(NOTE: This review is of the third book in a trilogy, and therefore contains a number of spoilers, revealing significant events, details, and characters. I advise you to read the reviews of the first two books first. You have been warned 🙂)
The second book revealed much about the Republic, the Colonies, the Patriots, and the painful yet passionate relationship between Dan and June. We saw Dan siding with the Republic and supporting the new Elector in the fight against the Colonies and the Patriots, learned of his grave illness and that his time was likely short. Consequently, he decided to distance himself from June, persuading her to accept Elector Anden’s offer to become Princeps-Elect and convincing her that their relationship had no future because of everything that had transpired.
Several months have since passed. Dan, the people’s hero, now lives as a free citizen in San Francisco with his brother Eden, trying to adjust to a quieter life, spending his days amidst cigarettes, wandering the city, and increasingly severe headaches as his illness progresses.
Then a call changes everything. Dan receives an invitation to an “extremely important banquet,” where all the influential people of the Republic will be present, including Elector Anden. Of course, this wouldn’t be the first banquet invitation Day might have ignored, had there not been something unusual about it.
This invitation came from June herself. It was the first time she had called him after so many months.
Dan decides to attend the banquet, as much for June as for the nagging feeling that something else was at play (and not just his hormonal frenzy and lust).
From this banquet unfolds a three-hundred-page emotional and action-packed roller coaster, which includes:
An official declaration of war on the Republic by the Colonies?
The Republic must find a way to garner support from foreign powers to avoid losing the war, but at what cost?
Could Eden be the key to the plague?
June learns of Dan’s impending death?
Dan’s lust and love?
June’s lust and love?
Tess reveals her true feelings to Day?
Scenes of war and sabotage?
A plethora of scenes?
…and much more that’s terrifying and thrilling (“Bro, you sound like you’re hyping the next episode of a TV series, chill out a bit” – note from the subconscious).
Jokes aside, Marie Lu has nicely rounded out the trilogy with this book. Like the previous two books, it is filled with action and emotion. We see how our heroes have matured and changed in the period they were apart. Those naive, childish personas from the beginning of the first book are gone. Wars, revolutions, betrayals, and the deaths of their loved ones have changed them and hardened their souls. Yet, in other (emotional) aspects, they are forced to drop their masks and show their true faces. With this book, Marie Lu has truly depicted the complexity of love between two young people who, despite knowing they love each other, also have dark details from their past that will always hang over their happiness.
The action hasn’t lost its rhythm either. Although Dan and June spent many months in (relative) peace and inactivity, they have shown in moments of crisis that some things have not changed. June has remained, at heart, a soldier of the Republic, a trusted, calculating fighter who assesses the battlefield in an instant. And Dan, despite his illness, has proven that he is still the people’s hero of the Republic, a Legend, an expert in tricks, cunning, and sabotage behind enemy lines.
And what happened to our heroes after all these adventures, well…
One detail that will, I believe, please readers, is that we finally get to see life on other continents. The Confederative Nations of Africa, Antarctica, the European Union… until now, these were just concepts we didn’t know much about in this trilogy, other than they weren’t as impoverished as the Republic portrayed them to its citizens (quite the contrary), and that they do not look favorably upon North America. Now we will have the opportunity to briefly visit Antarctica, which at first glance seems like a perfectly organized society (but whether it just appears that way from the outside, I’ll leave you to decide).
In conclusion, Marie Lu’s debut trilogy turned out to be very well and masterfully written. This might mark the end of the story of Dan and June (or maybe not, one never knows), but the revelation that there is a world beyond the Republic and the Colonies definitely opens up space for future adventures of new heroes on new continents.
As for me, with the “Legend” trilogy and “BATMAN: Nightwalker,” Marie Lu has certainly won my affections. 🙂
And of course, a final question: How do you perceive the world described in this trilogy and could this be (perhaps) a certain future?
(Originally reviewed: 06/01/2019)