LEGEND Author Marie Lu Talks CHAMPION With USA Today *Spoilers*

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Marie Lu has obviously been quiet about where the Legend trilogy will end up in the final book, Champion.  And those of you who read Prodigy will know that there may be some trepidation going into the third book.  Well, I can’t say that there would be any less trepidation from what she stated in the USA Today article.  In fact, some people may be downright scared for what will happen with our favorite character(s), especially with a statement like “I hope people still like me after the ending!  I’m honestly not entirely sure if I’m going to be getting a lot of hate mail, but we’ll see what happens.”

If you are scared, don’t worry, because I’m right there with you!  But hey, at least you have until November to prepare yourself mentally for another piece of your heart possibly breaking.  Here’s some of what was discussed in that interview:

WARNING: Spoilers involved if you haven’t read Prodigy yet.  

Q: Yet Champion does begin with them separated. What will we learn about their relationship in this last book?

A: There’s still a little bit to go for both Day and June to understand their place in the world and whatever that means for their lives and their place in the bigger picture, as well as what they want to aspire to become. They’re hitting that last stage of development where they step over the line from adolescence to adulthood.

Especially with June, there are some scenes about what exactly makes a good person change into a bad person. The Republic was not always run by a ruthless dictator. I don’t think anybody starts off thinking, “I’m going to be the horrible tyrant that destroys the world.” Everyone starts off thinking they’re right, they’re doing something great for the world, and how do you twist out of that? June, in particular, and Anden, the young Elector, go on that leg of the journey to figure out what exactly that means.

Q: It seems like everything’s copacetic at the end of Prodigy, though I’m sure things go awry quickly.

A: Things are settling in — you’ve got the peace treaty going with the Republic and the Colonies, and then everything falls apart, which I think happens a lot in real life, too. You’re like, “OK, we’re good! Are we friends?” And then things don’t go according to plan. That’s what kicks off the story in Champion.

I get e-mails every now and then from people who think that Prodigy is the ending to the series, and they ask me questions like, “Is there a third book? It feels like a lot of things were solved.”

Q: It’s an interesting storytelling element. Many probably assume a second chapter is like The Empire Strikes Back, where things get real dark before the inevitable happy — maybe — ending. That’s not the case here.

A: I’m a write-by-the-seat-of-my-pants author, so I don’t really know exactly what’s going to happen till I get there. When I was planning out the ending for Prodigy, I always knew there would be a certain sense of closure in one way, and yet a lot of issues that will come out of that closure that go into Champion.

What happens when someone new becomes the king or the new ruler of the king? Are we all happy and good? How do you lead a country out of that, especially if there are a lot of things still going on in the world and things from the outside coming in and disrupting what you want to do?

In terms of Day and June, that was the biggest not-closed thread that Prodigy ended with. I knew I wanted to structure it in a way where you think they’ve left off and finished at a certain point, but wait — there’s more to what happens to them.

Q: How much of the actual series ending have you had in place from the start?

A: The very, very first version of Champion‘s ending was significantly different form what it finally ended up being. I’ve realized that it happens to me a lot, so I’m not terribly shocked by it anymore. I’m just like, “Oh, OK. My characters are just throwing a fit.” Sometimes I feel like I have very little control over my story. (Laughs)

Q: You also left off with the little nugget of Day being diagnosed with a terminal illness. That should add some drama, because there is the potential for that ending badly.

A: And that’s something I didn’t realize until late into writing Legend.

Q: Have fans’ favorite characters changed a lot from book to book?

A: I actually have seen a little bit of a shift. With the first book, there was a little bit of a divide with the June people — people either seemed to really like her or really, really hate her because she was cold and standoffish, and people really sided with Day.

The second one, I’ve noticed people are starting to like June a little more because, out of the two, she’s grown the most. People liked seeing her sympathetic side. And people can get irritated with Day more. He’s a very emotional person, so in Prodigyespecially, he shows that side, where he leaps before he looks and makes erroneous judgments about things. It’s interesting to see this ebb and flow of the fan base.

Overall, especially with the secondary characters, people seem to be pretty constant with those. Metias has a huge cult following, even though he’s been dead since, like, the third chapter of the first book. I love that. I have fun putting little flashbacks here and there into the story, where he’s still in it as a thank-you to his fans.

Q: Do you foresee ever revisiting Day and June?

A: I don’t think I would return to the Legend world anytime soon. I never want to say I would never do it, just because in a few years, I might find something else I want to add. At least in terms of Day and June’s story, that is done.

Q: Tease the grand finale of Champion using only one word.

A: I’m going to go with “closure.” Hopefully there won’t be any open-ended questions left for anyone by the end of the book.

To read the full interview and the exclusive excerpt from Champion, go to USA Today.

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