Becoming a Champion

“By early 2058, the United States government ceased to exist altogether…”

champion.inddA review of Marie Lu’s Champion, by Jaziel Zapata.

Lu’s Legend trilogy comes to its finale with her novel, Champion, a story that revolves around the characters of Day and June. Day is a wanted criminal turned hero and June is a solider turned vice president. These two have a connection that was previously shown in Lu’s past two novels and continues to grow in Champion. In a world where the polar ice caps have melted, drowning part of the known world, and countries are coming together to form confederations, both Day and June find themselves trying to keep their Republic from crumbling.

The United States as we know it no longer exists. A flood has divided the Unites States into two separate nations. The eastern United States is now a government run by corporations know as the Colonies. The western United States has become a police state now trying to find the balance between dictatorship and freedom, known as the Republic. Their uneasy truce comes to contention when a deadly virus is unleashed. But no one knows if the Colonies are the originators of this deadly strain or if the Republic unleashed this biological weapon.

Day’s brother, Eden, seems to be the key to unlocking a cure for this virus, but Day is reluctant to let that happen given that Eden is his only remaining family and the procedure is dangerous. Lu puts the weight of this world in Day’s shoulders forcing him to decide between saving a nation or his little brother. If that wasn’t difficult enough for Day, he has to counteract the war efforts of the Colonies against the Republic in addition to dealing with his terminal illness and his sudden blackouts. We see Day broken to his core showing raw emotion.

My throat chokes up. The tears come in a rush. I don’t bother to stop them, because I know it’s impossible. I sob uncontrollably—I can’t stop, I can’t catch my breath, I can’t see. I can’t see my family because they’re not here. Without them, all this furniture is nothing, the sea daisies lying on the table are meaningless, the lantern is just an old, blackened piece of junk. The images from my nightmare linger, haunting me. No matter how hard I try, I can’t push them away.

Time heals all wounds. But not this one. Not yet.

As much as Champion is a dystopian tale it is also a romance novel. Lu discards the concept of numbered chapters and rather goes back and forth between June and Day’s perspectives. This structure shows us that this story is about them and the love they share for one another. We learn every thought, every action, every word from both June and Day allowing the reader to be invested in the individual characters as well as their overall relationship.

Lu created a dystopian society and brings it to the brink of extinction without ignoring the consequences that doing so might bring to the characters. There are no cheap tactics of a happily ever after, yet Lu does not let go of hope in her conclusion. Being the final novel of the series, there is a bittersweet taste to the ending. Lu translates that feeling of goodbye to her novel as we say farewell to the series as well as to characters. I would recommend this novel as well as the series for those who enjoy sci-fi, futuristic worlds, romance, and character development. The variety of elements in this novel will allow different readers to find enjoyment in this story. The series comes to a climactic conclusion as we find out who champions in the end.

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Visit Marie Lu’s Website: http://marielu.org/

Champion on Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Champion-Legend-Novel-Marie-Lu/dp/0399256776

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