By: Marie Lu
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 once again. 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 he has.
YES. This book. I was reminded instantly why I love these books so much. They are fast-paced. Not just in action, but in also in emotion and relationships. By that I mean that things are always changing. There are no segments when the same things keep happening. Forward motion is the key to this series and part of what makes it so brilliant.
Day: Oh gosh. I've always had mixed feelings about Day, in the best way. I think he is a brilliant character and is written perfectly. That's part of why I've always had mixed feelings. He makes me happy and sad, frustrated and in awe. He's a hero and sometimes a jerk. That's just how it is. And I love that. I think it's important how well his characterization is done.
In this book especially, he really shone. For once he doesn't have his physical abilities to rely on. He had to come to terms with his slowly fading health, as did the reader. It was heartbreaking, but it truly made me sympathize with and respect him. He's just such a great character, okay?
His feelings for June always make me both happy and sad inside. They loved each other, but there was just so much crap between them. (I also loved that it wasn't necessarily "relationship drama" between them, it was their positions and roles in the Republic. It was also the fact that they were each so connected to the other's most painful loss.)
June: She's my homegirl. I love her so much. She's smart and physically capable and logical. But she is also heartfelt and genuine. I liked her in Legend. I started to love her in Prodigy. In this book she made me completely love her character. I respect her and her decisions so much. It's crazy how well she is characterized as well. Like when she went to 'talk to' Metias and the sacrifices she made (even to the little details like knowing exact seconds and minutes or exact distances).
Tess: I wish we'd seen a bit more of her, but I finally started loving her in this book. Her character arc is one of the ones in the background, but it was also really cool. I love how she and June became good friends in the end, even with the absence...(well, that's a spoiler. But if you've read it you know what I'm talking about.)
Eden: THE POOR BABY. I love him. A lot. His relationship with Day is one of the sweetest sibling relationships I have ever read.
Tone:The feel of these books is so immersive. The fast pace and the interesting dynamics of government against government keeps you grounded in the world. In Champion we definitely got to see more of the emotional side, I think. In the other books emotional issues were presented, but they all came to a head in this book in particular. I love the sort of odd mix of action and emotion that I have only as distinctively in these books.
Marie Lu is a master. Her voice is perfect for the world she's built and the characters he uses to tell the story through. Her straight-forward tone at first makes you underestimate her, but when the story gets intense or complicated, the writing remains beautiful as well as functional. You never forget that you're in a battle scene when you're in it, but she works in other emotions into her action-writing (which I absolutely love). I also always forget how truly fantastic her just-emotional writing is. As in, I read her tensely emotional scenes and I feel it in my gut like I am supposed to. Her scenes like that stand in stark contrast to the rest of her books, too, because she doesn't drop one on you every two seconds. She makes the moments like that that she does take, and makes them matter.
And can I just discuss for one minute how this series breaks nearly EVERY DYSTOPIAN TROPE OF ALL TIME? There is no good side and bad side. The Republic isn't really the enemy, it is something they are fighting for despite it's flaws.
Isn't that how life is most of the time. You fight for a cause, not because it is flawless or inherently good, you fight for a cause because it is what the world needs most.
"Absolute power is absolute power, no matter what it's called. Isn't it?"
"I don't know why I want to stand on the hill with them now. Maybe I have a little bit of faith."
"...the boy of light and laughter and life, of grief and fury and passion, the boy whose fate is intertwined with mine..."
"I scream for everything that has gone wrong. I scream for everything broken in our lives."
"It's an odd feeling to wander these same streets as the person I am now. At once familiar and strange."