Champion by Marie Lu
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
My Rating: 4/5
Synopsis: He is a legend. She is a prodigy. They thought their country was on the brink of a peaceful existence. But a plague outbreak deadlier than any other has arisen and war threatens.
June is the only one who can save her country. But Day would lose everything he has as a consequence.
Who will be champion?
When I started this book, I could barely remember what had happened in the previous two novels, even when I looked up the plots online. Whilst I was sure that I’d enjoyed the previous installments, they obviously hadn’t wowed me enough to stick in my mind between my reading each book. I also started off thinking that Champion was pretty slow and was only going to get a 3/5 from me. However, as I progressed through the novel, I once again began to enjoy it as I had the previous installments.
One thing I’ve always liked about the Legend series has been the world-building. I enjoyed that the rest of the world wasn’t forgotten about, like in The Hunger Games. I’d found it really exciting in Prodigy when we’d been able to experience the reality of the Colonies for a while, and in Champion Lu extended this with a visit to Antarctica. I’ve definitely had fun experiencing the progression of the Legend series, the way in which Lu hasn’t just regurgitated similar stories in the same place (the Republic of America) in each novel. She’s pushed beyond the usual confines each time and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed that. In Champion especially, I enjoyed the action of the war extending into the Republic, when in previous novels it had remained at the border between the two warring countries.
However, for me, I’ve always found that Lu’s world-building and plotting has out-shined her characters. Day has always annoyed me a little; he’s a bit too cocky and stubborn. I still felt the same about him at the beginning of this novel, but towards the end I think Day had finally developed beyond his cocky nature and I found myself feeling sympathetic towards him. June, too, has never been quite developed enough for my liking, but I found by the end that I liked her more too.
And why is that? Well, the ending was emotional and I definitely had a bit of a lump in my throat. I thought it was poignantly done by Lu and her writing really shined here, and so did June and Day. The ending has prompted me to consider re-reading the series back to back when I have more time, so as to see if I’ve been missing anything from these novels, especially in terms of my somewhat indifferent feelings towards June and Day. At the end of Champion, I’d come to understand just how much the two characters loved each other, and how bittersweet their relationship was. Their dynamic certainly was original when compared with other YA romances. The things that have kept them apart at intervals have been raw and reasonable, instead of feeling forced. Neither of them was unnecessarily rude or secretive just to keep the plot pushing forward.
Overall, I’ve had fun reading the series and experiencing the world. They’ve been enjoyable novels and I do feel a little sad knowing that I’ve come to the end. I feel bad that I didn’t enjoy the protagonists more, but maybe if I give them another shot in the future I might like them as much as other reviewers have.
Did you read the Legend series? What did you think? Have you read any more of Marie Lu’s work? Let me know in the comments!