Monday, January 6, 2014

Review: Champion - Marie Lu

Champion by Marie Lu
Series: Legend Trilogy #3
Genre: YA, action, futuristic
Published on November 5, 2013
Published by Putnam
Pages: 369
Read From: 12.28.13 - 12.29.13

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 on 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.


Cover Blurb: Yes or No? Like with the other cover art, it does catch my attention for some reason or other, but isn't horribly exciting or interesting. Out of the three, it might be my favorite.

Characters: Maybe it's because both Day and June have finally grown as characters, but I actually didn't find either of them as aggravating in Champion as I did in the last two book. A lot of Day's cockiness is gone, as he struggles with his illness, and his description of his "outfits" and long blonde Rapunzel-like hair are less. Still not a favorite character, but I found him tolerable and maybe even a tiny bit likable. Though he did still have a tendency of flying off the handle about things (though his anger was rather understandable; I just care so little about him that I didn't sympathize). June, too, is back to being strong and rather sensible. She still experiences a lot of guilt moments, which always got irritating, but compared to Prodigy, her guilt trips were few and far between in this installment. Still don't really care for Anden, mostly because of the love triangle, and none of the minor characters held much interest for me. Tess, thank goodness, isn't behaving badly anymore. The villain, Jameson, just didn't scare me at all. It's not that she wasn't capable; she just talked too much. I don't know; she just fell flat for me.

The Romance: Less irritating than in past volumes, though still kind of bleh. June doesn't do as much flip-flopping between Day and Anden as she did in Prodigy, and Tess has finally let go of her crush on Day (and Day, thank goodness, has stopped noticing her). But the tension between June and Day got old, as it always does. Especially since I didn't really get why they parted ways in the first place. Okay, Day is dying and he doesn't want June to tie herself to a dying man - I got that. And June was feeling guilty to being responsible for Day's family's deaths. All good reasons, I suppose, and to be honest - and fair to the Author - the tension between them actually didn't feel forced. As far as romantic tension goes, the Author did a fairly good job. I just personally hate this sort of thing - especially in a book about rebellions and war. There should be enough tension and action that alone; why add the romance?

Plot: With Anden as the new Elector Primo, the Republic is slowly but surely turning around and becoming benevolent towards its people. June is set up to be one of Anden's political advisers, while Day enjoys the rank of people's champion and high military standing. But whatever Day and June pretend, they are not happy. Day is dying of a brain illness/disease, and June finds herself forced to ask Day to give up the one thing he would never do: his brother. It seems that a plague has broken out in the Colonies - a plague that is suspiciously like the one the old Republic engineered under the rule of the old Elector Primo, Anden's father. And the Colonies have declared that unless the Republic produces a cure, they will invade. With the advanced technology of Africa backing them, the Colonies could win - and the Republic may be doomed. But Day's little brother may have the cure within him, having survived the plague before. To get it, Day must hand his brother over once more to the scientists who were responsible for his illness in the first place. And even finding the cure may not be enough. The Colonies is determined to take over the Republic, and the Republic's uneasy alliance with the Antarctica city is their only hope for survival. So there's a lot of political turmoil going on in Champion, and I have to admit that I did enjoy that. It was nice to see more world building, especially when Prodigy offered such a disappointing and minor glimpse into the Colonies. I didn't really get the purpose behind the Antarctican system of government - how it worked and all that - but it was kind of interesting, if not wholly plausible. But Champion isn't a fast-paced book; not at first. A good portion of the book is spent on Day and June's continued romantic tension, June's reluctance to ask so many impossible favors from Day, and Day fighting his brain illness. Honestly, in a book about wars and political intrigue and rebellions, one shouldn't have a main character dying of a disease; it's just setting things up for a massively disappointing and pointless death. I wasn't surprised by the slow pacing, of course; it's become a regular habit of this trilogy. At least all of the parkour and ridiculous stunts have been taken out this time, which is partially why I found it to be a much more tolerable book.

Believability: Again, the Antarctican system of government isn't very plausible. Kind of a neat concept that actually would have made for a good basis for an entirely different story, but still not plausible. And of course, the "evil corporations" that rule the Colonies. The government of the Colonies was in debt, so four major corporations bought the government's debt and took over . . . . Where did these corporations get an army in which to maintain their hold on the government? Corporations don't have private armies.

Writing Style: First person, present tense. I still cannot stand the slang, and I got really tired of the font color be changed between narrations. If you need different font color to distinguish which character is narrating, then you need to examine the narration itself. Not that Day and June's narrations were hard to tell apart, because they weren't - I will give the Author props on that. And it may not have been the Author's choice to make Day's narration red, and then June's black. It still bugged me, though.

Content: 2 s-words. We're given more details on June's brother's, um, romantic relationship with Thomas. And Day and June sleep together (pg. 213-215), though it isn't horribly explicit.

Conclusion: This is where the action picks up, and it threatens to get too drawn out, but surprisingly isn't. And then there's a twist on the romance that yes, made me roll my eyes because it was very silly and soap-opera. But I have to admit that I did, in some ways, see how it could be a very emotional ending for Readers who actually liked the characters. As silly as it was, the Author did a relatively good job pulling it off. I've never been a big fan of this trilogy. I couldn't stand Day and found the pacing slow, and many very implausible concepts. Champion is still a far cry from being a likable book, but I was able to actually tolerate it and understand how some people liked it. I was . . . pleasantly surprised.

Recommended Audience: Girl-and-guy read, seventeen-and-up, fans of the Divergent Trilogy.

Others in This Trilogy:


  1. Could you be more negative? Everything starts out with "Although its still far from being a likable book..." or "As silly as everything is..."
    I'm not trying to be mean, its just that I know a lot of people, including me, who don't find the characters silly, or the government stupid, or the slang unbearable. Who gets upset by red font? It was freakin awesome. Just because you hate this book doesn't mean everyone else does. Another thing- maybe you got the age reccomendation wrong- most people I know who have read it AND ENJOYED IT, are between the ages 12 and 15. Maybe this would be a better age group, since obviously people around your age aren't enjoying it so much.

    1. Dear Anonymous---

      Do you even know what the purpose of a review is? Reviews are for people to express THEIR thoughts and THEIR opinions on something. Reviews aren't there for someone to write about OTHER peoples' opinions and thoughts. I don't give a blessed pope's nose that other readers - including your nameless self - liked a book that I did not. Other Readers' enjoyment has nothing to do with what I thought of the book, and I write reviews to express what I, and no one else, thought. I found the red font irritating; I am not so easily impressed with flashy marketing tropes as you seem to be. The red hurt my eyes, ergo it affected my enjoyment of the book. I thought that the characters were silly, the government unrealistic, and the slang irksome. Since those are my thoughts, I will talk about them in my review.

      As a side note, actually yes, I could be so very much more negative. But I am both a fair and an honest review. I say what I think and mean it. Compared to the other books, CHAMPION wasn't all bad - therefore, I was not as negative as I could have been.

      As I have explained in my Review Policy page, the recommendations section of my review can be disregarded at anyone's leisure. I would NOT give this to a 12-year-old, due to the sexual content, therefore I would NOT recommend it to a 12-year-old. The recommendations section reflects what I think is an appropriate age bracket for a book.

      And yes, Anonymous, you are trying to be mean and rude. So please, don't pretend understanding or kindness. I have given a book you like a bad rating, and you are hurt and insulted. If you dislike my reviews so much, try not reading my blog. No one is forcing you but yourself.


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