Champion is the final book in Marie Lu’s Legend trilogy told in alternating chapters by June and Day. In the first book June got to be a kick ass female in the style of Katniss, Buffy, Tris and others who paved the way, but in this book the battles she fights are all political or emotional and I miss the old June. The same problem exists with Day in this story. Granted, the former experimentation performed on him has left him weak, perhaps fatally so, and he has been separated from June for nearly a year seeking treatment for himself and his brother Eden, one of the Republic’s last experiments. It just doesn’t seem true to character that June wouldn’t hunt down her man and that Day would be able to survive so long without her in his life.
When a plague virus is the cause of the Colonies declaring war on the Republic, Anden and June reach out to Day, the people’s hero for help, but what they ask of him is too big a sacrifice and Anden and June head to Antarctica to request help. June is shocked to discover their superior technology, how their society works and how backward and isolated the Republic is now compared to other nations.
Returning unsuccessful in their mission, the pair arrive back to find they are under attack from enemies within and without. Captain Jameson and Thomas who were due to shortly be executed have escaped and the Colonies have attacked saying they won’t stop unless a cure for the plague is handed over by the Republic. Surprising support comes from Tess and the remnants of the former Patriots who have decided that even a flawed Republic is better than none at all.
Day’s part in fighting against the Colonies just doesn’t ring true; he goes from episodes where he is hovering on the verge of death, to taking part in his old shenanigans, whilst June uses almost none of her superior fighting skills, strange for someone referred to as the Prodigy. I just felt that this final book was waaaay too Harlequin Romance novels for my taste…the romantic triangle between June, Anden and Day, the stoic suffering of Day, and June’s overdramatic sacrifice near the end of the story. I am not against a little emotion or romance in this genre, but it just felt like it was the whole focus of this story and has been done better or more realistically in other books. For example, the attraction between Anden and June wasn’t as strongly developed as the Chemical Garden series where Rhine feels something for Linden despite her love for Gabriel, the love triangle was more developed in the Matched trilogy, and the heartbreak and maturation worked better in Dust & Decay.
None of this is to say that this wasn’t a good read, I just wasn’t comfortable with the change in direction this book took from the previous and the drawn out angst over action. Still, I will keep an eye out for further books from Ms. Lu to follow how her work as an author develops with her next stories.