Monday, May 19, 2014

A Final Champion

June and Day were born on opposite ends of the social spectrum, but they were drawn to each other. They have made sacrifices to save their country, and now that it is officially on the brink of complete destruction, they must sacrifice even more in Champion, Marie Lu's conclusion to the Legend series. 

They haven't seen each other. June has been elected the Princeps Elect. She is loyal to Anden, who carries the weight of his father's abuse of power, but is himself a smart and capable leader. But she thinks of Day. Often. Day is a military official. He has accomplished his one goal: Eden is safe. But now Day is the one suffering. With a fast approaching expiration date, Day knows the upcoming peace treaty between the Colonies and the Republic is more important than ever. Each time Day pushes himself too far, he goes to the brink of finally succumbing to what is killing him. But the one person he wants to spend his final moments with doesn't even know he is dying: June. 

Meanwhile, a plague worse than ever before breaks out in the Colonies. While they had a precarious peace with the Republic before, the new illness is violent and deadly, and it has led to a new development. Peace will never be achieved when the Republic sits back and watches the Colonies die. Invasion of the Republic is imminent, but Anden still believes he can find a way to stop everything. If he develops a cure, he can halt the invasion and return to the peace treaty. There is one very big problem. Day's brother Eden is the cure, and Day won't allow anyone to hurt Eden ever again. 

The most interesting part of this series has always been Day and June. In an easier, more cookie-cutter novel, we would see them battling back to back, taking on the world in any way possible. But that is a paint-by-numbers kind of a story, and Lu wants to give you more. Instead, the path Day and June have traveled is bumpy and fraught with secrets and lies. Yet their connection is undeniable. Both have a deep connection to each other, but their duty to their families and their countries are put before their own desires. It was poetic and heartbreaking all at once, and it made this story as un-cookie-cutter as you could get. 

When you have been reading a series since its inception, you have an investment. You want to see an ending the characters deserve and have earned, but you also want the author to surprise you. How can they give you both? Well, Marie Lu found a way. This isn't the conclusion I ever expected, but it was respectful to the losses both Day and June had suffered, and it was a story that did them both, and their relationship, justice. As it began to unfold, I am not going to lie, I was angry. How could you do this to Day and June after everything they have been through?! But it was almost as if Lu was whispering through the pages, "Shhhh. Calm down and have patience." And I did. And it  was fabulous. This is a series young adults and adults alike would love, because Lu has a plan. And it's one heck of a plan!

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