*Warning: Spoilers ahead!*
The third and final book of the Legend series. This was the book I was most afraid of reading, coming into it. This series has been such a whirlwind of emotions, and I’m going to miss these characters. The end of a series is always a sad moment. But this whole story is just heartbreaking, through and through.
“How can the boy who stirred an entire nation be dying?”
In Champion, June is a Princeps-Elect, and Day is laying low with his brother. But war with the Colonies starts to heat up, and soon it becomes obvious that the Republic won’t win without doing something different. But there’s another problem: the plague seems to have spread to the Colonies, and now the Colonies have the leverage and power to destroy the Republic. Day refuses to allow Eden be experimented on again, even for the sake of the Republic. At the same time, Day and June’s relationship goes through the same roller coaster ride of emotions we’ve come to associate with them, after an eight month cooling off period. It’s clear that June and Day love each other, but after all they’ve been through, is that enough? And after all they are about to go through, will they end up as part of the Colonies or part of the Republic?
Watching June and Day grow up has been spectacular. Thinking back on their first moment to where they ended, they’ve both grown so much braver, wiser, stronger, and into leaders, both in their own rightful way. Day leads the people, the everyday citizens of the Republic. And June leads by example, whether it’s grace and strength in the Senate chambers or power and skill out in the streets fighting. I think one of the special elements of a series as opposed to a standalone is how attached you become to the characters, and how much you really get to know them. I feel as if June and Day are my friends. They are my age, after all. I know their good sides and bad sides, and I love them as if they were mine. And I love them together, and the love that they feel for each other.
“Those bright blue eyes. Before me is the boy who has bandaged my wounds on the streets of Lake, who has guarded his family with every bone in his body, who has stayed by my side in spite of everything, the boy of light and laughter and life, of grief and fury and passion, the boy whose fate is intertwined with mine, forever and always.”
The side characters were also a pleasant surprise. They’d always existed in the past, but the main story was about June and Day and the Republic. But Tess, Pascao, Eden, and Anden all start to grow on me and become moving parts of the story. Their personalities develop, and become more complex. In the first book, Tess was a sweet little “sister”. In the second book, Tess was rebellious, jealous, wanting more from Day. But in the third book, she is strong. She relies on herself, and still retains the sweetness she’s always had. Pascao goes from being a random Patriot to a friend of Day’s, and eventually of June’s. Eden transforms from the little boy Day always saw him as to a boy who is strong, and can make his own decisions. And he’s so sassy!
“Hey—with your metal leg and half a brain, and my four leftover senses, we almost make a whole person.”
And Anden. Besides Day and June, he was probably my favorite character. He was in love with someone he’d never get, was a young man struggling to carry an entire nation. He missed his father, a man who did horrible, terrible things, because he was still his father. His emotions are complex, his roles complicated. Anden has so much to deal with, righting the wrongs his father created, but also tackling new issues. And it’s hard, so hard on him. But Anden proves he’s strong, he’s prepared, he’s gracious, and he’s ready to listen and fight for the people of the Republic. He and June’s friendship was pure and something unexpected that I really enjoyed.
“Without his father’s shadow in a way, he’s beautiful.”
Along with new relationships, I really loved how June and Tess became friends, particularly in the epilogue. They both were always on the same side, and when they finally come to terms with each other, you can just tell their friendship is strong. Same with June and Pascao. It just makes me happy to see June finally have more people to rely on, so she isn’t alone anymore. She shouldn’t have to go through life alone, and those new friendships were just such a good element added.
I think this book is a lot more about politics and war than the previous books. In the earlier books, there was a clear right and wrong: the Republic’s past policies are wrong. The Trials are wrong. The plague is wrong. But here, the lines are blurred. It’s wrong to ask Day and Eden to sacrifice again, after all they’ve been through at the hands of the Republic. But if it saves an entire nation from disaster, is it right? These are the questions June and Anden grapple with. Anden must play diplomat with other nations, and beg for help. Again, we see the Republic from the world’s viewpoint, and see how desperate and weak the Republic really is. It gets tiring to watch Anden jump through all these political hoops and niceties to try and save his country, and do what he believes is right.
But at the same time, my pride in the Republic grew. Not the Senate or Congress, but in Anden, Day, June, and the people. Especially the people. In a lot of ways, Day’s progression in this series is the same progression the people went through. They went from hating the Republic, to cheering it on when it tries to change, to fighting for it, wholeheartedly, with all they’ve got. I felt immense pride in the people rising up against the Colonies and fighting for their home, and how the Republic was no longer separated into soldiers and civilians. They worked together. They were fighting the same fight.
“’The people do believe in you. They believe in us. And they will fight back for us if we call on them—they’ll be the ones ripping down Colonies flags, protesting in front of Colonies offices, turning their own homes into traps for invading Colonies soldiers.’ I narrow my eyes. ‘They’ll become a million versions of me.’”
Now it’s time to tackle the most controversial element of the series: the ending. When I first read the series, this ending wrecked me. I felt betrayed. After all I went through with these characters, all they’ve been through, this is how it ends? But it’s been two years, and I’ve grown up a lot in those two years. I understand now that love is a powerful force, and a strong force, but alone it cannot hold two people together. The timing needs to be right also. Day and June had the love, there was no doubt about it. But Day and June did not have that correct timing the first time they met. Every time Day looked at June, he would be reminded of all the scars he had, all the pain he’s faced. He would never be able to separate his love for June and his grief over his family if they stayed together at that time, and then he would never be able to heal.
“I did this to him . . . and because he loves me, he can never really escape it. He’ll remember the fate of his family every time he sees me, even if he loves me, especially if he loves me.”
But, Marie Lu, ending it the way she did, gave June and Day that possibility of finally healing and being together. It may seem useless. That’s what I thought the first time. What happens to all those beautiful memories they had together? But when I read it now, I realize that they will always have the opportunity to make more of those beautiful memories. But now those painful memories associated with the two of them together can be sewn up and lost. And I’m so, so thankful that Marie Lu gave us a glimpse into the future, where we can finally watch the timing and the love be right, and finally watch June and Day heal. Because we all know they deserve it. The more I reread the ending, the more I decided I like it. It is what all the readers wanted.
“Day will move on and live his life. So will I. We will be okay. Someday, perhaps in the far and distant future, we’ll find each other again.”
A couple random thoughts as the series come to an end. Why does Marie Lu have to include Ollie in my emotions?! Anytime I think things just can’t get sadder, she causally mentions some sad thing that happened to Ollie, and I just break down. I also have such mixed feelings on Thomas. I’ve decided he isn’t a bad person, but weak. But ultimately, he dies in the way he deserves to, taking his entire life into account. Also, Marie Lu does an amazing job of making each part of the book purposeful. Nothing is written without a future meaning. And she ties back to her previous books so well. The paper clip ring? Any time I even read about the paper clip ring, I start sobbing (I’m a bit of an emotional reader) because it just represents so much. It was absolutely perfect of her to keep reintroducing the ring and adding more and more layers to it.
“To keep myself calm and occupied, I’m carefully entwining four straightened paper clips in my lap to form a small ring.”
And lastly, the final two lines of her book? What a perfect way to tie back to the end of Prodigy, and remind me why the ending really was the necessary way to end their story. Really, that entire epilogue gave me the feels. I was completely wrecked reading it. The revelation June had about Metias, the meeting between Day and June, just everything. I know it’s very controversial, and I felt completely betrayed reading it the first time, but now it gave me peace knowing my characters will be okay.
“Then Day reaches out and touches my hand with his. He encloses it in a handshake. And just like that, I am linked with him again, I feel the pulse of our bond and history and love through our hands, like a wave of magic, the return of a long lost friend. Of something meant to be. The feeling brings tears to my eyes. Perhaps we can take a step forward together.
‘Hi,’ he says. ‘I’m Daniel.’
‘Hi,’ I reply. ‘I’m June.'”
I am really happy I decided to reread this series, because it’s even more amazing than I remembered it being. Thank you, dear bloggers, for following me on my emotional ride through this series. I hope you all read it and love it just as much as I did.
What did you think about the ending of Champion? Let me know in the comments below!