Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading … Champion by Marie Lu

Monday, November 4, 2013

Just Finished Reading … Champion by Marie Lu

Champion (Legend #3)
by Marie Lu
To be published by Putnam Juvenile
on November 5, 2013

Connect with the author: website | Twitter.



Summary from Goodreads: 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. 
My take:  This review will avoid any and all major spoilers for all three books. I'm a big fan of this trilogy and was excited -- and apprehensive -- to pick this up. I am so happy to report that I loved it. In the last few weeks, I've spent some time thinking about dystopian trilogies and their possible pitfalls. For me as a reader, these include:

1) Balancing a grim dystopian setting with romance
2) Maintaining tension after the main characters escape to freedom. This often happens in book two of trilogies and can be a major issue for me. I love the tension that results when the main characters are trapped in a repressive environment. In second books, they often break out and are wandering around with no one to rebel against and … I'm bored.
3) Balancing readers' desire for a long-suffering couple to have some happiness while staying true to a grim dystopian outlook

For me, this trilogy neatly sidestepped all those problems. I loved Champion --  it was probably my favorite of the three books. The story begins eight months after the ending of Prodigy. As the book blurb indicates, June and Day have been separated all this time. If you've read Prodigy, you may remember that Day is also keeping a big secret from June, something that was revealed at the very end of that book. But as Champion opens, June needs Day's help, and summons him. The two are nervous about seeing each other again and things are off to a great start.

I love this couple. She's so smart and self-sufficient and a little aloof. He's daring and bighearted and idealistic. They are clearly crazy about each other, but life has conspired to keep them apart. I also loved that they were nearly a year older in this book. Each has been through some tough times in which they have lost loved ones, and as a result, they are hesitant to express their feelings for one other.

I also really enjoyed the political intrigue in the story. Champion moves away from the Patriot guerrilla warfare stuff that was featured in Prodigy and more into higher-level diplomatic wrangling. Relations between the Colonies and the Republic have become dangerously strained. As June and Anden desperately figure out how to avoid war, Day arrives with some interesting ideas and the potential to help them.

Champion took every opportunity to tug at my emotions, bringing back old villains, revisiting old losses, really honing in on each character's strengths and vulnerabilities. I loved the fact that Champion let many major characters have chances to shine -- to be brave, to be noble, to be selfless, to take risks.

Champion gave me everything I hoped for: suspense, action, retribution and forgiveness, both romantic and platonic love, some political wrangling, and…an ending I was happy with. Note that I did not say "a happy ending." It can be hard to end a dystopian trilogy. If the ending is all kittens and butterflies, that rings false. On the other hand, when readers have invested years of waiting and hours of reading time into a trilogy, I think they hope for an ending that is both true to the story and emotionally satisfying.

I thought the end of Champion was successful on both fronts. I won't say that aspects of it didn't make me very, very nervous, including the fact that one of my least favorite plot devices was involved.  But to me, the ending of this trilogy was perfect: it was unexpected, it was true to these characters and their story, it kept me in suspense until the very end, and it was truly moving. If you're a fan of this series, I think (hope!) you'll be as happy with Champion. If you've been waiting to start this series for fear of frustrating love triangles and unsatisfying endings, it's time to get reading!

18 comments:

  1. I'm so excited for this ending but also super nervous, having been let down by some conclusions. The fact that you really like it gives me hope that I will too!

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    1. I really liked it! Let me know what you think :)

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  2. I'm apprehensive about this one due to reasons, so your review is very comforting!

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  3. So glad you enjoyed this one, I haven't gotten into these, but sound great

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  4. I skimmed b/c I really don't want to know nothing, even if it isn't spoilery. lol But I'm so very happy you liked this one so much! I can't wait to make my hubby go pick me up a copy while I'm working tomorrow. lol

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  5. Okay, this is exactly what I needed to read about this book. You echo my fears for this series exactly: 1) I am fed up with dystopians, especially how similar and depressing they all are. 2) I don't like triangles and have heard rumors of book 2 going in that direction. 3) I'm not even going to pretend otherwise: I want to leave June and Day feeling like they have some semblance of a future when I close the book. TOGETHER. If one of them dies, or they end up with other people, or there's no resolution at all, I'm out. My poor nerves can't take it. The fact that you found this to be emotionally satisfying is a big plus for me. Also, I struggled with June and Day's very young age in Legend, so I'm also glad to hear they're older in this one. Even though the fact that they've been separate for 8 months makes me nervous! Anyway, your review has convinced me that I need to pick up PRODIGY and then get onto reading CHAMPION.

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  6. I'm so glad to see your review. I feel as though it wasn't too long ago that I read Prodigy. I can't wait! I'm glad you enjoyed this. I'm anxious to get my hands on Champion now :) Great review!

    Janina @ Synchronized Reading

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  7. I have yet to read the second in this series --but imagine I'll read all of them sometime. So many bloggers love this series so much I wonder if I missed something when I first read Legend because it was just ok for me. Sometimes a reread is all it takes to appreciate aspects overlooked the first time around. So happy you loved it!

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  8. I preordered this book months ago and am dying to read it. The recent ending of some other dystopian trilogy wasn't really making me nervous about this one, but I'm so relieved and excited to know that this was your favorite in the series. AHHHH!!!! I got to have it! I wasn't that happy with Prodigy at the time I read it, but looking back I think I enjoyed it more than I let on. I can't wait to get back in that world and find out more about June and Day. Fantastic review, Jen!

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  9. Still haven't read the first book in this series...I don't know. I just read a few pages and then put it down because I wasn't in the mood for it. Hopefully, I will get to read it soon. And I am glad that you liked it so much. Great review!

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  10. Legend has been on my to-read list for a while but I was put off it by some GoodReads reviews, after reading your review of this though I think I'll give it a go once I've finished The Elite.

    Rosie :)

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  11. I'm so glad you were satisfied with the ending of Champion! I was really nervous to finish the series because you're right, with dystopian series it's either all death and sadness or bunnies and kittens and it feels fake. I can't wait to read it now!

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  12. First! AHHHHHHH! So jelly you read this one already! I'm anxious to read it and see how it will all end. But I'm happy that you enjoyed the book.

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  13. "Champion took every opportunity to tug at my emotions, bringing back old villains, revisiting old losses, really honing in on each character's strengths and vulnerabilities. " YES! I couldn't believe it was still possible for me to feel something about Metias' death, but wow, that scene really got to me! Great review Jen :-)

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  14. I am so excited to start this book now--I have been worried that the ending would be a let down like I hear so many others have been this year *cough, Allegiant, cough* so your review really reassures me, Jen! After I finish reading we will have to discuss!

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  15. I'm SO glad a series finally got it right.

    I haven't started this series yet because I thought there was a love triangle for some reason. What is the plot device that worried you? email and spoil me! lol

    Great review Jen!


    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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  16. Oh my Gosh! I'm so happy you loved it! I can't wait to read it!! Really... I can't wait to read about this world again!
    Thanks for the amazing review!
    Lis @ The reader lines

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  17. Reading this tomorrow! So glad you liked it!

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