Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Kingdom of Back (Marie Lu)

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Rating: 3 Pfoten,5

”Music is the sound of God, Nannerl, he would say. If given the talent, it means God has chosen you as an ambassador for His voice. Your music will be as if God has given you eternal life.
My father, God … there was little difference between them to me. A frown from Papa might as well have been a frown from Heaven, for what it did to my mood.”

This story was unlike anything I ever read by Marie Lu and even though her tale about Mozart’s sister Nannerl had a couple of weaknesses I still enjoyed this beautiful book. As someone who comes from Mozart’s country and basically grew up with his legend ever since I started to think, Marie Lu certainly didn’t have it easy with me. I mean it’s always difficult to write about a topic if there’s an audience that knew about it before they were even out of their diapers. Mozart’s tale is such an integral part of our history and culture that little kids like my own already know about him and collect stickers for their sticker album. So yes, Marie Lu definitely didn’t have it easy with a critical audience like me, she did manage to capture my interest though.

His smile widened at that. He looked like he had heard every thought unspoken in my mind. “It’s immortality you seek, then,” he said. “You burn with the ambition to leave your voice in the world. You fear your father will forget about you if you cannot do this. All your life, you have ached to be seen.”

I think the fact that she only lent the characters and wove a unique story around them worked in her favour here. It’s historical fiction after all and with that in mind it was easier to overlook some of the historical facts being bent or not entirely accurate. I don’t know if Marie Lu ever visited Austria and actually went to see Mozart’s birth house in the Getreidegasse but she managed to write about it convincingly and to me it almost felt like I was there myself. (I actually was there myself so knew exactly what she wrote about) The only thing that was extremely jarring was the use of “Woferl” instead of “Wolferl”. If you look up Mozart on Wikipedia “Woferl” is mentioned as one of his nicknames but let me tell you this (and this says an Austrian who grew up with Mozart) no one over here would ever call him like that. If you talk about Mozart in Austria people will always say “Wolferl”. It comes from Wolfgang and “Wolferl” is the nickname everyone here would use. I guess Marie Lu might have used “Woferl” because it’s probably easier to pronounce for people that don’t speak German but for me, personally, it got kind of annoying. My brain always automatically corrected it to “Wolferl” and even when I reached the ending of the book I just couldn’t get over the use of this nickname. I’m not saying it’s wrong, because Wikipedia clearly states it as one of his many nicknames, none of us Austrians would ever call him like that in a conversation though. Just to get this out there into the world because correct representation is so important. I don’t know if Marie Lu’s editor or publisher ever asked a fellow Austrian to proof read this but I’m sure if any of them did they would have pointed this out to them. Well, at least I would have. 😉

”He made Woferl play so late into the night that my brother could not concentrate anymore, then slapped Woferl’s hands when he saw my brother’s eyes drooping at the clavier.”

Anyway! This out of the way we can go back to focusing on the story instead. I really loved how Marie Lu turned this into a magical tale and added so much depth to it. I mean for one we have a mysterious land named “The Kingdom of Back” in which a faerie princeling desperately tries to reclaim his throne. Hyacinth was such an interesting character because he represented so many different things. On the one hand there is his function as Nannerl’s patron and confidant and on the other hand he is a person Nannerl doesn’t really trust and is weary of. I just loved how Hyacinth had the role of conveying Nannerl’s deepest feelings and thoughts. Without Nannerl’s jealousy and resentment the faerie princeling wouldn’t have been more than a passing thought, but the more the young girl gives into her feelings the stronger he becomes. It shows in the way the Kingdom is growing and thriving and I really have to give kudos to Marie Lu for this amazing allegory. The more Nannerl resents her brother, the stronger Hyacinth becomes and once she realizes what he’s really up to its almost too late.

”He tells you to play, so you play. He tells you to curtsy, so you curtsy. He tells you what you are meant to do and what you are meant not to do, so you do and you do not do. He tells you not to be angry, so you smile, you turn your eyes down, you are quiet and do exactly as he says in the hopes that this is what he wants, and then one night you realize that you have given him so much of yourself that you are nothing but the curtsy and the smile and the quiet. That you are nothing.”

The thing is, nothing of it was ever Wolferl’s fault and I’m sure if their father wouldn’t have been so strict she would have never even been tempted to make that Faustian bargain with Hyacinth. What Nannerl truly wants is to be recognized for her talent and to be appreciated, but because she was a girl her father didn’t even find it necessary to give her the means to develop and evolve. While her brother gets the best tutoring and tools to improve and work on his music Nannerl has to fight for every little scrap. It was so unfair to see their different treatment but unfortunately it was a pretty realistic representation of the difference between women and men at that time. While men had all the opportunities and the world was open to them, women were only seen as future wives and mothers. Their only value in how well you were able to marry them off. Nannerl is fighting against that tooth and nail and almost breaking under the pressure.

”You and I are one, Nannerl. I am your friend. Firends help each other, and dislike seeing each other in distress. I can help you become what you want to be, help you heal, or I can let you die tonight, mourned only by your father and mother and brother. But I can only be your guardian if you let me help you. Now, what is it you want?”

Torn between what she wants for herself and what is best for her brother she is forced to make a decision and it’s definitely the hardest one she ever had to make. I just love how Marie Lu turned “The Kingdom of Back” into an extension of Nannerl’s inner turmoil, how Hyacinth represented her envy, anger and jealousy and how she’s ultimately forced to confront herself. Because in the end all that matters is if you’re able to live with the decisions you make and if you got there by yourself or if other’s forced your hand. The kingdom itself is such a beautiful place, all the potential Nannerl holds showing in every character and the unique music they emit. This was something I really loved about the book. Every single person Nannerl encounters in the kingdom has their own melody and voice and the descriptions were so lovely.

”Her touch, colder than the wind of a winter night, froze me in place. I wanted to cry out. Instead I focused myself staring at her, overwhelmed by the sound of music that came from deep in her throat. The melody flowed through her body and into my hand, wrapping itself around my skin, refusing to let go. I closed my eyes, unable to tear myself away from her.”

I swear sometimes to read this felt like the combination of a fever dream and a fairy tale. The scenes in the kingdom were an integral part of the story, yet at the same time they were few and far between. The biggest part of the narration was still playing in the real world and showed the struggle of the Mozart family while they tried to make a living of their talents. Still, the moments between Nannerl and her father always had an urgency to them and even though the story was a rather slow one you could always feel the tension in the air. Honestly, the injustice of Nannerl’s situation really got to me and it was kind of sad that the further the story progressed the harder it became for her to catch a break. Whenever she went to the Kingdom it felt like a fever dream and I didn’t know if I wanted to continue to dream on or would have rather preferred to wake up instead.

”And what if something were to happen to me? I can do everything that he can!” I had started to shout my words now. I no longer cared. “I can take care of our family! There are those in the audience who love me too, and who I can please. We are the same, Papa! Why do you not take me with you?” Papa slapped me. I gasped, suddenly dizzy, and touched my cheek with my hand.

4
The story might have been slow in general but it was relentless in its urgency and eventually turned into a crescendo. I don’t know if I liked the ending but I know that despite the magical nature of the story its end actually turned out to be realistic and comprehensible. Nannerl and Wolferl got older and grew up and this was reflected in the outcome of the story. Was it a good ending? I honestly don’t know, but I suppose it was at least one I could live with. So there’s that.
All told I really enjoyed “The Kingdom of Back” and ended up liking Marie Lu’s take on Mozart’s tale. If you love music, magic and fairy tales this might actually turn out to be a good pick for you. 😉

A - E, Allgemein, C, Reviews

Review: Champion (Marie Lu)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

Book 16 on My Book List 2021

“Sometimes, the sun sets earlier. Days don’t last forever, you know. But I’ll fight as hard as I can. I can promise you that.”

I just wrote down that quote and I’m already bawling my eyes out… again! T_T Marie Lu certainly killed me with that ending. It’s like a shot in the heart and I’m still not over it and this even though I finished “Champion” about a month ago. Jeez! A month and my feelings are still all over the place. Yes, it was THAT good! T_T I don’t think I’ll get over it anytime soon. Well, maybe if I borrow “Rebel” from the library and replace the ending of this book with new information from the fourth instalment.

Seriously, I hope this will work because I can’t live with the ending of “Champion”. Does this sound a little bit too dramatic? Well, for me it is! Anyway, let’s get back to the overall review. When I began to read this book I thought that it would be mostly about June and Day because Commander Jameson and Thomas were finally out of the picture. Unfortunately the Colonies decided they wanted a piece of the cake that is the Republic and used the plague as a cause to invade it. Which basically meant that our infamous OTP is forced to fight against them while Day’s health is slowly deteriorating. And this just broke my heart! T_T

Of course there were a lot of plot twists I didn’t see coming even though I probably should have known better because Marie Lu is very adept at throwing them with the biggest impact. This said, the pacing of the book was slower this time around and there wasn’t as much action as in the first two books. I think this was realistic though because 1.) This book was more character driven than its predecessors and 2.) Day’s condition just didn’t give enough room to go for unrealistic action scenes. Still, despite all that “Champion” was a great finale and I can’t wait to dive into my characters section, which I’m going to do right now because I have feelings that need to pour out!

2

You are entering Antarctica the country of modern technology and progress. Be careful, though, not everything is as shiny as it seems and there might be backstabbing spoilers ahead of you. 😉

June:

June sees the hesitation on my face and knows it’s a confirmation of her fear. She bites her lip. “It’s my fault,” she says, as if it’s just simple logic. “And I’m not sure I will ever be able to earn your forgiveness. I shouldn’t.”

June broke my freaking heart. She stabbed me with her knife and left me bleeding all over the floor and the thing is, I can’t even be angry at her?! It might have killed me but she grew so much as a character and I can’t really hold it against her. She knows that her actions were unforgivable and that they hurt Day, yet she can’t change anything about it. Add Anden and his advances to the picture as well and you have a really confused girl that doesn’t know what to do. XD I kinda liked to see that side of her though because it was in total contrast to the girl she was in the first book. She learned to deal with her emotions while still being a badass soldier and the combination of both is just sexy. *lol* Still, the sacrifice she made in the end killed me and I basically yelled at the pages! >_<

”Now fate has handed the solution to me on a silver platter – Day survived his ordeal, and in return, I need to step out of his life. Even though he looks at me now like a stranger, he no longer has the look of pain and tragedy that always seemed to come with the passion and love he gazed at me with. Now he is free.
He is free of us, leaving me as the only bearer of our past’s burden.”

Day:

”I feel so out of place among these aristocrats, with their bank accounts and posh manners. No matter how much money the Republic throws at me, I will forever be the boy from the streets.”

*screams in heartbreak* Day crying alone in the abandoned kitchen of his family’s old house was legit one of the saddest moments in this series. T_T Gosh! Where to start?! Day suffered so much in this series already and to see how he got weaker and weaker with every passing day just killed me. I think after finishing “Prodigy” I was kind of in denial and thought that his brain tumour might just be a cruel way to keep him in line. But no… Marie Lu actually went through with it and I died about a thousand deaths. To see how his health deteriorated was so painful and yet still he worried about Eden and June and the people of the Republic. If anyone ever needed proof that Day is an angel: Well, this is it! I mean despite everything he still fought for what he believed in and gave it everything. I just can’t with this precious boy! <333

”What makes me lose my breath, though, is that he’s leaning heavily on a pair of crutches. How long has he been here? He looks exhausted, pale, and distant. I wonder what new drugs the doctors are trying on him. The thought is a sudden, stabbing reminder of Day’s waning life, the few seconds he has left, slowly ticking by.”

”My heart’s been torn wide open, just like I feared it would be, and i have no willpower to close it back up. Any barrier I might’ve succeeded in putting up around myself, any resistance I might’ve built up against my feelings for her, is now completely gone. Shattered.”

”Help me,” I whisper desperately to the empty room. “I can’t do this.” I want to, I love her, but I can’t bear it. It’s been almost a year. What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I just move on?”

”The Republic is weak and broken.” I narrow my eyes. “But it is still your country. Fight for it. This is your home, not theirs.”

”You and I will probably never get a chance to meet. But I know you. You have taught me about all the good things in my life, and why I’ve fought for my family all these years. I hope for great things for your own loved ones, that they can go through life without suffering the way mine have.”

Anden:

”I don’t want to hear anyone else right now. I want to hear you. You are the heart of the people, Day – you always have been. You’ve given everything you have in order to protect them.” Day stiffens beside me, but Anden goes on. “I fear for the people. I worry about their safety, that we’ll be handing them over to the enemy just as we’re starting to put the pieces together.”

You know, Anden is actually a very decent guy. I really liked him and I appreciated that he trusted Day so much. He’s exactly the kind of elector the Republic needed and I’m sure he will do a great job at guiding his country into the future. If anyone can do it, it’s him! He cares for his people and he only wants the best for them. This makes him already very different to his father and I loved that about him. Plus he’s a good loser! He knew exactly that June’s heart was with Day but he never resented her for it. Quite the contrary, he accepted his defeat with dignity and there aren’t many people who would have been able to do so. I guess I’m an Anden fan now. =)

”I envy Day, you know,” he says, his voice as soft as ever. “I’m jealous that he gets to make decisions with his heart. Every choice he makes is honest, and the people love him for it. He can afford to use his heart.”

”You are a soldier, Ms. Iparis, through and through – but it has been an honor to see you as a Princeps-Elect.” The Elector of the Republic bows to me. “Whatever happens from here, I hope you remember that.”

3

June & Day:

Half of my heart is breaking at the pain on her face; the other half, I realize guiltily, is swelling with happiness to know that she still cares. There’s love in her tragic words, in the folds of that thin metal ring. Isn’t there?
Finally, I take a deep breath. “Sometimes, the sun sets earlier. Days don’t last forever, you know. But I’ll fight as hard as I can. I can promise you that.”

Talk about star-crossed lovers! I swear Marie Lu is a master at giving us star-crossed love stories. She seems to love to kill us and I have yet to come across a Marie Lu series that doesn’t stab me with the feels. I mean THOSE TWO… I CAN’T!!! T_T My freaking heart got stabbed repeatedly just to shrivel into a little black pea at the ending of the book. Because unlike the majority of this planet named earth I JUST CAN’T with bittersweet endings like that! Like ARADKAFJASDFKASJFAKSDFJSDADKF! 10 YEARS??!!! Are you freaking kidding me?!! I’m having a déjà vu now because I just remembered the ending of Pirates of the Carribean 3. And my reaction back then was basically the same. >_< Didn’t we suffer enough already, Marie!? Why did you have to do this?!! ARGH!!!! *has a mental breakdown* Okay, I’m fine. *says it like Neil Josten* Also is it just me or did June really never tell him that she loves him?!! ARGHIIIIIIIIIIIII! If she doesn’t say it in “Rebel” I’m probably gonna die! Yep, I’m THAT invested! I mean I understand why June didn’t and let him go in the end but still… I’m fine. Totally. T_T

”Has it really been so long since the last time we kissed? Have I really missed him this much? Have all the problems threatening to crush us both weakened us to the point where we are gasping for breath, clinging desperately to each other for survival? I’ve forgotten how right it feels to be in his arms.”

”Why do I do this to myself? I see you and feel such – “ He has tears in his eyes now. The sight is more than I can bear. He takes two steps away from me and then turns back like a caged animal. “Do you even love me?” he suddenly asks. He grips both of my shoulders. “I’ve said it to you before, and I still mean it. But I’ve never heard it from you. I can’t tell. And then you give me this ring” – he pauses to hold his hand up – “and I don’t know what to think anymore.”

Day just smiles at me, an expression so sad that it breaks through my numbness, and I begin to cry. Those bright blue eyes. Before me is the boy who has bandaged my wounds on the streets of Lake, who has guarded his family with every bone in his body, who has stayed by my side in spite of everything, the boy of light and laughter and life, of grief and fury and passion, the boy whose fate is intertwined with mine, forever and always.
“I love you,” he whispers. “Can you stay awhile?”

”I can feel his presence here in every stone he has touched, every person he has lifted up, every street and alley and city that he has changed in the few years of his life, because he is the Republic, he is our light, and I love you, I love you, until the day we meet again I will hold you in my heart and protect you there, grieving what we never had, cherishing what we did. I wish you were here.”

”It’s you,” he whispers. There is wonder in his voice.
“Is it?” I whisper back, my voice trembling with all the emotions I’ve kept hidden for so long.
Day is so close, and his eyes are so bright. “I hope,” he replies softly, “to get to know you again. If you are open to it. There is a fog around you that I would like to clear away.”

Tess & Day:

”What were my last words to her … back when we had botched the Patriot’s assassination attempt on Anden? Please, Tess – I can’t leave you here. But that’s exactly what I did.
I turn away, taking another drag on my cigarette. Do I miss her? “Every day,” I reply.

I’m so glad they resolved their differences and finally had this dire needed talk! They had to sort their feelings first and needed to talk things out properly. Also it made me happy to know that Tess was there for Day and accompanied him on his difficult way. To be honest it was kind of sad to hear that they didn’t have as much contact ten years after, but then I guess that’s life and it was very realistic that they kind of grew apart over time. I mean they obviously still kept contact but it was different than their super close relationship as teens. Still, I’ll always be happy they reconciled. =)

I swallow hard and look down. “but I don’t love you the way you want me to. I’m sorry if I ever gave you the wrong impression. I don’t think I’ve ever treated you as well as you deserve.” My heart twists painfully as the words leave my mouth, striking her as they do. “So don’t be sorry. It’s my fault, not yours.”

”When the entire world turned its back on me and left me to die, you took me in. You were the one person who cared about what might happen to me. You were everything. Everything. You became my entire family – you were my parents and my siblings and my caretaker, my only friend and companion, you were both my protector and someone who needed protecting. You see? I didn’t love you in the way you might’ve thought I did, although I can’t deny that was part of it. But the way I feel goes beyond that.”

June & Thomas:

”Your brother froze, like I thought he would. There was complete stillness. We drew apart, the silence heavy around us, and for a moment I wondered whether I’d made a huge mistake, whether I’d simply misread every signal from the past few years. Or perhaps, perhaps he knew what I was up to. I felt a strange sense of relief at that thought. Maybe id’d be better if Metias figured out Commander Jamesons’s plans for him. Maybe there’s a way to get out of this.”

I didn’t think it would be possible for me to despise Thomas even more but boy, “Champion” really made me hate him! How could he do this to Metias?! A person he obviously loved?! Or he wouldn’t have kissed him. Thomas was such a FOOL! He’s the living and breathing epitome of ignorance! How could he be so thick in the head?! Like seriously?! How can he live and breathe every single day knowing he killed the only person who ever loved him?! My only explanation is that Thomas was an unfeeling robot. His death was random and stupid and truth be told exactly the kind of death his character deserved. No tears for Thomas just one sentence: Good riddance! XD

”I could’ve chosen Day’s route. I could have become a criminal. But I didn’t. I did everything right, you know. That was what Metias loved about me. He respected me. I followed all the rules, I obeyed all the laws, I worked my way up from where I started.” He leans toward me; his eyes grow more desperate. “I took an oath, June. I am still bound by that oath. I will die with honor for sacrificing everything I have – everything – for my country. And yet, Day is the legend, while I am to be executed.” His voice finally breaks with all his anguish and inner torment, the injustice he feels. “It makes no sense.”

Day & Eden:

”Man, look at us,” I reply. My laughter turns into coughs. “What a team, yeah?”
Eden finds me by placing a tentative hand on my head. He sits beside me with his legs crossed and gives me a wry grin. “Hey – with your metal leg and half a brain, and my four leftover senses, we almost make a whole person.”

Day’s unconditional love for Eden will always tug at my heartstrings. This boy loves his family so damn much and since Eden is the only one who is left of it his baby brother means the world to him. <333 I just loved those two and their close relationship and gosh, when Day carried Eden even though he was shot by Commander Jameson I was covering my mouth and praying that June would take out that cold hearted bitch before she could shoot him a second time. This boy really gave everything for his family and people. T_T I just hope Day and Eden will always have such a close bond. As it seems they are still close 10 years after all the happenings in “Champion” so there’s that, right?

A lump rises in my throat. “Eden,” I begin, “we’ve lost Mom and John. Dad is gone. You’re all I have left. I can’t afford to lose you too. Everything I’ve done so far, I’ve done for you. I’m not letting you risk your life to save the Republic – or the Colonies.”
The defiance fades from Eden’s eyes. He props his arms up on the railing and leans his head against his hands. “If there’s one thing I know about you,” he says, “it’s that you’re not selfish.”

”A small, bittersweet smile tugs at the corners of my mouth. Day, the champion of the people, the one who can’t bear to see those around him suffer on his behalf, who would gladly give his life for those he loves. Except it’s not his life that we need in order to save Tess, but his brother’s.”

”You did good,” I reply. “I’m proud of you.” And I am. I’m prouder of him than I’ve ever been of myself – I’m proud of him for standing up to me.”

4

And here I hoped Marie Lu would give me an ending that wouldn’t break me. I should have known better. She’s famous for her bittersweet endings and this one was as bittersweet as they get. I definitely need to get my hands on “Rebel” and I hope it will be able to ease my mind because right now it’s still reeling. 4 weeks after finishing “Champion” I can say that the book finished me instead. My heart is still bleeding. >_<

Allgemein, P, P - T, Reviews

Review: Prodigy (Marie Lu)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten


“All it takes is one generation to brainwash a population and convince them that reality doesn’t exist.”

First of all I have to say: This was amazing!!!
I mean boy! I really thought I knew in which kind of direction this was heading but then Marie Lu apparently decided to throw me for a loop and after finishing “Prodigy” I don’t even know how to feel about … well, anything and everything! Seriously, I’m totally blown away by this ending because I DIDN’T SEE THAT ONE COMING!!!! O_o

But then again there were a lot of things in this book I didn’t see coming and there were some chapters that had me put down the book in order to process what just happened. I mean I kind of felt like a hound: Certain I’d catch my prey but then thrown off the trail because aforementioned prey was clever and decided to walk into the river to cover its tracks. *lol*

So yes, there were a lot of things I never saw coming and there were some things I saw from miles away. XD It was the mixture of both that kept me engaged throughout the entire book and I really can’t wait to read the third and last book. Because I don’t know if I mentioned it already but I’M NOT OKAY WITH THAT FREAKING ENDING!!!! AHHHHHHHHHH!!! I need Marie Lu to rewrite that ending in the next book or to idk work miracles?! *lol* Just, do something Marie!!! Please!! Don’t let that ending stand! And no, you’re not witnessing a mental breakdown, just a person who’s having words with its sanity. ;-P

Anyway… I have thoughts! PLENTY of them so let’s get them all out of my system!

2

Welcome to the Colonies where we treat strangers with kindness until we stab them with spoilers in their backs! ;-P So if you want to enjoy our marvellous land you better prepare yourself for the painful pleasure of being spoiled. XD

June Iparis:

”They act like I’m some sort of untamed weapon – and in a way, I guess that’s true. The irony of it all makes me want to laugh. Day is a Republic soldier on board the RS Dynasty, and I am the Republic’s most valuable captive. We’ve switched places.”

I think the most interesting thing about “Prodigy” was that June is totally out of her depth. XD  There’s only so much you can learn at a military academy and even though they taught her everything about weapons and war strategy they certainly missed out on teaching her about love and human interactions. *lol* This said, I had a lot of fun watching her squirm while she tried to navigate those dangerous waters she suddenly found herself in. ;-P Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a June fan: I mean she’s one of those cool tough people that know exactly with which kind of weapon they are threatened and she’s definitely one of those really rare kick-ass heroines! It was nice to see more of her human side though and I really enjoyed those moments. I think she grew a lot during this book and the hard decisions she had to make only shaped her even more as a person. So yeah, I’m really curious about the June in “Champion”.  =)

”The soldiers point their guns at me (Model XM-2500, 700m range, smart rounds, can shoot through two layers of cement), then haul me to my feet. During the train ride, I’d watched these two soldiers with such intensity that their nerves must be completely shot by now.”

”Love is illogical, love has consequences – I did this to myself, and I should be able to take it. So take it, June.”

”How could I possibly think that we’d never suffer the consequences of what I’d done to him? How could I be so arrogant to assume it would all work out for us in the end, that my doing a couple of good deeds could make up for all the pain I caused him?”

Daniel “Day” Altan Wing:

”He holds me with his gaze. It’s hard to describe Day to those who have never seen him before – exotic, unique, overwhelming.“

And this is the moment when I go all NOOOOOOOOOO!!! NO, NO, NO, NOOO!!! Like just NOOOO!!! How could you do this to my precious baby Marie??!!! I won’t accept that ending, I won’t, I won’t, I won’t!!! ADKFASDFJASKDFAJS! *takes a deep breath* Okay, I’m fine now. *lol* So now that I got that out of my system I can finally concentrate on the important things like for instance why Marie Lu thought it a good idea to give MY Day a terminal disease!!! *holds in another scream* I’m so not okay with that ending and I really hope Marie will undo that in the next book, because I really can’t with this. I just can’t. Day already suffered enough! He lost his mother, his brother, his father, he can’t lose Tess, June and his life now too. >_< This broke my heart so much because he just deserves better. He’s the light and hope of so many people, yet he never gets some of that light and hope for himself. The irony is just too much. Also his self-doubts and fear of not being enough for June just about killed me. He’s the most precious, pure and beautiful soul and no one can compete with him! All I want is to see my precious snowflake happy. *sniff* T_T

”I suddenly feel so stupid for telling her that I love her, as if I’d be able to make her love me in return like some common girl from the streets. She didn’t say it back, anyway.
Why do I even care? It shouldn’t hurt this much. Should it? Don’t I have more important stuff to worry about?”

”I want to run. To do what I always do, have always done, for the last five years of my life. Escape, flee into the shadows. But this time, I stand my ground. I’m tired of running.”

”I’ve been starved, beaten, and humiliated. I’ve been tortured, insulted, and suppressed. I’ve lived in the slums with you. I’ve risked my life for you. And you’ve risked your lives for me. We have risked our lives for our country – not the country we live in now, but the country we hope to have. You are all, every single one of you, a hero.“

”I can’t describe the emotions on his face – something lost, something ripped from his gaze and strewn across the floor. A deep, quiet sadness that tears me apart. What’s going through Day’s mind?”

Anden – The Elector:

”You and Day are the most celebrated people in the Republic. If I can form an alliance with you both, I can win the people. Then instead of quelling rebellions and trying to keep things from falling apart, I can concentrate on implementing the changes this country needs.”

Mhmm I still don’t know how to feel about Anden. He’s obviously either a really good guy or a remarkable actor. *lol* I have no doubt that his moves were all calculated, the question is if they were truly based on his beliefs or if he only did what he had to because he knew he couldn’t hold the country all by himself. For me his character is still a question mark and I hope to find out more about his real motivations in “Champion”. Considering that June will work so closely with him I’m pretty sure we’ll get to see a lot of Anden in the next book though. Let’s just hope it will be something good. XD

”Well, do you think your father’s policies worked?” I ask quietly.
Anden lowers his head. He searches for the right words. “How can I answer that? His policies did work. The Trials did make our armies stronger. Does that make what he did right, though? I think about it all the time.“

3

June & Day:

”We’re in this together, right?” he whispers. “You and me? You want to be here, yeah?”
There’s guilt in his questions. “Yes,” I reply. “I chose this.”
Day pulls me close enough for our noses to touch. “I love you.”

I can’t believe June never said it to him too!!! WHY JUNE!!?? I guess I should be happy for her being responsible and not acting on a whim but urgh, if a boy like Day confesses his love to you and you feel the same way then you should tell him! >_<  No wonder he thought she fancied Anden, especially after the thoughtless remark she made about Day’s ring. How is that poor boy to know how she feels if she doesn’t open her mouth and tells him? I could understand Day’s fears and frustrations… And I really didn’t like the kind of direction this book took, because Anden as a possible love interest for June made everything so much worse. Poor Day! My first thought when they parted ways was: No, don’t separate! It won’t be good for your love and I guess I was right. T_T Well, and there was still that huge “Sword of Damocles” – aka June being responsible for Day’s mum and brother dying – hanging over their heads. I’m glad they talked it out though and that it was addressed as an issue! It would have been unrealistic if it would have never become a problem between them so I have to give Marie kudos for that. There were so many things that killed me but one of the most memorable moments was June being so tender to sleeping and injured Day at the beginning of the book. I remember writing an update and thinking that it’s so sad he doesn’t know she’s so tender with him and then near the ending when June was ill he did the same for her because he actually noticed. I’m still not over it and my heart aches!!!! <333 Plus THAT ENDING!!! T_T *goes into a corner and cries*

Engagements? My heart flutters in my chest. I can’t help smiling. “With paper clip rings?”
Oh no. I’d meant it as an honest question of curiosity, but don’t realize I sound sarcastic until the words are already out of my mouth.
Day blushes a little; I’m immediately angry at myself for slipping up again. “With something handmade,” he corrects me after a beat.

”I’d almost forgotten how his touch makes me feel. I want to fall into the purity that is Day, soaking in his simple honesty, his heart that sits open and beating on his sleeve.”

”That’s not fair, Day. I didn’t choose to be born into this. I never wanted to hurt your family –“
“Well, you did.” I feel myself tremble and fall apart under his glare. “You led the soldiers right to my family’s door. You’re the reason they’re dead.“

”Don’t go, I plead wordlessly. But I can taste the good-bye on his lips and now I can no longer hold back my tears. He’s trembling. His face is wet. I hang on to him like he’ll disappear if I let go, like I’ll be left alone in this dark room, standing in the empty air. Day, the boy form the streets with nothing except of the clothes on his back and the earnestness in his eyes, owns my heart.”

June & Anden:

”My initial distaste wavers – this new thought intrigues me. Anden must be very aware of his poor public reputation. Perhaps he’s hoping for the people’s support. If that’s the case, then he’s taking pains to do something that our last Elector cared little about.”

I don’t ship it. Not at all. Just look how June described kissing Day vs. Anden. I’d take Day over Anden any day! (pun totally not intended *lol*) Their relationship has something so sterile about it and I don’t want June to be with Anden. He’s too polished, too posh, too artificial and too composed. There’s no passion! So a definite nope from me! If they end up together it’s only because they both will gain political influence through their relationship and that’s the wrong reason to be with someone. >_< Enough said!

”With Day, there’s a fire and a hunger between us, even anger, some deep desperation and need. With Anden, though, the kiss is all delicacy and refined grace, aristocratic manners, power, and elegance. Pleasure and shame wash through me.”

Tess & Day:

”Trust me, Day. I’m saying this for your sake. June will break your heart. I can see it already. She’ll shatter you into a million pieces.”

And here’s another relationship development I hated. Not that I didn’t see that one coming, I actually did, I still wasn’t happy with it though. I suppose it’s just natural Tess fell in love with Day or developed some crush on him. He saved her life and helped her to survive so he’s automatically a hero in her eyes. Also let’s not forget that she’s 13 and he’s 15. The age difference isn’t as prominent as some people might think it to be. Still, Tess is like Day’s little sister and he can’t see her as anything else. I really hated Tess’s jealousy and I was so sad when they argued and parted ways. I just hope Tess will come around and realise her mistakes. >_< Day needs his little sister now! Badly!! T_T

”June can do anything she wants to the Republic, and they’ll take her back too.” Tess raises her voice. “Whenever June needs something, she gets results, but my needs aren’t worth a bucket of pig’s blood. Maybe if I were the Republic’s darling, you’d care about me too.”

Metias & Thomas:

”I’m a soldier of the Republic. When I joined the military I took an oath to obey my superiors’ orders at all costs. Metias took the same oath, and he broke it.”

Remember when I wondered about Thomas’s true motives in my review of “Legend”? Oh well, I can say that I’m shocked now. O_O He actually killed Metias because he was being a good soldier. I can’t believe he murdered him. Especially after the revelation that Metias was in love with him. I have no idea if Thomas reciprocated his feelings but OMG!!! I never saw that one coming and believe me when I say that Metias deserved so much better than THAT! To be killed by the person you love. IT. BREAKS. MY. HEART! T_T I think that makes Thomas the worst friend ever and I hope his vacation to hell is already booked! Poor precious Metias. *sniff*

”I did care for him, you know,” he says through my silence. He pretends bravado, some false professionalism. Still, I hear a tinge of sadness. “But I am also a soldier of the Republic. I did what I had to do.”

”I remember how patient and gentle Metias was when explaining things to Thomas. The way his hand would touch Thomas’s shoulder. The night when I’d eaten edame at that cafe with Thomas and Metias, when Metias first stopped shadowing Chian. The way Metias’s hand would sometimes rest on Thomas’s arm for a beat longer than it had to.”

4

“Prodigy” went in an entirely different direction than I expected, but it was still awesome! I guess I probably should have expected Marie Lu to pull such a stunt because she always manages to surprise me and loves to shake things up. XD Still, I’m not okay with that ending and I sincerely hope that it will be altered in the next book. Marie, please! Work your magic and throw me for another loop!

Allgemein, K - O, L, Reviews

Review: Legend (Marie Lu)

13042002

Rating: 4 Pfoten

“Each day means a new twenty-four hours. Each day means everything’s possible again. You live in the moment, you die in the moment, you take it all one day at a time.” He looks toward the railway car’s open door, where streaks of dark water blanket the world. “You try to walk in the light.”

Quotes like that are the reason why I love Marie Lu’s books. Well, okay, quotes like that and the fact that she’s a really great writer and always creates characters I can’t help but adore! The thing with dear Marie is that her morally grey characters grow on you. You might not agree with the things they do but there’s always a reason why they do them and you can’t help but sympathize? So I guess what it comes down to in the end are lots of wrong choices done for the seemingly right reasons. At least at the moment they make them. *lol* Does that make any sense?

If not, let’s just pretend I never tried to explain it and get back on track. ;-P I always knew this series is one of Marie Lu’s most known and a lot of readers seem to love it, up until now I never got a chance to read it though. To be entirely honest I only just discovered that my library has it and so I decided to jump right on the hype train and see where it was heading. Apparently I was the only passenger on it though. I swear I must be the last person to read this, but that’s okay. I know I’m slow. XD

This said after reading so many other YA series I actually didn’t expect to enjoy this so much. I mean yes, the dystopian YA vibe is strong in this one but boy was it done nice! I fell in love with Day right from the beginning and I appreciated June’s efficient and clever mind. Plus, for some reason the plot and how it was executed had me at the edge of my seat?! I’m not gonna lie, I’m really surprised I was so invested in this because it was kind of familiar and not all too many things happened, but I still wanted to know what would happen next?! Marie Lu certainly knows how to glue her readers to the pages.

So yes, this was surprisingly good and I can’t wait to read book two which will hopefully be a little longer than the first one! Still, there are a lot of things I need to get off of my chest so let’s head to my characters section and get it over with! =)

2


You are now entering the Lake sector so if you don’t want to be spoiled and haven’t read the book yet you better don’t head into this territory. It might mess things up for you and we wouldn’t want for that to happen, would we? 😉

June Iparis:

”Fourteen floors,” I call back. That gets them buzzing again. Somehow, this has become the closest relationship I have with the other Drake students. I am respected, discussed, gossiped about. Not really talked to.

I really liked June but boy did I want to scream at her when she allowed them to catch Day! XD The funny thing about her is that she’s actually a pretty strong character and knows exactly what she’s doing yet her somewhat sheltered upbringing caused her to misjudge a lot of situations she was in. Guess even an elite academy can’t prepare you for everything and this was exactly what happened in here. I understand that she wanted to catch Day and bring him to justice but the way she went about it… Well, let’s just say I didn’t agree with her and her methods. If she would have only stopped for a second she would have realized that Day is not her brother’s murderer and that someone tried to put the blame on him. Then again, I can’t even imagine how it must feel to be assigned the task of finding your brother’s supposed murderer. >_< Damn Commander Jameson that vile woman! *lol* I’m just glad June eventually realized her mistake and helped Day to escape. XD

”I will hunt you down. I will scour the streets of Los Angeles for you. Search every street in the Republic if I have to. I will trick you and deceive you, lie, cheat and steal to find you, tempt you out of your hiding place, and chase you until you have nowhere else to run. I make you this promise: your life is mine.”

”When I tracked Day’s family down and watched Thomas shoot his mother, when I looked on today as the crowd in the square was gunned down… I stood by both times and did nothing. Does that make me the same as Thomas? Are we doing the right thing by following our orders? Surely the Republic knows best?”

Daniel “Day” Altan Wing:

”In other words, the Republic has no idea what I look like. They don’t seem to know much of anything about me, except that I’m young and that when they run my fingerprints they don’t find a match in their databases. That’s why they hate me, why I’m not the most dangerous criminal in the country, but the most wanted. I make them look bad.”

I don’t even know why but I absolutely love him!!! Day is such a great character and I was with him every step of the way! I hated that he had to suffer so much and that his entire life was screwed up by Commander Jameson. I mean, seriously, that boy just tried to survive! Why did they want to get rid of him even though he had such a high score?! I really hope we’ll solve that mystery in one of the following books! Also it was so obvious that he cared about his family and to take that away from him, to kill them… It wasn’t right. Day never hurt anyone and he didn’t deserve this. He’s a precious snowflake and I hope June will take good care of him in the following books. Because if not I’ll find her and give her a piece of my mind! *lol* (I don’t even care that she’s fictional!!) I guess what appeals to me the most, is that he’s a survival artist and knows exactly how to use his abilities to his advantage. There’s no hesitation, he knows his limits and he knows when to push them. Which makes him a genuinely intriguing character I definitely want to read more about. =)

”Did you set fire to a series of ten F-472 fighter jets parked at the Burbank air force base right before they were to head out to the warfront?”
“I’m kinda proud of that one.”

”One thing I do know. Even if June’s plans fail, even if I’m going to be isolated and friendless when I head out to the firing squad… I’m going to fight. They’re going to have to fill me with bullets to get me to stay still. I take a shuddering breath. Brave thoughts, but am I ready to follow through on them?”

Metias:

Metias stared off into the distance. “Few people ever kill for the right reasons, June,” he said after a long silence. “Most do it for the wrong reasons. I just hope you never have to be in either category.”

I think it’s sad he was taken out of the picture so fast! Metias seemed like a nice character and I would have loved to get to know him better but then again his death was some sort of catalyst to kick off the storyline and therefore was necessary and inevitable. The little we got to see of him before he died was great though. His love for June was obvious and I really hope there will be more revelations about his past and the work of their parents. Knowing Marie Lu we’ll probably hear a lot about his background throughout the rest of the series and I’m really looking forward to it. =)

Commander Jameson:

Commander Jameson lets out a laugh. “Ill-tempered until the end, aren’t you?” She releases my head and tilts my chin up with a finger. “What fun you are, my beautiful boy.”

I HATE THIS WOMAN! The only thing I can agree on is that Day is a beautiful boy. As for the rest: She’s a cold and calculating witch and I might have not seen a lot of her but the little I saw was already enough. How dare she to hurt my baby!? Let’s hope we won’t see a lot of her in “Prodigy”… unfortunately I get the slight feeling that we will. *lol* Anyway, on a more serious note: I can’t help but admit that I dig the idea of a female antagonist, especially one that holds a high rank in military hierarchy. It’s kind of refreshing and makes for a nice change. 😉

Thomas:

”Thomas glances at me before stepping off the platform – his face is grave, even guilty, but I know with a sinking feeling that he feels guilty only for throwing me to the ground. Not for this massacre he’s leaving behind.”

Is he just a good soldier who follows his orders or is there more to him? I still didn’t grasp his true motives and this makes him an interesting enigma for me. If he is the murderer of Metias, why did he do it? Considering their close relationship I don’t buy that he just killed him because he got the order to do it. I mean he’d have to be really dumb to kill his best friend, but then again, maybe I give him too much credit?! Does he have ulterior motives? What’s his angle? I need to find out more about him in the next book! XD

3

June & Day:

”He glances at me now, notices me studying him, and pauses for a second. Some secret emotion darts across his eyes. A beautiful mystery. He must have similar questions about me, how I’m able to pick out so many details of his life. Perhaps he’s wondering what I’ll figure out about him next.”

Was this insta-love?! Hell, yeah and it’s as good as it gets. *lol* Or well as good as insta-love can get. I mean they barely know each other, but fall head over heels and June is ready to die for Day and to leave her perfect life behind. But then again it’s not all about Day. June realizes that the system she lives in is wrong and that people get killed for being in the way, for saying their opinion or fighting for what they think is right. I guess in some way to spend time with Day helped her to realize this and so it appears to be insta-love, which it definitely is, but there’s also way more behind it than that. This said I kinda liked the enemies-to-lovers trope in here and it was a pleasure to see those two different people fall in love. Their circumstances were like Day and Night (see what I did there ;-P) but they both had a brilliant mind and used their skills in the best way they could. There’s something to be said about two intelligent people that are comfortable in their own skin and know exactly what they want and how to get it. Plus they both know how to fight and I really hope June will take good care of my baby now that he’s weakened from torture and prison. >_< I’m sure their love will get enough time to bloom properly. ❤

”I feel a surprising pang of guilt. He trusts me – truly, stupidly, wholeheartedly trusts me. In fact, I don’t know if anyone has ever taken my word so readily before. Maybe not even Metias.”

Day leans toward me. He reaches up to touch my face. I can tell it still hurts him to use his fingers, and his nails are dark with dried blood. “You’re brilliant,” he says. “But you’re a fool to stay with someone like me.”
I close my eyes at the touch of his hand. “Then we’re both fools.”

Day, Tess & his family:

John grabs me again. “You’re completely cracked. Listen to me, and listen to me good. All right? You never fight back. Ever. You do what the officers tell you, and you don’t argue with them.” Some of the anger fades from his eyes. “I would rather die than see them hurt you. Understand?”

In retrospective this paragraph kills me. Well, truth be told, Day’s entire situation is killing me. I hate that his father died, hate it even more that his mother was killed and now John too?! How many members of a family can you kill before it is enough?! There’s only Day and Eden left now and I really hope they can save him, because I don’t know what will happen with Day if they can’t. I suppose for June it’s the same situation only that she’s already lost everything… Guess that makes her super dangerous for the government now. If you have nothing to lose no one can use anything or anyone as leverage against you. Still, John’s death killed me and I never saw that plot twist coming. >_< Also I hope Tess and Day can reunite. I loved their sibling relationship and Day just needs to see his little adopted sister again, okay?! *sniff*

4

I wasn’t prepared to love this so much but I get the hype now and I’m totally on board of this “legendary” train! I’m pretty sure this is only going to get even more interesting now that the stage is set and I can’t wait to find out what June and Day are going to do next! Also I hope their bond and relationship will get even stronger and drown out the insta-lovey start. *lol* This said, I can’t wait to borrow “Prodigy” from my library! Next one, please! XD