PEOPLE. I’ve been thinking about what to write for this review of Champion for hours, now, and I am seriously sitting at my laptop, eyes bugged out huge, because, OMGOSH. I think so much just happened that it broke my brain.
This book is absolutely my most favorite of all the series-enders I’ve read in the past year. Looking back at my list on Goodreads, that incorporates Boundless (Unearthly), Requiem (Delirium), Sever (The Chemical Garden Trilogy), If I Should Die (Revenants), Infinityglass: An Hourglass Novel, and Allegiant (Divergent). That’s…a lot. And while there were some of those that I liked (Boundless, in particular), some left me feeling really raw. Champion basically terrified me. And, other than saying trust me, and just read it, I will leave it there and not spoil anything.
Lu continues to be an exceptionally skilled writer. She is concise, strong, and as demanding of her readers as she is of her characters. June and Day don’t have it easy–war isn’t easy–and Lu doesn’t make their lives cutesy and neat. But one of the things I love most about Lu’s writing is how true she is to human tendencies and emotions. With all her logic and analytical capabilities, June can come across as cold and uncaring, but I love Lu’s ability to express June’s extraordinary loyalty, and the vulnerabilities she hides underneath her many outer shells of strengths. She’s such a perfect, stalwart foil to Day’s warm, rallying, emotional leader, and Lu’s ability to make us both cheer for them and feel sympathy for Anden are an impressive show of skill, indeed.
I was amazed by the imagination that went into the world-building in this whole series, but especially when we were introduced to Antarctica. I’ll let you read about it rather than describing it here, so you can experience the fun for yourselves, but I was completely overcome by a sense of wonder. All three of the series’ major settings, really, are impressive in their scope–Lu is a marvel.
In all, Champion is …well, it’s exactly what I hope for in a novel. Thrills, excitement, a little romance, a great story, and fantastic writing. There’s a touch of mild language, and “the deed” does finally happen. There are details, but they are vague-ish? Not inappropriate, in themselves (e.g., my pre-teens would have no idea what’s happening, but your 16-yo would be able to figure it out).
Practically perfect in every way. 5 stars