Review: Champion by Marie Lu

Champion

Champion
by Marie Lu
Series: Legend #3
Published: 05 November 2013
Putnam Juvenile, Hardcover, 369 pages
Source: Purchased

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WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR FIRST 2 BOOKS.

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: 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.

With heart-pounding action and suspense, Marie Lu’s bestselling trilogy draws to a stunning conclusion.

Rating: ★★★★★

If you’re reading this, it means I’ve finally forced myself to sit down and write a review of Champion by Marie Lu. Why have I been dragging this? Once I’ve finished this review, it’ll feel like I’ve said an official goodbye to Day, June and the entire Legend trilogy. I might never get to really wax poetry on my love for this spectacular trilogy again (unless a movie adaptation is released). However, farewell is inevitable.

I’m unsure whether I’ve mentioned this before, but I simply adore Marie Lu’s simple and fast paced writing style. It complemented the action and suspense in Champion incredibly well and had me glued to every page. Before I continue with this review, I should probably share some of my reactions to the end of Prodigy and Champion‘s synopsis:

  1. DAY IS DYING?! WHAT. MARIE LU. WHAT. IN. THIS. GODDY. DARN. WORLD. ARE. YOU. DOING. TO. OUR. HEARTS.
  2. I knew there would be a plague outbreak sooner or later.
  3. Oh, that beautiful cover. Let me grope it!

Now, I am obviously not a very sane person but at least I’m honest.

Moving on. Day and June had a prodigious amount of growth since Legend. They were chewed up by life then spit out in a mess over and over again but instead of letting that cripple them, they came back wiser than ever. Gone were the childlike naïveté they had at 15, in its place were 2 young adults forced to grow up too quickly. Having gone through their gruesome journey with them in the whole of the trilogy, Day and June have grown on me so much, as if they were my personal friends.

I remembered back when reading Legend, I had been a little iffy about the lack of information on the world outside of the Republic. Let me just say that in Champion, the believability of the rest of the world was unprecedented. Marie Lu’s concept of Antarctica and its capital city, Ross City, was absolutely fascinating! Moreover, the world politics involved were realistic yet not overly complicated. Basically, I simply revered the world building!

I’m going to avoid any sugarcoating and outright tell all of you that Champion was an extremely emotionally crippling book. The choices faced were impossible and heartbreaking and the stakes higher than ever. All the characters in Champion, not just Day and June, were so intricate and Marie Lu portrayed each of their pains in life beautifully. I could really tell how the events in the story affected everyone, no matter what social class or where their allegiances laid.

Regarding the very end of the book, it’s hard for me to rationally express my feelings about it but I will try. I died but I survived (in a way). My heart was shattered then pieced back together all wrongly. Oh, and my eyes were leaking like problematic faucets. Leaking is actually a severe understatement. Despite it crushing me, I utterly loved the way Marie Lu ended the trilogy. You simply know an ending is perfect when you can’t imagination anything better. I completely understood and admired June and the decision she made towards the end. It was painful but selfless and I’m not sure if I would have the strength to do that had I been in her place.

Overall, I just want to wrap this trilogy up in a pretty package, lock it in a private compartment in my heart and throw away the key. Though I think I might’ve already done that… Endearing, action packed, intense and heartrending, there’s no way I wouldn’t be recommending this trilogy to everyone I know! And now I guess it’s time to say goodbye. Before I end this off, I would just like to say a huge thank you to Marie Lu for sharing Day and June’s phenomenal journey with all of us readers and I would not ever forget them nor this awe-inspiring trilogy.

Adelena

Review: Prodigy by Marie Lu

Prodigy

Prodigy
by Marie Lu
Series: Legend #2
Publication Date: 29 January 2013
Putnam Juvenile, Hardcover, 371 pages
Source: Library

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WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR LEGEND.

June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the two join a group of Patriot rebels eager to help Day rescue his brother and offer passage to the Colonies. They have only one request—June and Day must assassinate the new Elector.

It’s their chance to change the nation, to give voice to a people silenced for too long.

But as June realizes this Elector is nothing like his father, she’s haunted by the choice ahead. What if Anden is a new beginning? What if revolution must be more than loss and vengeance, anger and blood—what if the Patriots are wrong?

In this highly-anticipated sequel, Lu delivers a breathtaking thriller with high stakes and cinematic action.

Rating: ★★★★★

After reading Prodigy, Marie Lu is inarguably one of the best YA authors I’ve come across (meaning I  desperately want to meet her) . Prodigy was impossibly even better than Legend, every moment so real I just fell headfirst into the world of June and Day. I was pleasantly surprised that all the characters had so much depth and I could picture them all as real, actual people. Basically, Prodigy completely swept me off to its dystopian future.

June and Day’s relationship faced many difficulties in this book as they were separated. Although all the doubts coming between them had me bleeding on the inside, I understood why said doubts appeared in the first place. They came from such different background and it was bound to cause problems sooner or later. Moreover, they’re only fifteen/sixteen (my age) so it was really relatable.

However, the one problem I did have, was that June and Day seemed a little too young for the intensity of their relationship. One way of looking at it is that they are way beyond their years, but this age issue still bothers me a little, being sixteen myself. The great things about this book though, far outweighs this little drawback.

I found June’s dependence on being analytic to prevent nerves utterly endearing and it completely sets her apart from other characters. I cannot reiterate enough how much I admire her prodigious (pun totally intended!) skills and downright genius brain. Although said genius brain wasn’t so genius when it came to figuring Day out. Her conflicting feelings about assassinating Anden was utterly justifiable because she’s been raised to protect the Elector her whole life. We can’t begrudge her inability to ditch a life-long instinct in the blink of an eye.

As for Day, although he too wasn’t wholeheartedly for killing Anden, his anger at the The Republic for ruining his family and using his younger brother, Eden, as a guinea pig, overshadowed sensibility. I didn’t mind his lack of rationale thinking (much) though because he is after all, just a teenage boy, albeit one that has gone through much more than your average teen boy. Regarding Day and Tess’s…  friendship? Or one-sided relationship? I knew Tess had feelings for Day and disliked June since Legend. However, I couldn’t bring myself to hate her as we all know jealousy can do ugly things to good people.

Touching a little on the other characters (because they all deserve some recognition), Kaede is my favourite sub-character, although definitely not from the start. Her fire and strength was wholly admirable and no matter how annoyingly jaded she might seem at first, I realised that she was just a girl trying to find her place in this world. I could say the same for Anden and that I knew he was a good person from the start! Yet, I am hands down a Day & June shipper. DAY AND JUNE FOREVER!!!

Please excuse my nutty fangirling. :)

Anyway, I’m keeping my lips sealed about (mostly) everything concerning the conclusion of Prodigy. Trust me when I say you’ll want to go into it blind. I didn’t but it still crushed me anyway. Prodigy has me drooling for Champion, the third and last installment. Thankfully, that’ll just be a 6 month wait until 4th November 2013 (very short compared to the usual YA books that take a year or more). If you’re planning on reading this, note that you should be equipped with a box of tissue and stay away from public places in the second half of the book. Happy (or, uh, weepy?) reading!

Adelena

Review: Prodigy by Marie Lu

Prodigy

Prodigy
by Marie Lu
Series: Legend #2
Publication Date: 29 January 2013
Putnam Juvenile, Hardcover, 371 pages
Source: Library

Goodreads | The Book Depository | Amazon

WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the two join a group of Patriot rebels eager to help Day rescue his brother and offer passage to the Colonies. They have only one request—June and Day must assassinate the new Elector.

It’s their chance to change the nation, to give voice to a people silenced for too long.

But as June realizes this Elector is nothing like his father, she’s haunted by the choice ahead. What if Anden is a new beginning? What if revolution must be more than loss and vengeance, anger and blood—what if the Patriots are wrong?

In this highly-anticipated sequel, Lu delivers a breathtaking thriller with high stakes and cinematic action.

Rating: ★★★★★

‘My life has been a lie.’

‘I can’t carry on with life.’

Those were the two most common things I said when I read Prodigy. It was filled with many unexpected twists and turns in the plot (do be mentally prepared for this. When I say ‘unexpected’, I mean very unexpected), all of which left me breathless and dying to know what happens next. It’s truly one of those books where you simply can’t stop reading. Prodigy was packed with non-stop action – there wasn’t a single dull moment when I read it. Even when I was three-quarters of my way through, I didn’t feel like I had read a lot, which goes to show how fast-paced the story was.

Like in Legend, Prodigy was written from two perspectives: Day’s and June’s. I personally found this writing style extremely effective in portraying the characters and things they experience. It was also well-blended to feed my curiosities as to what they were thinking, as well as their emotions towards the various situations. What I liked a lot about Prodigy was that I could relate well with Day and June – I understood where they were coming from, and shared similar doubts, thoughts and feelings.

Now, on to the story!

From the very beginning, everything was already going downhill. I felt like Day and June were drifting apart. Somehow, they seemed rather distant, and appeared to be hiding things from each other. There was a lot of distrust between them, in my opinion, as well as suspicions and possibilities of what could happen next. As the story developed, these feelings grew stronger – there were characters that told Day what he should do and what he shouldn’t. At first, it seemed harmless, like the characters were sharing how they felt and it allows the problems on hand to be viewed from various perspectives. However, it slowly started to grow annoying. I felt like they were pressuring Day when warned him of what could happen; it’s like they want him to stop what he’s doing, or change his course of action, or stop trusting June. All these were tearing Day and June apart bit by bit (and it was tearing my heart apart bit by bit, too).

More focus was placed on Tess in Prodigy, and it allowed me to learn more about her and understand her more. Initially, I pitied her. She deserved something good after what she had gone through for her entire life, but… it’s just not meant to be. Later on in the book, I started to grow really irritated with her – I would say that I actually hate her. She’s so childish! Not to mention unreasonable at times. I really could not stand her. I think that Tess can be compared to a rose: she appears as a sweet and innocent girl, but she hides her ugly side, and you won’t see it unless the situation forces her to. Nevertheless, I guess I understand why Day still cared so much about her despite their arguments – they’ve been living on the streets together for a really long time, after all.

Next, Anden. Goodness, I couldn’t stop going on and on about how good-looking he was, and I just swooned over him so badly. Here’s an extract from Prodigy, describing Anden’s looks:

“The light from the wall lamps catches the wavy edges of his hair, making it shine; his olive skin has a warm, golden glow; his eyes are rich with the color of spring leaves. … He’s some mix of Latin blood, but the ever-so-slight slant of his large eyes and the delicateness of his brow reveal a hint of Asian heritage.” 

I really loved him for the fact that he was nothing like his father – he truly wanted the best for the people of the Republic, and was trying so hard to find ways to do so.

I never really had a liking towards Kaede, but towards the end of Prodigy, I couldn’t help but love her. She sacrificed so much, and took countless risks just to help Day and June. She’s also super bad-ass! Every crazy and impossible thing was proved possible by her. And just as my liking towards her grew, BAM – she’s dead. Gone as quick as the snap of one’s fingers. I was breaking down on the inside. How can someone so awesome just leave like that?! I was terribly upset over her death, but oddly enough, it seemed to fit in well with the story.

To round up my review on Prodigy, I must say that Ms. Lu creates wonderful suspense, and the build-up for the climax at the end was marvelous. So was the descent after the climax – it wasn’t abrupt or awkward, but a very smooth one. And as for the ending, I was sobbing so badly. I re-read the ending of Prodigy three times ’cause it just wouldn’t sink in, and all three times I was a crying mess. I think that Taylor Swift’s Sad, Beautiful, Tragic fits well as a theme song for Day and June’s relationship in Prodigy. They’re like star-crossed lovers, and it was no doubt heartbreaking at the end. Still, I was glad Ms. Lu ended the story the way she did – it gave me hope that something good would happen in the last installment of the trilogy, Champion.

Prodigy was simply mind-blowing.

And now…

I can’t carry on with life (until I read Champion).

Yours truly

Signature--JZ