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.
The third and final book of the Legend trilogy by Marie Lu surpassed all of my expectations—and let me tell you, my expectations were pretty high. I know I have said this before in my review of Prodigy, but Marie Lu’s writing improves dramatically after the first book in this series, and Champion was no exception. Here is a quick rundown of all the things that I loved about the book (and none of the things I didn’t like because guess what…I loved EVERYTHING!)
Strong themes of patriotism
At its core, this book is about being loyal and being in love with your country, with your home, no matter how corrupted your homeland may be, no matter how oppressive the government maybe, no matter how anti-government you were. Marie Lu portrays this patriotism through many characters but especially through Day, who risks everything important to him to save a country that had caused him nothing but pain and suffering, and therefore aids a government he hates—a government that had wanted him dead and had mercilessly murdered his family.
More intense political intrigue, this time on an international level
One of the things I loved about this book was reading about the dynamics between different countries, the tenuous alliances and the tense rivalries, and of course the interactions between prominent political leaders—it made the world of Legend more realistic and interesting. In fact, if Marie Lu ever writes a spin-off series set in the same world as Legend, I would pick it up without hesitation just to explore this world more.
Which of course means the world-building was excellent too
This was something Legend had lacked terribly, and both Prodigy and Champion are proof of just how important world-building is in a novel—not just to set it apart from other books but also to develop the plot and the characters. My favorite scene in particular was when our characters visit Antarctica, a country so advanced in technology that everything there is a simulation and every “positive” action you take grants you points with which you get better jobs, access to better education, and essentially get to live a better life. In other words, in Antarctica, life itself is a game where you have to level up in order to live a better life.
(Sincerely praying that Marie Lu writes a book about this country and this concept cause HELLO IT IS INGENIOUS AND I WANT MORE)
The plot was very fast paced and action packed
Though the second book does not exactly end in a cliffhanger, Champion begins with a plot twist that changes everything for our characters, and as such, the plot was perfectly paced: fast and full of action, but there were some chapters where things slowed down so we could stop to see how the events of the book were affecting the characters. Those were some of my favorite scenes, because they were so beautifully written that you couldn’t help but empathize with the main characters. They were a gentle reminder that though both Day and June were prodigies, despite their extraordinary talents they were still just two teenagers who had to deal with more trauma than any one should have to face.
The war scenes were PERFECTION
Seriously. It felt like I was watching a really good action movie (like a Mission Impossible movie maybe?). I don’t know why I expected anything less—the war scenes in Lu’s The Young Elites trilogy would have given any filmmaker a run for his money.
(psst this is me lowkey telling you to read The Young Elites if you haven’t already)
Excellent character arcs
I loved the development of all the characters in this book, though I still think the cast of characters overall were not that strong: the supportive characters could have been written better. Regardless, I loved seeing how far Day, June and even Tess had come from who they were in the first book. It was also a relief to finally see some depth in Anden’s character; in the second book, where he was introduced as a major character, he felt like nothing more than a cardboard cutout to me. I liked that his story was neatly done by the end of the book instead of just being pushed away to the sidelines, though I will always think that, given his backstory, he had the potential to be much more interesting than he was in the two books.
THE ENDING OMG SO REALISTIC AND YET SO BEAUTIFUL I CRY HAPPY-SAD TEARS
Happy-sad tears because it’s a Happily Ever After, but a bittersweet Happily Ever After. The kind that makes you curl up in a ball in pain but also feel hopeful that good things are coming. Classic Marie Lu I tell you.
All things considered, this is a really wonderful dystopia that you should read even if the first book is mediocre. By the time you reach the last page of Champion, you’ll be surprised by how much you’ll have cared about the characters and the world this book is set in. SO if you haven’t read it yet, read it soon.
Is there any series you have read that started off terribly but eventually got better? Tell me in the comments below and feel free to link me to any of your posts too if you want me to read them!
Happy Reading! <3