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Monday, February 10, 2014

Champion (Legend #3) by Marie Lu

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.

Released: November 5th 2013       Pages: 369
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile           Source: Library

The covers of these novels just keep getting better and better.  Legend's cover is pretty cool, Prodigy's is awesome, but Champion...these cover designers deserve some kind of award.  The rose is intriguing, but then you look closer, and you notice the fire.  And then there's the horribly appropriate bullet hole.  What really pulls it all together, though, is the splatter paint.  It makes the whole thing a little edgier.  (And, if you haven't noticed, I'm a little fond of the splatter paint look.)

Thankfully, this is one book where the contents are as awesome as the cover.  The sadness I felt at the end of Prodigy was no longer fresh, but it lingered long enough to carry over until Champion.  I don't remember the first book being as dark as the second, but I like the turn the series took.  It's hard to be happy underneath an oppressive regime when the world is crumbling, and Marie Lu captures this perfectly.

Prodigy left me with an immense love and respect for Day, and that respect only grew in this book.  He's a strong, three-dimensional character, but what really gets at me is his relationship with Eden.  Sibling relationships in YA novels are often underplayed or ignored, so I love reading about brothers or sisters that look out for each other.  I love Day's protectiveness over Eden, but I also love the way Eden manages to prop up his big brother.  When both of them were in the hospital together, all I could think of was that scene from the end of How To Train Your Dragon, where you see Hiccup's amputated foot matched up with Toothless' broken tail, and it just...hurts.

My feelings about June are still a little mixed.  My respect for her has grown since the start of the series, and she's become a more real and fleshed-out character, but I never truly loved her like I loved Day.  I suspect that some of my fondness grew more out of Day's love for her than anything else, but I'll take it.

There was also some nice development for the side characters.  Eden proved himself to be just as real as his brother.  I wish Tess would've gotten a little more "screen time", but I still like how she grew and matured.  Anden also proved to be a likable character, which surprised me.

At one point, I thought I knew where this finale was going.  I thought I had the ending figured out, but I was wrong.  I was afraid of the Augustus Waters ending.  It would've made sense, especially considering *highlight to read spoiler* the fact that Day had a brain tumor and was shot multiple times, which is not exactly a recipe for survival.*end spoiler*  Instead, though, we got the Donna Noble ending (I'm pretty sure it actually used the phrase "journey's end", at which point I was not okay at all), which actually hurt more.  I wasn't prepared for that, but in retrospect, I respect the way Marie Lu handled it.

Overall, this was a solid ending to the trilogy.  It left me in a mess of feelings, but it was satisfying at the same time.  Often, trilogy finales are either rushed, too predictable, or a mix of both.  Champion was neither.  It was gritty and sad, but hopeful at the same time.  It worked.  I'm a bit sad to see the series end. 

Similar Books: It's a dystopian novel with with dual male/female points of view like Frozen.  It also has similarities to Proxy, Under The Never Sky, and Shatter Me.

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