The Midnight Star by Marie Lu Book Review

Review by: dancingonrain.

 

Adelina Amouteru’s quest for world domination and revenge against the people and the world who hurt her comes to an end in this final book in Lu’s The Young Elites trilogy.  The story begins with Adelina and her group, “The Rose Society,” continuing her conquest of the world and “The Daggers,” but soon it comes to light that there is a bigger threat that will effect the entire world.  After Raffaele sends word to Adelina in regards to her dying sister Violetta Amouteru, Adelina and her Rose Society find themselves teaming up with The Daggers again along with her prisoner, Teren.  Adelina and her Rose Society must work together with them even with the friction from the previous book that pitted the two groups against one another.  It’s the only way the world is to survive this new catastrophe.

Overall I enjoyed this book and I thought it was a good way to end the trilogy.  More of a bitter-sweet ending rather than a happy one, which I thought fit the character well too.  Although I would’ve liked it if there had been a happier ending, I still thought the ending Lu chose fit.

I honestly think I prefer Marie Lu’s Legend Trilogy more, but I still enjoyed this series as a whole too.  Sometimes I wasn’t always 100% sure of some of the characters’ motivations.  I was able to overlook it, but I thought her Legend series did much better with the motivation.  Still, I love dark worlds and magical abilities so that kept me intrigued.

When I was about half-way through the book, I thought I may have known how everything was going to end and in the end I was half-right.  It was one of those things where it was obvious and I should have seen it coming, but for whatever reason, I didn’t.

I enjoyed the little Midnight Star excerpt after the “epilogue” the most.  This is not to say it was the only thing I enjoyed about the series, but the Midnight Star epilogue-epilogue was my favorite part.

If you like young adult dark fantasy stories, then I’d recommend this series.  You could probably sit down at a bookstore or a library to read it before deciding if you want to purchase it, however, if you like dystopian novels, you should just buy her Legend series right off the bat.

Anyway, enough of my bias.  Happy reading.  😀

 

Champion by Marie Lu Book Review

Review by: dancingonrain.

 

June and Day’s story concludes with their paths separated in Marie Lu’s third and last book of the trilogy.  June is working for the Republic again while Day is working a high-level military position. While a peace treaty is in the midst of being formed, a new strain of a plague breaks out and threatens war between the Republic and the Colonies. But there is hope.  A potential for a cure.  If the world is to stop itself from crumbling, Day must hand his little brother Eden back over to the Republic for experimentation.  Elector Anden gives June her hardest task yet: using Day’s feelings for her and manipulating him to comply for the good of the people and to prevent a war that may have already started.

This third book was a satisfying way to end the trilogy.  While I did feel like the epilogue (the ten years later bit) wasn’t necessary, I also understand that most of the younger people would want a happy ending.  The reason I didn’t think the epilogue was needed was because although it would have been more of a bittersweet or even just bitter ending without it, it would’ve made June’s action in the last chapter (before the epilogue) seem more selfless.  But at the same time, the epilogue still does work because by now Day and June have a mutual friend, Tess.  So it was probably inevitable that Day and June would eventually be reunited anyway.  I will admit that I liked the whole “start anew” idea by the books end too and Day and June definitely deserve the second chance.  Either way, the last book of the trilogy did not disappoint.

This was one of the series where the story/plot and characters just got better and better through all three books.

I don’t think either of the main protagonist’s characters changed all that much during the entire series, but their motivations and allegiances did.  While that sometimes can lead for a boring story or novel, it didn’t bother me at all, mostly because I thought the characters, plot, and motivations were all well-constructed.

Like in the previous two books, the emotion that each of the characters expressed was excellent.  I feel that most of the time, the main protagonist feels bland and monotonous, even lacking emotion, especially in the young adult genre.  I think this only added to and helped the book be even better.  So many times the male character is written as emotionless, invulnerable, and perfect, which, of course is a boring and unrelatable character from the start.  Unless his character is one that is supposed to present himself as one devoid of all feelings (a socio/psychopath), then the emotion part actually strengthens stories more than taking away from them.

Likewise, often times we see the main female protagonist as a Mary Sue character, which Marie Lu avoids completely in this series.

For those of you who don’t know, a Mary Sue character is just there for the author’s or reader’s wish-fulfillment and has absolutely no logic behind any of their actions other than they never fail at anything ever.  These characters are beautiful, strong, and smart.  She often holds her own with the boys or even beat them most times, but they never can lose to them, which is unrealistic.  No one wins all the time.  These characters are flawless, which makes them a boring and unrelatable character, especially the flawless part.  Last time I checked, no one, regardless of gender, is perfect.  Everyone has flaws.  Everyone has weaknesses.  And everyone makes mistakes.  Gender or race is not an excuse for a Mary Sue character.

Marie Lu does great in avoiding this type of character.  She makes both characters flawed and shows how their past mistakes have affected them and the others around them in the present and as a reader, I loved the characters more for it.

Take June, for example, her mistake is she basically killed Day’s mother in the first book, and yet, these two still found a way to work it out.  Day’s weakness is his family and June.  While we still don’t see him expressing all his feelings of loss and sorrow to other characters openly, there are plenty of scenes when he’s alone, mourning their deaths/murders.  Only a sociopath wouldn’t feel anything after all the stress these two have been put through.

And let’s not forget that June and Day are teenagers, kids, and they are written as such.  I’ve read some young adult novels where their main characters seem like adults rather than children.

Another part of the trilogy I enjoyed was that what June and Day didn’t confide in each other or other characters, they confided in us, the reader, which made me feel all the more part of the story.

Marie Lu’s Legend Trilogy is currently my favorite young adult series for the dystopian genre.  While she has a new series she’s working on now, The Young Elites series, I still prefer her first series: Legend, Prodigy, and then Champion.  I would recommend the Legend Trilogy to anyone and everyone who likes YA dystopian novels and for anyone who enjoyed the Hunger Games, but even if you didn’t enjoy the Hunger Games, I would still suggest you dab into Marie Lu’s world.

 

Prodigy (Legend Trilogy) by Marie Lu Book Review

Review by: dancingonrain.

 

 

June and Day’s journey continues in Marie Lu’s second book in the Legend Trilogy.  They have been on the run ever since the conclusion of the first book.  Day is presumed dead by the public and June is now the Republic’s most wanted traitor.  Desperate, these two seek help from the Patriots, a rebel group determined to crush the Republic.  In return for their help, Day and June agree to assist in the Patriot’s assassination of the new Elector Primo, but when new information is brought to light, Day and June must make a decision that will affect the future events to come.

I really enjoyed how this book continued to delve into the characters’ emotions and make them seem like actual people and not just some emotionless first person point of view book.  June and Day have both dealt with trauma over recent events (Day more than June) and they both have to deal with it in their own way.

June and Day did argue a little more during this book than the previous book, which I thought made the characters all the more realistic.  How many book couples now-a-days have arguments and I mean actual, full-blown-out arguments, especially in the young adult genre?  Not a lot.  I’ve read a lot of “oh they’re just so perfect for one another that they never ever even fight.”  While I suppose there could be people like that out there, I doubt that it’s many people and it makes the characters and story not as relatable.  When June and Day fight, you know what each one of them is thinking and what their motivation is behind it.  A few scenes prior to one of their fights, we see Tess, Day’s childhood friend, planting some ideas in his head that June is going to betray them and choose to go back to the Republic.  Later, when he reunites with June, she’s siding with the Elector Primo and doesn’t want to go through with the assassination attempt anymore.  She has her logical reasons, but Day refuses to listen because everything that Tess had told Day, but he had refused to listen to her comes back to him and the argument ensues.

One problem I had (and I had this problem in the first book too) was that June and Day are the two main point of view protagonists and both of their viewpoints are in first person.  Even though June’s point of view is in black and Day’s view is in a different color, occasionally I still got the two point of views mixed up.  I was able to quickly figure it out if I just read a little further, but that was one of the downfalls for me.

Overall, I thought this book was well done and probably one of the best young adult trilogies I have read in a while and would recommend it to anyone who is interested.

 

Legend by Marie Lu Book Review

Review by: dancingonrain.

 

 

Day is a fifteen year old boy and the Republic’s most notorious criminal living in the slums.  He keeps a watchful eye on his family from a distance.  June is a fifteen year old girl and is the prodigy of the Republic’s wealthiest districts.  She has been trained for success by the Republic’s highest military circles.  It is possible that these two would have never met under different circumstances, but one day June’s brother Metias is murdered and everything points to Day as the culprit.  June seeks revenge and will stop at nothing until the murderer is found and dealt with severely.  Day wants nothing more than his family to be safe.  Over a series of events these two discover that what they want may not be as cut and dry as they had originally thought.  Read along and watch their game of cat and mouse unfold.  And when a crucial truth is discovered, can these two figure out how to work together despite the pain they’ve caused one another to defeat a threat bigger than themselves?

It has been a while since I’ve read such a well-constructed young adult novel.  I feel a lot of books out there, specifically pertaining to the young adult genre, have lots of action and despair, but they leave out the emotional part and the reflection of events the characters would feel or go through, especially for the male characters even if it’s inside their heads.  You can only bend a twig for so long before it eventually snaps.

A strength of Legend is the character’s reactions are believable.  When Day is hit with a traumatizing series of events, the author doesn’t have him hide it, which, in these cases would’ve been inhuman.  Lu has him react as anyone else put in that situation would have.  She shows how devastated he is whereas some other novels or stories would have glossed over his losses.  I found myself not really paying attention to what the characters’ actual genders are and just see them as human beings.  As people.

I also feel like some novels out there forget how old their characters actually are.  Day is only a fifteen year old child; he’s not going to be able to handle all of his emotional and physical trauma (and there’s quite a lot) alone and yet some authors out there write a teenager as if s/he is a full grown adult.  Even full grown adults would struggle to deal with the type of trauma he went through and is still going through.

I never once question Day or June’s motivations.  Some of the minor characters were less understandable, but they were also presented in a way where you knew something was off, but you couldn’t quite place your finger on it.  As the story ended, it left openings for other characters motivations to be explored more in the next two books: Prodigy and Champion.

One thing I wasn’t sure of was how easily Day trusted June again after something she’d done to his family.  I feel like something of that nature would have made him keep his distance from her as much as he could, but I also know this is explored a little more in the next two books.

I would recommend this book and series to anyone.  I think most people will enjoy this series if you like action, adventure, conspiracies, and betrayal.  This book was fairly fast-paced and you could probably finish it in a day (or less, if you have time).  The other two books are already out so you don’t have to wait months to find out how the story ends.

Happy reading and remember each new day is the start of another twenty-four hours, a new start where anything can happen.