Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Champion - Marie Lu (#3)

*There may be spoilers in this review for those that have not read the first two in the series, Legend (review) and Prodigy (review)*

Source: Own Book
Pages: 369
Publisher: Penguin
Series: #3 in the Legend series
Challenges: None

I am a massive fan of Marie Lu and her amazing Legend series. Her books are entirely unappreciated for how good they are. So much so that when a customer at work asked for Legend specifically, I got a little bit excited, raced over the section to get him the book and told him how brilliant it was on the way. I think my reaction scared him a little bit.
Anyway, I have been waiting and waiting for the third and final book in the series since THAT ending in Prodigy, I literally had no clue what would take place in the next book. So I was pretty excited for this one to say the least!

Synopsis: June and Day have given up so much for helping the Republic and now the country is on the brink of evolving into something good. June is now in a elite government position as one of the Princeps-Elect while Day is in a high military position. However, just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak threatens the Colonies and war seems to be inevitable. This plague is powerful and deadlier than ever and it is up to June and Day once again to try and save their country.

Review: This series, and this book alone, have done things that many other series have not succeeded in. The first book was like your typical dystopian - horrible divided America, divided poor and rich sectors, two people meet and fall in love and work together to make things better blah-blah-blah (for the record I love dystopia so the whole sameness thing doesn't bother me too much). However, I liked the fact it was military based, that there was an equal share of June and Day - not one dominating in the narration. I loved how political this series is - I just really enjoyed and loved this series. The second book blew the first out of the water, it was just so good. In all honesty, I don't think anything could match up to that second book. But the third book made a pretty good stab at it.

This book takes the reader in a number of different directions, making you try and predict the ending without having much success until the ending finally hits. As by all Marie Lu's books, I was constantly kept on my toes and for a book that I took me a while to read with lots of university work mingling into my reading time, that really helped to make me absorbed into the action when I did return to this book.
There is just something so BRILLIANT about this book, something I can't put my finger on. I think it is the plot and the premise, but mostly I have to credit Marie Lu's way of writing, which is incredible. This series of books are quite short, particularly as I reflect now on what happens within them. Yet she does this marvellous thing where we have all this intense action, chaos and emotion and then it all slows down, quieten down for a moment when there are scenes of intense emotion or sadness or love. It's something I admire quite a lot, her ability to pace a book - such as an action packed dystopia - like that.

Readers are returned to the ups and downs of the amazing characters of June and Day in the beautifully handled duel narrative. Normally, I prefer one or the other when there are two protagonists, but I can't help but loving both of these characters (although I see a lot of myself in June). The addition of Auden and Eden was great too and I loved both of these characters. It was nice to finally have them in the spotlight of the narrative as they've both been in the background for the series. There is a bit of love triangle lingering in the background of the narrative, which normally I would roll my eyes at...but somehow it works. Not entirely sure how, but it just does.

I cannot finish this review without talking about the ending. Oh my. Lu's endings are brutal for the frequent use of cliff hangers, adding to my love-hate relationship with them. I know many don't particularly like the ending to this book and the series, but I think it's perfect, particularly for the relationship of June and Day. It's ambiguous, almost annoyingly so. But there are many hints for the reader to make up their own mind of the overall solution. In my mind, I have a pretty good idea of what happens after the pages end, my own piece of imagination, my own interpretation. I love books like that.

This review doesn't really justify the beauty of this book. It was a book I thoroughly enjoyed and a great end to one of the best series I have encountered. This series is so unappreciated and I wish I could get lots more people reading this series and giving it the recognition it deserves. CHAMPION had the perfect ending in my opinion, as well as a decent beginning and middle! It's sad to say goodbye to the Republic, to June and Day. But at least Lu has done it in a way that shows the best parts of this series.

I give it a 5 out of 5

Other Books by this author:
Legend (#1)
Prodigy (#2)

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