Exclusive YALL Fest Interview with Marie Lu

Our very own Ellie attended YALL Fest last week and was lucky enough to discuss CHAMPION with Marie Lu!

Why did Marie choose build her world the way she did? What inspired the ending? What happened to the characters we all know and love after the epilogue? We asked it all!

Please note that the majority of the questions contain SPOILERS. The spoiler-free questions are above the cut and the spoilers are hiding under the cut. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!

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Now that your final book in the trilogy is out, how do you feel about it being out there and being finished with it?

Marie Lu:
It feels really weird! I always compare it to how parents must feel when they send their kids off to college because on one end you’re really relieved, like “Oh thank God, they got out of the house and they’re off to do their own thing!” And at the same time, you’re sad because they’re out of the house and now it’s like an empty nest. I feel a little bit like that. I feel like my characters are not mine anymore and they’ve gone off to live in the real world. Wherever that is! (laughs) Wherever characters go off after stories end. And I feel like they’re not with me anymore and they’re off somewhere. They kind of belong to the public now. It’s kind of a weird, wistful feeling.

What have you learned about the whole writing process throughout the series and would you change anything if you could start over?

ML:
I’ve learned that writing changes over time, especially for someone like me who’s a pants-er. And I realize that characters change too. When I first started writing June, i didn’t identify with her at all so I had a lot of trouble getting into her head. She’s smarter than me and it’s really hard to write a character that’s smarter than yourself, so I would have to stop constantly to do research about her chapters. Towards the end of it, I kind of realized that I had been writing about myself all along. Not that I have her genius analytical side or intelligence, but that she kind of reacts to situations the same way that I do. We deal with grief and stress and panic the same way. I began putting bits and pieces of that into her and I didn’t realize until the last book when I really started to connect. At the end of it, I think June is my favorite person out of everybody because I really understood and sympathized with her. So it was like evolution for me too.

What it one thing you want readers to take away from this series?

ML: I’d like them to take away that even if you live in a very dark place, you have the potential to change that and that you can come out of it and be okay. I think that was something I really wanted Day to experience because he, more than anybody, came from a place of such hopelessness and he was so poor, but he managed to come out of that. I get a lot of reader emails from people who struggle with real life issues and I want them to know that you can make it out of anything like that.
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Our Thoughts on the Final Book of the Legend Series, CHAMPION

It’s been over a week since the third and final book of the Legend trilogy was released, and maybe you’ve held off on reading it for one reason or another.  Maybe you’re scared of reading how it will end, or maybe you’re still catching up on other books (of which we can certainly understand), or maybe you just have to wait for that next paycheck.

Whatever the reason, we’re going to give you some of our thoughts on the final book that could encourage you to make Champion the next book for you to read.

No spoilers!

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Nat’s Review:

The introduction of some new characters and areas are not too expansive to where you feel lost. The focus is still maintained on the characters that we know and love as well as the situations that we’re familiar with already. That’s not saying there isn’t growth in the world that Marie has created, because there certainly is, but she just doesn’t overwhelm, or basically tease, you with what else is going outside of June and Day’s perspective. She gives you enough glimpses of life outside of the Rebuplic and the Colonies to make it interesting for you, but still manages to contain the world enough to where you don’t get confused. 

The war and the politics and how this future is really makes sense to me. There’s a lot of devices and things in there that we are familiar with and I can see how the future that Marie has created can be conceived from the politics and the technology and military of today’s culture. What I like the most about this part is that there is not really one area or city or territory that is vastly superior to the others, although a case could be made about one certain territory in particular, but still, I’m sure there are flaws there as well. That might be one thing that the young adults could really learn from this book as far as countries go. Neither the Republic nor the Colonies are favored in the way the people are being treated in either society, and there’s much to learn about that that could be seen in today’s society. 

Day and June. Oh, my dear Day and my dear June. There was nothing that they said or did that strayed away from what we already knew of them. They both harbor very strong feelings for each other. They both harbor strong doubts about the other and they both are challenged with the thought of whether they can even be together if they really wanted to. There was the established consequences of their past actions towards each other and their families, so of course, there’s always that “elephant in the room” for these two. How Marie deals with that in this book is pretty amazing – both heartbreaking and hopeful at the same time. 

I ended the book with tears in my eyes, from both sorrow and joy. Sorrow for what was lost, and joy for what was to come. I found hope again, too. It was earned in one of the most sacrificial ways possible. Deservedly so, I think. So, yes, I can see hope for a future that would fill in those losses with love and fulfillment. 

You can read the full review here.

Kait’s Review:

The problem with YA series (I want to write “seri”, even though that’s wrong) as a whole is that endings get tricky. Everyone wants to be shocking and thrilling and unexpected. In doing so, authors sometimes seem to lose sight of what it’s all about. Thankfully, Marie Lu is not one of those authors! She gives us action and twists without completely throwing out the rule book and THANK YOU SWEET BABY JESUS!

CHAMPION picks up several months after PRODIGY. Impending peace between the Republic and the Colonies comes to a screeching halt when the Republic’s plague, once believed to be contained, begins spreading throughout the Colonies. With a powerful new ally on their side, the Colonies prepare to overtake the Republic.

Politics are a much bigger part of the story in CHAMPION, but they’re an exciting part. Day and June’s personal battles are entwined with politics so deeply that your heart aches for one or both of them whenever a political struggle surfaces. Both characters are torn between saving the Republic and doubting it can ever be fixed. But alongside all the politics comes the heart-stopping action everyone loves from this trilogy. Things never get dull. Ten points to the author who knows how to balance out a story!

The one thing that confused me politically is The Patriots. You never really find out how they got to where they stand and why they choose to give up their former goal of reforming the United States. Did they forget all about it just because they were used under false pretenses in PRODIGY? All the same, I love their involvement in this book. Pascao and Tess are my buddies now!

Without giving too much away, this book gives us some insight into how the rest of the world works. The ravaged Republic and the commercialized Colonies are great settings, but seeing how the not-so-war-torn world functions really puts things into perspective and makes it even better.

Best part? The ending was pretty superb! No, things don’t wrap themselves up in neat little packages. But it’s beautiful and touching. The epilogue killed me, in the absolute best way possible. It pulled at my heartstrings but ultimately left me with HOPE.

You can read the full review here.

CHAMPION Book Trailer

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MTV has an exclusive look at the book trailer for CHAMPION, the last book in the LEGEND trilogy!

The trailer kicks some SERIOUS ass with martial arts, parkour, and shots of the grisly border war!

UPDATE: Watch below!

FIVE DAYS TO GO!

Synopsis:

June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps Elect while Day has been assigned a high level military position. But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them once again. Just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything he has. With heart-pounding action and suspense, Marie Lu’s bestselling trilogy draws to a stunning conclusion.

Marie Lu Posts CHAMPION Quotes 3 Weeks Before Release Day

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It’s now less than 3 weeks before the release date of Champion, the 3rd and final book of the Legend trilogy.  And Marie has posted more quotes from the book just for you!

“Inside that smile, I think I see glimpses of a different man who once existed.”

– June Iparis

 

“What makes you think they’re so loyal to the Republic?”

“Let me lead them,” I say. “And you’ll get your loyalty.”

– Day Wing

Quotes from Marie Lu’s CHAMPION

Marie Lu‘s third book of the Legend trilogy, Champion, is almost upon us, and Marie has most graciously teased us with three quotes:

“What’s this?”

“A butter knife.”

Day scowls at it, running a finger along the rounded edge.  “This,” he mutters, “is not a knife.”

“It’s been almost a year.  What’s wrong with me?  Why can’t I just move on?”

– Day

“After months of political bargaining, after days of war and death, I am starting to suspect everything and everyone.”

– June

Behind the Scenes of the CHAMPION Book Trailer

Marie Lu has posted a :12 behind-the-scenes clip from the making of the Champion book trailer!

From Marie:

The upcoming CHAMPION book trailer that MainStay Productions is filming stars Assassin’s Creed 4 parkour guy Chris Romwell as Day’s stunt double. Yes. I know. ♥ I’m so excited! In the meantime, here’s an awesome little behind-the-scenes clip of the making of the trailer. Rappelling off the side of a building:

LEGEND Fan Art: Day and June

We know there are some ridiculously talented artists out there in the fandom, but we were really struck by this collaboration  between Ari and Brynne depicting Day and June in a lovestruck moment!

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