Two stories wrapped up in one. Believable characters and world. It's dark and real with just a touch of hope. I'm a fan! 4.5 star review...
by Marie Lu
Hardcover, 371 pages
Published January 29th 2013 by Putnam Juvenile
Injured and on the run, it has been seven days since June and Day barely escaped Los Angeles and the Republic with their lives. Day is believed dead having lost his own brother to an execution squad who thought they were assassinating him. June is now the Republic's most wanted traitor. Desperate for help, they turn to the Patriots - a vigilante rebel group sworn to bring down the Republic. But can they trust them or have they unwittingly become pawns in the most terrifying of political games?
I like this series. Picking up this book - rather out of the blue - was a great reminder to me why I liked Legend. Having different colored type per character is a little weird and maybe unnecessary, but it's fun. It emphasizes the differences between the two main characters... and that is one of my very favorite aspects of the story.
June - I had forgotten just how bad-a** she is. Wow! I love the way she is soooo HARD CORE, fast, precise, accurate... the best of the best. She is THE prodigy of the Republic, the best of what they could create with selective breading (*gag*), testing, and specialized training. Being inside her head is always a little frightening - a little too calculating to be human, almost, and for some reason, it gives me this buzz feeling of POWER! To be June is to not be afraid of anything at any time 'cause it's hard to hide things from her and her brain clicks into analyzing the danger and best responses so quickly. It's a rush. And deliciously foreign.
Day - I had also forgotten how awesome he is, but I found myself liking him best between these two often. They'd probably be irritated that they were competing for my support and enthusiasm... which goes to show just how real they both feel. :-D Day is the hero of the Republic. He is the epitome of the downtrodden and represents THE PEOPLE very well by being so very good at escaping danger when he has to. He feels very vulnerable, however, which is perfect for who he represents. His greatness appears like shafts of light down a tunnel - in odd moments where we see him as June sees him or reflected in the eyes of his fans or enemies. Since Day doesn't see himself as a hero, it's a slippery concept, which just makes him more approachable and likable.
Every time I see his name Day, I think of June as "Night". The references to how he is her light don't help. Lol. These names, both of them, throw me off the trail some and I'm not sure I'm a fan of their names. Lol. Although... maybe their names are completely symbolic? As Day is the Republic's dawn of hope, June is the Republic's arrival of a new season? Still, distracting.
I love the way the story skips faster as the perspective changes back and forth between the two main characters. Each chapter skips a little ahead, for the most part, or if it parallels a scene from the other's perspective, it's such a fast skim, the alternations only move the story along faster. I love that part.
The "no comment" bit would come from the fact that I read this story over 8 days on the train and didn't have much trouble setting it down even in the middle of an action sequence. So there was some element of danger that didn't feel completely real... maybe there's a feeling of security between the two characters, that they will both arrive at the end and somehow accomplish their growing purpose. (Joke's on me, right?) That said, I often forgot where I was and caught myself glancing up in surprise wondering if I'd passed my stop more than once.
Speaking of action sequence... I love, LOVE how completely different these two are and how real and solid the minor characters are... from Razor to Kaedin to the young Elector. This clear difference went all the way from their words and thought patterns to their way of fighting. Sometimes in books with hand-to-hand combat, the author is present rather than the two characters, you know? Not so here. The moves in battle were also sooooo unique and characteristic. I could read about either of them doing anything at any given moment and know which one it is. Brilliant.
I'm giving 4.5 stars to the story and I want to pick up Champion immediately.
I write young adult novels, and have a special love for dystopian books. Ironically, I was born in 1984. I like food, fighter jets, afternoon tea, happy people, electronics, the interwebz, cupcakes, pianos, bright colors, rain, Christmas lights, sketches, animation, dogs, farmers' markets, video games, and of course, books. I suck at working out. I also get lost very easily, but am a halfway decent driver for an Asian girl. At least, I like to think so. :)
I was born near Shanghai, but settled down in Texas until I went off to college at the University of Southern California. California weather sweet-talked me into sticking around, so I'm currently in Pasadena with my boyfriend, two Pembroke Welsh Corgis, and a chihuahua mix.