Champion

I first heard of the Legend trilogy last year but didn’t start reading it until a bit over a half a year ago. And now, after Legend and Prodigy, the time came to pick up the last one, Champion. I was uncertain beforehand and actually thought back and forth for a while about whether I should read it or not. In the end I did and it’s not something I regret.

About eight months after Day and June’s good-bye in Denver, Champion begins. Day is in San Francisco where he gets treatment for his illness and June is working as a Princeps-Elect in Denver, next to the new Elector, Anden. For a moment things seem fine, but the fragile peace between the Republic of America and the Colonies of America doesn’t last long after a new plague erupts and causes panic in both countries, because to avoid war from the Colonies, the Republic need to hand over a cure. A cure which the Republic do not have. It’s soon realized that there’s only one person who can help keep the peace between the nations and it is this realization that brings June and Day back together again. But can June ask the person she loves to give up the one thing he’s been fighting for all along?

When I finished Prodigy I was a bit uncertain if I was going to read the final book. It had nothing to do with the story or the writing, Marie Lu is amazing, but rather the fact that Day was sick. I wasn’t sure if I could read a book about him being sick and possibly dying in the end, but eventually decided that I wanted to know how it all ended anyway. I’m now really glad that I kept reading.

Champion is, in every way, the ultimate ending of this trilogy. It has everything that already existed in the previous two stories and more. Politics, battles, romantic entanglements, sacrifices and, above all, hope. Despite what June and Day have lost they still keep going and no matter what they’re facing, they still keep going. They are two very strong main characters that lift the entire story. Somehow they’re so alike yet so different but they still fit perfectly together. They work as a team to protect their country and their loved ones and their strength seeps out through the pages and into the reader.

There was never a dull moment in Champion and when I got to the breaking point there was just no way to put the book down. I just kept reading until the end and then I stared out in the air for a while and thought “Is that it? There’s nothing more now?”. It was a very sad moment, actually, to realize that the story was over now. It didn’t end in a bad way, not at all, but it still made me feel empty. Finishing a trilogy is different from finishing a novel; you’ve been with the characters for longer and it hurts when you part with them. But for some reason, it hurt more now than I can remember it ever doing when I’ve finished previous trilogies.

There is nothing with Marie Lu’s Legend trilogy that isn’t brilliant. It’s not a love-story with a country falling apart, it’s a country falling apart with a love-story on the side. Along the way are glimpses of June and Day, but the overall focus is on the Republic and how to keep the country floating. It’s action-packed to the brim and never a dull moment to be seen. I like this story very, very much and I hope that a lot of people out there will give it a chance, because I can promise, you won’t be disappointed.

A Thousand Pieces of You

Months ago I came across a novel that wasn’t yet published, but had the prettiest cover I’ve ever seen. People who know me knows that I love beautiful book covers and that I, despite the good old Don’t judge a book by its cover, focus a lot on it. When buying a book I always try to find the edition with the prettiest cover. It’s no lie that humans respond to pictures and colors and are drawn to it, which is why I believe a good cover is essential for a book. A Thousand Pieces of You definitely has that.

The reason as to how I came across this story is because of the cover; I saw it and was intrigued. After that I looked up what the novel was really about and then I was hooked. I still had to wait quite a while before the book was published and I could get my hands on a copy, but when I did, it was so worth the wait.

This story takes place in a world which isn’t very different from ours, but for one significant thing. Travels between parallel universes are possible. Marguerite Cain’s parents have invented a device called the Firebird. It can take you out from this universe and into another in which you already live, inhabitate another yourself and see a different life. This is Marguerite’s parent’s lifework and something they couldn’t have done without their two assistants, Theo and Paul. Everything is good, until one day when Paul murder Marguerite’s father, steals the Firebird and escapes into another dimension. The perfect crime. Marguerite is left with her mother and sister and Theo, all of them distraught and heartbroken. Marguerite sees only one solution, and it’s to follow Paul into the other dimension and hunt him down so that he can pay for what he has done. Together, Marguerite and Theo head out on this extremely dangerous mission, only for Marguerite to realize that everything’s not always quite as it seems. Least of all this.

Claudia Gray has written a wonderful story on about 350 pages. It felt like much, much more but not in a bad way. Never not once was I bored, never not once did I consider putting the book down to read something else. I guess the reason it felt like the book was so long was because so much happened – and Marguerite visited multiple different dimensions. Everyone was the same but yet so very different and in everyone she tangled up with her family and, most importantly, Paul. They met in different ways and during different situations every time and in each dimension Marguerite learned something new about him. He was another Paul, but still himself and she was another Marguerite, but still herself. Slowly Marguerite started to doubt more than just the real reason behind her father’s murder.

I’m not going to lie, I absolutely loved the idea of jumping through, and visiting, different dimension. Seeing how Marguerite’s life could have been. Meeting new people, but also the same ones, over and over. Parallel universes in itself is something that interests me, so there was never a questions as to if I was going to read this book, only how fast can I get my hands on it? There aren’t way too many novels out there that is a story you really, really want to read. One that pikes your interest right away. A book that is you. But this book is really me and of course, my hopes were very high.

Every time I read a book I have a picture in my head of how it will be like, how the story will unfold. I had it this time too, but for once, what I thought would happened and what actually happened wasn’t too far off. The novel was good, great even. Fantastic. Somehow it’s fast-paced but you still devour every last word. There’s never a dull moment and it’s really fun seeing Marguerite in the different dimensions, see the differences and the similarities. In every new world she steps into, she has to adjust to a life she’s lived her whole life but knows nothing about. It’s almost like the book is one story with a bunch of sub stories which ultimately connect to the story. It might sound confusing, but it’s not when you read it. The opposite, actually. It’s truly brilliant.

There was something though, but I’m not sure what, that got me a tiny bit disappointed. Something that made me feel like I didn’t entirely got what I bargained for, like something was missing. This is only the first novel in a trilogy, though, so that missing piece might just appear along the way. Maybe it was so simple that I felt throughout the story that I kind of knew what would happen. I wasn’t sure and it didn’t go down entirely was I thought it would, but when I finished the last page I wasn’t all that surprised. Something for Gray to work on when it comes to the sequel, which I most definitely will read. This has the potential to become one of those trilogies, the ones everyone know of, everyone has heard of and everyone has read.

Frozen

There are a lot, a lot, of young adult novels out there. I’ve read quite a few myself and a lot of them are excellent. It doesn’t matter if you’re fifteen or thirty, young adult novels can still give you a lot, so don’t get fooled by that young adult. But sometimes, oh, sometimes I wish there was a little sign at the back of the book, like at puzzles and games, which says which age the book is directed too.

I first heard of Frozen way back last year (which feels like a lifetime when you wait around for the paperback version) and I was very keen to read it. I already knew what it was about, a sixteen year old girl living in a frozen world with powers that were illegal and thus was imprisoned. She was to head out on a very dangerous trip in search of the mythical place that could save her, the Blue.

What I didn’t know was that the female main character was named Nat and worked as a blackjack dealer. I didn’t know there was a male character named Wes, also sixteen, who worked as a runner and had one job. To get people out of New Vegas and, for most part, to the Blue. This is quite a hard job to have, since no one knows where the Blue is. Most people think it’s just a myth, but for Nat it can be the thing that saves her.

Like said, this story takes place way into the future, in New Vegas. The world has gone through a huge change and is now mostly covered in ice. There’s real food and water – for those who can pay. But most people must learn to eat produced products and come to terms with the fact that they get to eat soy burgers, not real burgers. The world is cold and hard and filled with garbage. The seas are poisonous and the sun never shines. Many children are orphans, war rages the boarders of what’s left of the USA – the RSA, and kids enter the army when they’re twelve, thirteen, fourteen. Wes, with his sixteen years, is practically considered a veteran.

Though the world of Nat and Wes’ is dull (and by that I mean gray and cold) I find it brilliant. Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston have together created a world that ours might as well turn into. The characters live in the leftovers from their ancestors, us, and I think it’s very important to think about just what might happen in the future. Exactly what kind of state are we leaving our planet in, to our children and children’s children? I know, this is not something new, but still equally important. Unfortunately, I found this to be the only good thing with this book.

I knew that the story was written by both de la Cruz and Johnston and even though I didn’t know how they had written it, I didn’t have any references since I haven’t read a novel by either before, part off me still thought I would be able to tell who wrote what. That there would be a change, even if just a little one. Something that tipped me of that she wrote that and he wrote this. There wasn’t and it’s not a problem, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it throughout the book. At first I thought that maybe every other chapter was out of Nat’s perspective and every other from Wes’ and that de la Cruz wrote one and Johnston the other. A few chapters in I realized that that wasn’t the case, either. It was easy in the beginning, seeing from which chapter the story was told, but soon that blurred together and it seemed to be more of third-person kind of telling, mixed with what they both thought and felt.

That was something I found quite confusing and I might not had the writing not been so bad. It didn’t at all live up to my expectations for what good writing is. When I read it I felt like I was reading a story written for a twelve year old, language wise, but the story itself didn’t skip out on the pain and blood, so to speak. I couldn’t decide whether the novel was targeting younger people without caring if certain parts were scary or if I was just way too picky when it came to the writing. Either way I didn’t like it.

The story itself has a lot of promise, which is why it intrigued me in the first place. It’s about a girl with a dangerous secret living in a world where she isn’t safe and she needs to escape. Like I said before, I loved the idea with the frozen world, to see how broken and ruined it was. Unfortunately, the story didn’t live up to the settings and that failed the whole book. The characters lacked depth and it all felt flimsy. They were young, all of them, sixteen or younger, and you could tell by the way they were thinking and acting. Everything happened so fast, and so fleeting, that I never really felt like I got a foothold, a grip to the story.

This is only the first part of a trilogy, so it might just get better. I, for one, will not stick around to find out. Sometimes I read the first part of a trilogy and say I won’t continue only for my curiosity to get the better of me. This time though, I know for sure that I won’t waste any money on the sequel. I didn’t like the characters or the actual story and I certainly didn’t like the writing. There was nothing in the ending that convinced me to get the next book. I’m disappointed, because I had great hopes and Frozen let me down on every single one of them. There is nothing good with finishing the first part of a trilogy and not for a second seeing yourself continuing it.