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

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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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.  

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Marie Lu Answers Questions About LEGEND and PRODIGY

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Marie Lu, author of the Legend series, spent time with Hypable answering some really cool questions, and we have some of them for you here to read!

So Legend is full of villains.

A lot of villains, yeah!

And everyone’s a villain, even if they’re the hero in a way. So how do you approach writing villains who are heroes, and villains who a villains?

That was something I really wanted to play with with Legend, was to have two antagonists who were also antagonists depending on who’s side you happen to be on. I’ve always been interested in that gray area, where people aren’t really good or bad and that good is very relative, so I sort of approached it by thinking, ‘What if I put myself in the villains shoes?’ So for June, she was very much Day’s antagonist the first half of the book – and beyond, and it was interesting to try to force myself to see it from her point of view, why Day would be her enemy and why, if you happen to be in her head, he would be the bad guy even though as the reader you know he’s not. So it was kind of fun to hop back and forth through the heads of those two.

And then there’s the people who are true in Legend, and there’s a couple of them. And that can be a little bit disturbing to get into because I have to put myself in the heads of people who are essentially psychopaths. But it’s interesting to explore that darker area. I always found those more interesting to write about than really 100% good, sympathetic people.

legendWhat was your initial inspiration for Legend, the first image that popped into your head?

I got the inspiration first when I was watching Les Misérables on TV, and I thought it would be really interesting to do a teen-aged version of the criminal verses detective story line. So that was the first spark for it, and that’s what started off the whole thing.

Oh, that’s cool! Were they singing in the original idea?

They were both boys in the original idea! I was just lifting directly off of Valjean and Javert… It evolved quite a bit, but that was the original idea.

Did June and Day develop in tandem for you, or was one complete before the other? How did that work?

Day was always in my head first, because he was the protagonist of a book I’d written back in high school, which never got published. So I always had him in my head as a character, but I didn’t know what story to put him in, and it wasn’t until I got the Les Mis idea that I knew I needed to find an equal-but-opposite match for him. So that was when June came to be. But now that I’ve been in their heads for a long time, they’ve sort of become equal in my head, and I see myself from June’s point-of-view a lot more.

What was it like to invent a dystopia that still seems eerily close to modern-day American life?

I drew from real-life dystopias that have already happened and are still happening now. I’m very interested in reading about dystopia and relative it can be. So if you’re living in a dystopian world, like in North Korea – or even in the US right now, some people might see it as a dystopia and we don’t even realize it, so that was something that definitely inspired a lot of things in Legend.

prodigy-book-coverYou basically push June and Day to their utter limits in Prodigy, it’s hard to imagine that things could get any worse.

Oh, well… yeah….

Oh! Okay! So what is it like to approach that and be like, “Sorry guys. No, it’s not getting better.”

Yeah, I don’t really mind putting them in horrible situations! It’s sort of enjoyable to just, you know, ruin their lives any way I can. I think really, I push them because I love them, because I want to see them grow. Because I think it’s a challenge to see how they react to really difficult situation. And it’s also just fun to write about!

Is there anything you wish you’d known when you started writing Legend?

No… if I could go back in time, I wouldn’t tell myself anything, because I really like that I experienced the whole thing with new eyes. It’s all part of the process, and I think if you find out stuff ahead of time, it kind of ruins that journey. So actually no, I don’t think I would’ve wanted to know anything in advance. I would’ve just discovered it along the way. I wouldn’t want to jinx anything! To have done something different and you come back to the present world and everything’s destroyed and the rats have taken over. So I’m glad I discovered it along the way.

Read the rest of the interview to find out about her writing process at Hypable.

Exclusive Comic-Con Interview with LEGEND Author Marie Lu

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During my stay at Comic-Con, I opted not to go to Hall H on Sunday, which pretty much gave me more freedom with my schedule, and thus I was able to set up an interview with the wonderfully talented author (and artist) Marie Lu.  Despite not being able to sit down and find a quiet place to talk, and being pretty much forced to stand in the middle of a crowded hallway during the interview, she was super gracious to give me a few minutes of her time to answer some questions about the Legend series and even some questions about her next series after Legend.

But before we did, I also got to fangirl a bit with her, since she got to see uber handsome Henry Cavill in person as he made an appearance at the Hard Rock Hotel on Saturday night, which you can see below.

She had to one-up herself with the following photo with the lovely Tom Hiddleston –

 

So, really, I was honored to spend time with this person who got to be in the same room as Mr. Cavill and Mr. Hiddleston.

Now onto the interview.

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Another 2 Quotes From CHAMPION, the Third Book from Marie Lu’s LEGEND Trilogy

Check out these next two quotes that Marie Lu recently posted on her Tumblr page.

OUR COUNTRIES ARE HELD TOGETHER WITH A WEB OF DIPLOMATIC THREADS, AND THESE THREADS ARE WHAT KEEP US FROM HELPING EACH OTHER.

June (Champion)

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art by Marie Lu

I FEEL SO OUT OF PLACE HERE. NO MATTER HOW MUCH MONEY THE REPUBLIC THROWS AT ME, I WILL FOREVER BE THE BOY FROM THE STREETS.

Day (Champion)

It makes your heart just ache, doesn’t it, especially this latest one from Day. With quotes like these, and quite a ways to go until the release of Champion in November, will you be able to contain yourself?