Friday, March 14, 2014

#16 [2014/CBR6] "Champion" by Marie Lu

I read a quick palette cleanser, The Governess Affair (2013) by Courtney Milan, before getting into the third and final installment of my latest young-adult dystopian trilogy: Champion (2013) by Marie Lu. The Governess Affair was a little short for its own review, but I will allow myself a short diversion for this little novella: I've heard only good things about Courtney Milan, but for whatever reason, her stories don't resonate with me. This one, especially, I didn't really enjoy. The whole premise revolved around an uncomfortable rape, one where the protagonist feels guilty because she didn't fight. Ugh, not really what I want to read in a romance novel, but the writing was good and I liked some parts.

Anyway, back to Champion. I was already getting a little tired of all this young adult drama, and the second book in this trilogy didn't help. I wanted to know what would happen, but I continued to lose interest throughout the third book. It wasn't bad, but like I said in my review of the second book, I didn't care enough about the material or the characters to keep me satisfied for three books.

One of my problems was that Lu stuffed so much into her last couple of books that I stopped caring about anything. The first book kept my interest with the introduction of a new world and the charismatic characters of June and Day. The story was tight and focused on the growing relationship between June and Day and their personal struggles. I still feel some moral ambiguity would add some dimension to the story, but I still enjoyed it.

But then, in the third book:
*There is a love triangle with June, Day and the autocratic leader of the Republic
*There is a love triangle with June, Day, and Tess (Day's street friend)
*Day has months to live because of a brain tumor like thing
*The plague has spread to the Colonies
*June becomes the second in command of the country
*Day leads some Patriots against the Colonies, four people crippling the entire offensive
*Day is contacted by the Colonies' leader to help sway the people of the Republic
*Tess comes down with the plague and is dying
*The Colonies get together with Africa and invades the Republic
*The Republic has to use Day's little brother for more testing to find a cure for the plague (it is not explained why this is so tortuous. You'd think all they'd have to do is get some blood from him, but it was made out to be much worse.)
*There is unnecessary drama between Day and June because Day can't forget that June found him, which led to the death of his family--even though her family was killed, she thought he'd killed her brother, and she had no idea what was going to happen
*the woman responsible for killing Day and June's families has escaped, is trying to overthrow the country as well as kill Day and June

I wish Lu had chosen to focus on one or two of the above plot points and really developed them. I was pretty sure that everything was going to turn out all right in the end, so it just meant wading through all the drama to find out how it happened.

Again, I may have been more forgiving if I haven't already been reading so many other young adult novels, but I watched Catching Fire for the first time while I was reading this book and it reminded me of how much more I liked The Hunger Games trilogy (except for the last book.)

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