




  23.  
    Hatesendingof Champion

    Ugh I hated the end of this book! It made me cry so much




  24.  
    Anonymous

    Wh is the girl?




  25.  
    Anonymous

    Who is the girl?
    The first photo and the trailer? 🙂




  26.  
    BB

    Here’s the thing while I loved the trilogy. The ending to champion had me a little disappointed. Now don’t get me wrong it was a great book. The ending just didn’t feel right for this book, and I’m not going to go around telling anyone how to write a book. Just in my opinion the ten years later was a bit cliché. Please no hate for this it is just my opinion and like I said I loved the books either way.




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