Saturday, January 4, 2014

Champion by Marie Lu

Summary (from Goodreads):
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.
I have been reading this series for a long time. I received an ARC of the first book, months before it’s release and I knew from the beginning pages of book one that it would be an amazing story. And I was right. I had no idea how complex the plot would become or how intensely terrifying the world Lu wrote could be.
I think what I love most about these books is how strategic they are. All dystopias as of late have deal with revolutions. But this one seriously deals with revolution. There’s wars, there’s threat of war, there’s treaties and political propaganda and half the novel reads more like a war story than anything else.
Also, the love story always takes a back step to the war and the action. I like that the love story is there; it’s the classic love story between the character that has wealth and the one that doesn’t. But, the story is more about hope, and about finding some kind of peace than it is about an epic love story.
And this final book in the installment had more action than ever before. Between city bombings, political senate meetings, trips to Antarctica, assassination attempts on June, escaped murderers, high-stake murder trials, people dying of the plague, street shootings, city-wide evacuations, and being blackmailed by the colonies, this book never has a dull moment.
Actually, the dullest moment for me was finally getting an explanation for June’s brother’s death. Seriously, the dullest moment of the book is June getting the scoop from her brother’s killer…in prison. Not very dull, right? And I guess, the love story was a little more at the forefront of this book than it has been in the past because of June’s and Day’s separation and obvious missing of each other. And oh yeah, the whole (SPOILER ALERT from book 2) Day slowly dying thing. But I needed this. I needed something hopeful to hold me through all the tough stuff.
This book was rather bittersweet. The love story was sizzling and it was sad, and I knew that it most likely was not going to end well. I kind of think that all duel perspective dystopias can result in at least one main character death…I literally postponed finishing this book for days, dreading the conclusion to this relationship. But, I feel kind of stupid admitting this because I kind of loved the end. It was sad, bittersweet, and emotional. But, it also was kind of perfect. I liked how certain characters were able to grow up.
I loved getting to know Day’s brother. I also loved watching June realize who she was as a person. She had to figure out how political she wanted her life to be. How much did she want power? And how much did she miss being a soldier? Granted, the story would be nowhere near as good if June didn’t have the political knowledge she did in her powerful role. However, all the scenes with the new elector were kind of awful. There’s nothing good about watching a character you love settle for someone who’s not the one, and I don’t know what I would have done if June did any more settling.
It was also fascinating to see how many people supported the new republic. No one wanted to be taken over by the colonies. And Day still had just as much magnetism, just as many followers, and possibly even more bravery.
I loved watching the characters grow up over time. I loved watching YA characters not put their relationship above all else. Both June and Day sacrificed everything for what they believed was right (even their love). I loved the non-stop action. I loved the war story and the survival story. I loved how political it all was and how much strategy was involved in the story. I loved the world Lu created (the capitalist colonies, the digital Antarctica, the militaristic republic), and never once did I feel that any of this was impossible. Because at the heart of it all is the war between the haves and the have-nots, and this is a war that can be seen everywhere. This book (and this series) gets a 10/10 from me. I can’t even think of anything negative to say about it.

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