Legend, Prodigy and Champion are all that a Young Adult books lover can ever wish for.

“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 is just a teenager, but he is one of the most wanted criminals in the Republic. He is a boy from the streets who takes from the oppressors and gives hope to the common people. He is on the run, but looks out for his family. He is impulsive, swift and a survivor . Meet Day Wing. Wanted for a murder. Our hero. A Legend.

He can be charming and smug. Vulnerable and broken. He can be an angel. He can be a rebel. He can inspire an entire Republic to rebel. He can make it hard to not take a liking to his character instantly.

“What a joke! Poor little rich girl’s fallen in love with the Republic’s most famous criminal.”

She is just a teenager, with the most promising genes in the republic. She has always been a class apart. All  alone (apart from a dog who is luckily not forgotten as the stories progress); out to hunt her brother’s murderer. She is beautiful, sharp and adept at close to everything ( expressing emotions needs a bit of mentoring) . Meet June Iparis. Raised to lead wars and nations. Our heroine. A Prodigy.

She can be confident and deadly. Straightforward and sincere . She can be a resolute soldier. She can be a lover. She can break all rules for her lover.

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

Together, this perfect pair are Champions of a dystopian world perpetually at war with its neighbours. A tyrannical government with an agenda to brainwash the minds of the gullible and suppress the remotest possibility of discord. The Republic June and Day know is eerily similar to that of George Orwell’s 1984, where truth is disregarded in favour of the whims of the government. There is plague that spreads amongst the poor. A plague that originates from the privileged.

Marie Lu does a reasonably good job of crafting out the details of this far off world where even teenage criminals and teenage rulers are believable. Is it as immersive as the world of Hogwarts or the Districts? Probably not. What does make the books such a gripping read is the pace, the premise and the way the characters evolve.

When the protagonists have such attractive qualities and such credible frailties it is hard not to turn shippers and root for a happy ending.  The love story with its intense feeling of two people fitting in and filling the missing pieces in each others lives is a compelling heartwarming read.

“You know, sometimes I wonder what things would be like if I just … met you one day. Like normal people do. If I just walked by you on some street one sunny morning and thought you were cute, stopped, shook your hand, and said, “Hi, I’m Daniel.”

Mari Lu goes a step further from the regular lieu of YA. She captures the voice of both the hero and heroine with equal ardor. She carves out a love story where characters have space to evolve. June and Day bring in their uncertainties, faulty choices,  necessary differences and  inexplicable partnership. Whether they are fighting against each other or fighting for each other or not being in the same chapter, it doesn’t matter.  They have a sense of knowing each other, an intelligence to anticipate each other and the faith to follow each other.

I read through almost 1 book a day. It was un-put-downable, with unexpected twists and staggering moments. And if nothing else, then there was always that magnetic pull to reach a page where June and Day were in the same space.

The final book in the series is probably the weakest, with a bit more unbelievable incidences than I would have liked. But, I could be biased against the concluding book, just because the end cannot be discussed if I am to be spoiler free.

If you like Hunger Games, Divergent or any book with the world in a bad state, a hero and heroine that are awesome and a love story that makes you want to read and write fanfics then don’t miss this!

Thank you to golfer_girl for such an enjoyable recommendation. I have a new favourite YA pair to ship for.