*Hi, so if you're wondering why the format is different for this review, it's because it's from my Goodreads account before I got a blog, so I don't have a fancy format or anything, just me and my opinion. If you've never been on this blog before, then maybe you will like the review regardless*
*I never have spoilers usually, but this review does, but I warn you ahead of time*
Series: Legend Trilogy #3
Genre: Young ADult, Dystopian, Romance
Publication Date: November 5, 2013
Recommended for: Fans of Hunger Games and Divergent
Page Numbers: 386
Original Archived Review with paragraphs:
I am extremely careful about what I give 5 stars, but Champion is a must (as well as the entire trilogy). I don’t even know where to begin. I have waited for 11 freaking months for Champion, and I have to say it’s not a letdown whatsoever. Believe me, I was reading every single review on the internet, from Publishers Weekly, to USA Today. If you want to know about the entire trilogy, I am posting Legend, Prodigy, and the overall series’ review soon, it will give you background on my obsession.
*Warning: this will be unusually long because of my obsession with the story* *There are spoilers in here, but I have this review split in two, the spoilers are at the end and the general review in the beginning*
To describe Champion in my own words is this: “On top of the complex plot line and action, you have this underlying romance that fuels so many decisions throughout the book.”
You may be steered away from Champion because it is mostly a war book, like “Mockingjay”. “The Hunger Games”, and “Catching Fire” were good, by ‘Mockingjay” was a total flop. It is not like that with Champion. The Legend Trilogy is a series that deals mostly with the military, the Hunger Games doesn’t. You fight to stay alive in the ‘Hunger Games”, you fight as a way of life in Legend. June is a soldier, if you’re anyone in the Republic, you’re part of the military or a politician. A war has always been going on in all three of the books, it is only in Champion that we are focused on the details. This isn’t a story about the rebels rising up against the cruel oppressive government. This is a story about the rebels and the government rising up against their common enemy.
The character’s conflicts are completely believable, as well as the amount of them. Picture the two halves of what used to be America fighting against each other, and already you have a lot of conflict. Each character has their own against themselves, the people they care about, and the rest of the world. For example, Day is dying (himself) and hsa to deal with getting weaker as well as the excruciating headaches, he is worried about Eden being used as lab rat (a person he cares about), he doesn’t want June to find about his oncoming death (a person he cares about), he loves June so much but doesn’t want to hurt her or compete with the boy king Anden (a person he cares about), and then there’s the fact that the Republic he recently pulled together is going to fall apart and may never get back together again if the Colonies win (the world). Those are just a few examples of one character’s struggle.
Over the course of 2 years since Legend came out, Marie Lu's writing has definitely improved. Her plot lines became more complex, her characters more assured, and the connections between characters, something you have to be good at has drastically improved.
There is also humor in Champion that was hardly present in the previous books:
“What is this?” “A butter knife.” “This is not a knife.” This was a pre-released quote, and I had no idea what it was about, but when you read the book it is freaking hilarious.
“Where I come from, a knife like this’ll skewer food, smear butter, and slit throats all at the same time.” Take that Serge.
“With your metal leg and half a brain, and my four leftover sense, we almost make a whole person.” Eden is so sarcastic it hurts.
Commander Jameson calls June “Little Iparis” if that isn’t funny I don’t know what is. Metias is “Big Iparis’ and she’s “Little Iparis”
I do have a few complaints. Marie Lu needs to improve on her area of similes, but not figurative language. She still uses, 'runs like the wind' and a few other cliche ones, nevertheless, she is able to sculpt a beautiful picture of the scenery, a person, or whatever she needs to when it's a section alone of description. In passing, for example in action scenes, she might be trying to describe Day's speed, or in a conversations with June's expression.
The nice little reference back to previous books, was a little overdone in Thomas's prison cell, although it was probably for nostalgia's sake, and because of former memories. There were three references on one page. 1. "Day is the legend," 2. "I followed all the rules, I worked my way up..." 3. "Because Day chose to walk in the light. And so did Metias." They were cleverly woven in, but the space between them is too short.
The only words to describe Champion’s ending are: ‘satisfying’, and ‘closure-giving’. It is a complete plot twist I wouldn’t have guessed if it was right in front of me. I wanted so badly to be angry at Marie Lu, want to find her house and stand outside with flaming pitchforks, but I didn’t. It’s not happy, it’s not sad, but it’s good. She has mastered the art of tying up each character's individual strings, then taking a step back and leaving them to go on in their own world. I’m not in love with the ending, but I love it.
*spoiler alert: most of this is just characteristics but some is actually what happens to the particular character*
The characters mostly focused on in Champion are June, Day, Anden, Commander Jameson, Thomas, and Tess. Each one of them has a closure-giving, conclusion to their personal storyline.
I have been in love with June since the moment I met her in Legend. Even her negative qualities pale in comparison to who she is as character. She goes through such believable character development through the series, and with her narration, you get to see exactly how she thinks. A few words to describe her are determined, passionate, persistent, intelligent, athletic, dedicated, strong, and a concrete sense of right and wrong. Her sense of right and wrong is what fuels the story, it’s the hard decisions she makes that define the story and steer it in the path it has now carved into the world. Her sense of right and wrong also applies to her emotions, and she discovers it’s wrong for her to be Princeps. And chooses what is right for herself, being a soldier, fighting on the front lines, relying on instinct, all of that is who she is.
Day is Day. What I interpreted in Champion alone is his incredible ability to be selfless and selfish at the same time. He’s selfless in his personal actions. Yet he’s selfish for keeping his illness from June, and not letting Eden make his own decision to help the Republic, Of course others will definitely think differently, but this is just what I picked up. Day’s character growth isn’t nearly as great as June’s but it does happen because of the endless obstacles continuously pummeling him.
Anden has an internal conflict during the entirety of Champion as to how to lead the war, and make the painful decisions war implies, while still remaining true to himself and not becoming the hated man his father was. He has impeccable grace and poise of diplomacy that serves as a shield between his emotions and the world’s conflicts. He is the Elector, the one with the final say, and his ending is not so much a conclusion than an endless fact, which is that he is the Elector.
Commander Jameson does horrible things, and so in turn, gets gunned down by Republic soldiers. As the ‘good guys’ we see her as atrocious and inhumane. In a moment of what seems to June as weakness, she tells June that she sees herself in June. That they are both cold, hard, calculating, and ruthless, that June could have become her. What hits June so hard, even though she wants to deny it, is that it’s true, that she could become her.
It seems so fitting that the beginning of Thomas’s story is making a hard decision for the Republic, by murdering his childhood friend because the state of California told him to. His story ends when he serves as a distraction to Colony soldiers to help Day and the Patriots get away. His last words are: Long live the Elector. Long live the Republic. You feel compassion for him for doing such a terrible deed because of his sense of duty that drives him and fuels him to do anything.
The last person focused on in Tess. She has a rather sweet moment with Day, where she expresses the reasons for her jealousy toward him. That she loved him as more than a crush, but as a lover, parent, friend, caretaker, sibling, and much more. She loved him because she could take care of him while he took care of her. He was her world for three solid years, so when June came in, she felt threatened. Tess is infected with the mutant plague, but her story ends well.
*Spoiler alert on the romance only*
Onto what I would call the most exciting part of the review if I was reading it. The love square. There’s June, Day, Anden, and Tess. June’s decision between Anden and Day isn’t really a decision, in a good way. June’s decision to not be Princeps goes hand in hand with her decision not to choose Anden. She sees her reasons for not being a politician because of what the pressure does to Anden. Seeing what it does to Anden, defines why she doesn’t choose him. Day and June have this unique chemistry as a couple that Anden can’t compete with. It’s obvious Anden is attracted to June and wanted her as his Princeps. They even date for about four years in the epilogue, but the plain fact is that June cannot love him the way she loves Day. June and Day do the deed from pages 212-215 and she says she loves him. Meanwhile Day says he loves Tess…. except not in the way she wished he did. So there’s nothing too juicy between them.
Having Day forget June is so painful yet so perfect. When they meet 10 years later everything is possible again. It’s like what Day says, “Each day means a new 24 hours. Each day means everything is possible again.” They didn’t just get a new day. They got a new chance.