So this is going to be a joint review of CHAMPION by Marie Lu, and LIFE BEFORE LEGEND, which is a collection of two short stories, one from Day’s perspective, one from June’s perspective, each taking place when they are twelve years old.
I’ll start off with Day’s story. It’s the story of his first kiss. I thought it was pretty good. It wasn’t anything special, the kiss specifically, which I think is really human. Sometimes a first kiss is just, awkward and ordinary. It doesn’t have to be fireworks and eternal love. It was also nice to see that Day has always been the good guy. Even when he was twelve years old, he still tried to fight for those who couldn’t protect themselves.
As for June’s story, I think it was a very real insight into the life of a child prodigy. She isn’t looked on as a hero. She’s an outcast. All her fellow peers believe that she just bought her way into the school. She didn’t get a perfect score on her own, her brother paid off the government to get her that score. I think that’s a fair reaction. No one was ever as good as her, and she is bound to make some enemies who are intimidated. I liked the way she handled it, though. She knows that if she retaliates, it will disappoint Metias, but she also knows that giving in will disappoint him even more. She also knows that he shouldn’t have to be disappointed in her. He shouldn’t have to worry about her, and yet, he does, and he never complains, and she is grateful.
The thing I didn’t like about this novella is that it’s a little bit too short and too specific for me. It’s meant to give you an insight into the childhoods of our two main protagonists, and it does, but I don’t feel like it gives us a big enough window. It doesn’t show us enough of what made June and Day who they are when they meet. It just gives us a tiny little glimpse into something that happened in their younger years.
I gave LIFE BEFORE LEGEND by Marie Lu 4 out of 5 stars.
Now for CHAMPION. I really thought that Marie Lu wrapped up this series quite well. Although I felt that the overall pace of this book was slower than the other two, I still enjoyed it immensely. I have to admit, though, this book was probably my least favorite book in the series.
I felt that the government conflict resolution wasn’t quite explained well enough for me. I don’t really understand what happened between the Colonies and the Republic. I don’t really understand how that particular conflict was resolved.
I also felt like the relationship between Day and June didn’t go the way it should have. I think that the way June reacted to Day’s situation just wasn’t right. I felt that she didn’t know how to handle herself around him after everything that’s happened, and communication becomes an issue again. I also feel like we weren’t allowed to see far enough into the future to see what becomes of our dynamic duo, and I was left wondering what the future holds for them.
I also would’ve liked to see a little more of what happens to some of our minor characters, especially Eden and Tess, but, you can’t have everything in the last book in a series.
I gave CHAMPION by Marie Lu 4 out of 5 stars.
THE NEXT PORTION OF THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS.
IF YOU DON’T WISH TO BE SPOILED FOR ANY EVENTS THAT OCCUR IN CHAMPION, PLEASE STOP READING NOW.
Ok, so we have the ending. Day and June are reunited once again.. But Day still doesn’t really know who June is, so June just decides to allow him to believe that they have never met before. I was really surprised that Eden or Tess never mentioned June to Day, or asked him if he remembered anyone by that name. So I think there is a slight plot hole there…
I’m also left wondering what really happened with the Republic and the Colonies. Did the Colonies really just give up the fight and agree to stay to themselves? Did Antarctica really get Dakota? I felt that these questions were left hanging and I felt like it wasn’t really resolved well enough for me, but maybe I just didn’t understand it.
Overall I still really enjoyed this book. I think it was a really good way to end the series, but I wish we got to see a little bit more of what happens to our characters after everything is resolved. I feel like I have more to say about this series, but I can’t really form any coherent thoughts.
On the subject of Thomas. I was really rooting for him to redeem himself. He clearly tried, but just never quite made it. He protected the Republic to the last, staying true to the soldier he is. I was really hoping he’d let that go for a while, and we got a little bit of that when he explains to June how he killed Metias, but because June doesn’t forgive him, I can’t forgive him either. I feel her disappointment in him just as strongly as she does. She wanted so desperately for him to justify everything, and he goes and rips out her heart instead.
I will definitely be keeping my eye out for more books by Marie Lu.