Thursday, December 19, 2013

Champion by Marie Lu

Champion opens with Daniel Altan Wing (Day) living in San Francisco with his younger brother Eden. They have settled there so Eden who was made into a biological weapon by the Republic can recover from the effects of the experimentation done on him. Day is contacted by the Denver City Patrol requesting that he attend an emergency meeting in Denver during the Independence Day Ball. Day is also personally contacted by June Iparis, one of the Princeps-Elect. She tells Day that the Republic has received a communication from the Colonies stating that the plague is spreading throughout their war-front cities. For the last four months, the war has been on hold, while the Republic and the Colonies have worked on a peace treaty. That treaty is now off.

When Day travels to Denver and attends the emergency meeting he learns the truth about what is happening. The Colonies are demanding the Republic hand over the cure or they will invade the Republic with the help of the world superpower, Africa. June tells Day that they want him to bring Eden in for more experiments so they can try to find a cure for the new plague. Day refuses June's request.

After meeting with Day June attends the sentencing of those Patriots who intended to follow through with the assassination of Anden. Razor has already been executed and June attends the sentencing of Captain Thomas Bryant and Commander Natasha Jameson.

Meanwhile Day who has an infection in his hippocampus, suffers a severe setback and is hospitalized. Doctors treat him, changing his medication but tell him he has at most two months to live. While he is recovering at home, the Republic Armor is attacked by the Colonies. Due to the timing of the attack and the fact that both Bryant and Jameson are freed when their cohort of guards is changed, it appears that the Colonies are being aided by traitors within the Republic. At this time Eden is evacuated to Los Angeles.

Anden decides he must contact Antarctica for military help so he, June and the two other Princeps-Elects, Serge and Mariana travel there. June finds the Antarctican society to be much more technologically advanced. President Ikari refuses to supply military aid, instead offering scientists to help find a cure for the plague. He does indicate that Antarctica will supply military aid however, if they are offered land. Ikari also tells Anden that the Republic of America and the Colonies borders and ports must be sealed.

Denver falls to the Colonies just before Anden and June return to the Republic, forcing them to land in Los Angeles. There they meet up with Day at the Central Hospital where they learn that Tess has become ill with the plague. This event is the impetus that finally pushes Day to bring in his brother Eden for further testing.

At this time Day reveals to June that the Chancellor of the Colonies has offered him immunity as well as a guarantee of June's safety in exchange for Day leading the people into accepting the rule of the Colonies. Day has no intention of doing this but he knows he must come up with some kind of plan.

When the testing on Eden reveals a stunning result, and the Colonies prepare to attack Los Angeles, June and Day devise a plan to both  thwart the attack and force military intervention by Antarctica. Can they save the Republic from the Colonies' insidious grasp without losing everything they hold dear?

Champion is a thrilling finale to the Legends series, with a page-turning climax that leads to a sad but hopeful ending. Lu ties up all the lose ends and even takes her readers ten years into the future. Readers learn a bit more about the larger world as June and Day step outside of the Republic to travel to Antarctica. The encounter an advanced society where behaviour is strictly monitored, where everything has points - a feature June soon tires of.

Like the two novels before it, Champion is well written and essentially plot driven. Nevertheless, Lu does a good job of developing the two main characters throughout the series, focusing on their heroic journey to creating a more just society. Day and June, although initially on different paths, band together to forge a new path, mirroring the journey the Colonies and the Republic take. Day began his journey to rescue his brother, reveal the true nature of the Republic and take it down in doing so. June was the Republic's prodigy but Day made her aware of what was truly going on. Both Day and June quickly discovered the Colonies did not offer the alternative they had hoped for. Instead, they end up working to save the very regime they worked so hard to bring down. And, as a result they just might affect society in the Colonies too. In many ways, Day and June are both very tragic figures who have lost everyone dear to them, and almost lose each other.

Readers will enjoy the action sequences which are well written. Lu maintains the tension by telling the story in alternating chapters written from June and Day's perspectives. The world map at the front of the novel helps readers develop a sense of the world June, Day and Anden live in.

Overall, a solid, exciting finish to a well written series.

Book Details:
Champion by Marie Lu
New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons 2013
369 pp.

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