Review of Champion by Marie Lu (Epic ending to a great trilogy)
Posted by Sam Whitehouse
Rating 4.75/5 (almost five)
Is this a worthy ending?
I know from experience that writing the final book in a trilogy or series is a hard task. There are multiple plot strands to tie together, characters to kill off or let live… Sometimes authors get it right on the money. J K Rowling ended Potter exactly as it should have ended, Suzanne Collins delivered an impressive final book for the Hunger Games and Marie Lu steps up to the plate too and makes the final book in the Legend trilogy worthy of its predecessors.
Legend was a fast-paced, gripping read that had the task of setting up world, characters and plot arc, and so it felt a little like half a book. Prodigy made up for that and delivered fast-paced action, gripping plots and some great characters.
Champion improves on both books, even if the pacing was a little off in places. Lu had created an entire world for the Legend trilogy, and had the task of resolving the conflict that tore this world apart. She manages to do that, whilst still focusing on arguably the strongest aspect of the trilogy which is the characters. Day and June get roughly equal chapters to account the final struggle to unite their divided world–they face off against enemies they thought were friends, friends who they thought were enemies. Lu’s writing is as sharp and well-crafted as it was in the first two books, and she has the distinct voices down pat. There’s no room for rambling description in Lu’s writing, and the pace benefits from it.
There’s rarely a moment that something isn’t happening—but in places the pace went from fast to slow and it jarred overall. However, that wasn’t often and it didn’t affect how much I was gripped by the plot. There is no shortage of explosions and escapes, fight sequences and battles. Lu uses only a few words but manages to put you in amongst the smoke and fire and hear the jets and bombs going overhead and exploding across the LA setting. Comparisons to the Hunger Games are inevitable, but you’d be hard-pressed to read a dystopian novel these days that doesn’t borrow something from one series or other. Lu manages to make Champion, and the whole trilogy, stand out in the crowded dystopian YA market.
In essence, Champion is a war novel, it’s one big battle. And that means plenty of action. Which is one of my favourite things about this, and any, novel. Lu knows how to write action, delivering some awesome set pieces that are made for a movie (a movie is in the works for Legend, but for some reason it’s slow in developing). The stakes are high; the tension ramped up particularly in the action-packed final fifty or so pages. And there are more than a few stirring speeches to ensure this is an epic conclusion.
It’s clear that Lu has planned this trilogy carefully. All the plot strands are tied up well and characters are given enough time to have past conflicts or plot arcs resolved. The ten years later epilogue is a nicely ambiguous ending that leaves enough to the reader’s imagination but provides enough of a sense of finality to please everyone.
Overall, this is a satisfying conclusion to an action-packed trilogy. Lu pulls everything together and delivers something that should please all fans.
Highly, highly recommended.