My Lunch with Marie Lu + Champion Giveaway

December 10, 2013 dystopian/post-apocalyptic, event, giveaway, Kate, marie lu 85

Marie Lu This past weekend I got to do something really cool.  Like, really, really, really cool.  I was invited by Penguin Teen, along with the lovely Gillian of Writer of Wrongs, to have lunch with Marie Lu before her signing at Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore.  The Legend Trilogy is one of my favorite YA series from the past few years, so I was really excited, but also kind of nervous and intimidated.

We braved the freezing weather (55 degrees) and perilous driving conditions (some rain) to meet up in Redondo Beach and chat over catfish and shrimp.  I was, as I said, nervous, so I arrived over half an hour early (if I hadn’t spilled coffee on myself I’d have been even earlier) and sat in my car texting my sisters.  Gillian was there early, too, so we were standing together talking about how freakishly cold our hands were when Marie strolled up, looking like a badass schoolgirl/assassin/supermodel/soldier.

We started by dishing about musicals, which we all adore.  Marie just saw Phantom of the Opera in London, and she got the idea for Legend after seeing Les Miserables—June and Day are teenage versions of Javert and Jean Valjean, and the character of June (Les Mis is about the June Rebellion in France) was originally male!  She also told us that she started the series without knowing how it was going to end—she figured out how Champion would end when she was nearly finished writing Prodigy.  It’s a true testament to the effectiveness of her crazy process that Champion is such a fantastic third book.  I’m bummed to report, however, that she says she has no plans to return to the world of Legend any time soon.

In happier news, she gave us a little information about her upcoming series, which is tentatively titled The Young Elites.  It’s a YA trilogy—think X-Men meets Assassin’s Creed 2—about  magic societies in Renaissance Italy.  She said that after her first draft she changed everything and centered the story around a completely different protagonist from what she’d originally conceived.  The new main character is a really dark, Darth Vader-ish teenage girl with an eye patch.  AWESOME.

Marie travels a lot, and one of my favorite things about her writing is that it has a depth and texture that I think must come from her personal experience with a lot of different cultures.  She told us a story about a trip she took to Tibet with her mother on which she got really bad altitude sickness and—I’m not kidding—threw up on the floor of a Buddhist Temple.

After our lunch, I headed over to Marie’s signing at Mysterious Galaxy (it’s a pretty awesome book store; check it out if you’re ever in Redondo–you may remember it from the Barry Lyga signing we attended).  It was packed, you guys, and I was excited to see a pretty high percentage of teenage boys and young men in the audience.

Kate Marie Lu Gillian

I had an absolutely perfect day.  Thanks to Marie Lu for being so lovely and sweet about sharing her time with us, and to Gillian for being the perfect partner—both during lunch and in our post-meal coffee date.  It’s always fun to meet a fellow blogger.


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Champion Marie LuWin a Signed Copy of Champion!

I got a copy of Champion signed for one lucky winner!

All you have to do is leave a comment below telling us your favorite thing about the Legend series and fill out the Rafflecopter form. Don’t forget you can earn additional entries by tweeting about the contest daily, or sharing on Facebook, Pinterest, etc.

Open to US and Canadian residents aged 18 and up, or 13 and up with parental permission. See entry form for complete details. Good luck!





a Rafflecopter giveaway



85 Responses to “My Lunch with Marie Lu + Champion Giveaway”

  1. Sofia Li

    I am so jelly of u. I went to the signing too, I probably saw you there and didn’t know it. I was the girl that interrupted Marie Lu when talking about how the ending of Prodigy (page 267) mirrored the end of Champion. My post about meeting her is right here. I transcribed my 20+ minute video and then wrote all about meeting her w/ pictures and everything :
    Sofia Li recently posted…2014 Chunkster Challenge Sign-Up

  2. lyane mora

    Thank you so much for the chance to win!! I love DAY (lol- I named my puppy that)!! But besides that I love that Marie Lu created a world like no other and how dynamic she made her characters!!

  3. Lauren Fuchs

    I have just ordered Legend and Prodigy after hearing so many good things about the series and would love to have Champion too! I heard that it is being compared to Divergent which was amazing so I am thrilled to read this series too!!

  4. Ivy

    There is nothing to say except that Ms. Marie Lu absolutely ruined me in Prodigy. WHY? WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO MY POOR HEART? I was rendered speechless after I read the last chapter and my mouth was left in a permanent O shape and I was zoned out for the rest of the day. I remember totally regretting my rush to read Prodigy and how I would have to wait an ENTIRE YEAR to finally give my restless soul an answer. I still haven’t read Champion though. Needless to say, Marie Lu’s Legend trilogy is so incredibly suspenseful, action-packed, smart, witty, heart-wrenching and beautiful. What an amazing feat. I’m still breathless, even a year after reading the conclusion of the second installment. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Legend trilogy. I think it is easily one of the best YA series ever. And, I envy you so much. Meeting Marie Lu sounds amazing.

  5. Marlene

    The Legend boxed set just arrived for me from Amazon! I’m sooo excited to jump into this series after reading lots of gushing reviews + reading all about your lunch with Marie Lu, Kate. She seems like a down-to-earth kinda gal. :) Lu’s next planned series sounds truly phenomenal! I’ll be keeping an eye out for updates on that, for sure!

    Marlene @ The Flyleaf Review

  6. Cecilia

    I’m excited to finally read the last book because I have been waiting for it for a long time and I really want to know how it all turns down for June and Day!

  7. Miss Page-Turner

    What a lucky reader you are! Penguin Teen has the best ideas, don’t they? There should be many more blog posts of this sort. Love all the things you got to talk about with Marie and the details that you could get into. The Les Mis background info is just so brilliant! Haven’t read Prodigy yet, but now I have to get to it very soon, huh? How couldn’t I after your fab post:)
    Miss Page-Turner recently posted…Book Review: Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally

  8. Amber

    OK… I’m just going to put it out in the universe.. I have not read this series yet. But I want to, SO BAD. Especially after meeting Maire Lu at YALLFEST and hearing her talking about the series. I am so excited to start these three books, and it would be super awesome if I could own a signed copy of Champion!
    Amber recently posted…Blog Tour: Mr. 365 by Ruth Clampett

  9. Jasprit

    Ahh this is such a wonderful post Kate! I started reading Legend the other day, but got completely side tracked by other books, but your enthusiasm for Marie’s work definitely makes me want to get back to it asap. Also how amazing does Marie’s new series sound? I have always loved the X-Men and a girl with an eye patch? How awesome is that! Thanks for sharing such a great recap with us! :)
    Jasprit recently posted…Bookish Survey: Cast a Harry Potter Spell: Part one.

    • Kate Bond

      I’m not gonna lie; I had a little bit of trouble with Legend. It felt a little uneven… mostly, I think, because June and Day are really young, but they interact with the world as though they are at least 18. Prodigy is freaking incredible, though, so stick with it.
      Kate Bond recently posted…Fortune’s Pawn: review

  10. Lauren @ Love is not a triangle

    I love getting tiny personal details about books from authors! I actually haven’t read Prodigy or Champion yet – they are sitting on my shelf and I will start them soon! But I’m getting excited because everyone is raving about them. The Les Mis inspiration is completely fascinating, and the fact that Lu didn’t plot her series but still came up with an end that everyone I know has called amazing, is pretty incredible.
    Lauren @ Love is not a triangle recently posted…Waiting On Wednesday: Scholastic

  11. Melliane

    Oh yes, I’m sure it was wonderful, I would have loved to go to. It was really nice of you to share your day with us!

  12. Lucy

    What a cool experience! I’ve talked to Marie Lu a few times at Comic Con and she is so sweet. Honestly, I have a copy of Champion, and I’m excited to read it because I love the series- but, I’ve been holding off on it. Isn’t that weird? I think I have end of series phobia.

    Can’t wait to hear more about The Young Elites! Thanks for sharing this unique author chat with us :)
    Lucy recently posted…Author Interview with Amy Spalding

    • Patricia

      I do this too! I think for me it started with Mockingjay…just so disappointed in that ending!

  13. Mary @ BookSwarm

    That’s so completely awesome! We have NO cool Indie stories in our area so I always have to travel if I want to see authors. I can’t believe that Marie Lu didn’t already have even a glimmer of how her series was going to end but, yet, managed to create such a tightly-written trilogy. I’m even more impressed now.
    Mary @ BookSwarm recently posted…Waiting On…A BREATH OF FROST by Alyxandra Harvey

    • Kate Bond

      It is INSANE to me that she wrote the first book with no idea where she was going to take it. Absolutely insane.

      And we’re really lucky around here. There’s a bookstore near my house where Ray Bradbury would do a signing/birthday party every year with cake and everything. It was so cool.
      Kate Bond recently posted…Fortune’s Pawn: review

  14. Patricia

    Argh! Champion is on my Shelf of Shame glaring at me accusingly right now. Darn the holidays for making me too busy to finish! I love so much about Legend and Prodigy…but I think what always always sells me is the relationship between the main characters, and I love the rapport between June and Day. (And Wendy did NOT oversell the bathtub scene!)

    • Wendy Darling

      And Wendy did NOT oversell the bathtub scene!

      \o/ YES! I think I single-handedly must’ve sold several dozen copies of PRODIGY based on that one comment, hah.

  15. Holly Letson

    I haven’t read this series, but I have book #2~Prodigy~sitting on my shelf. It’d be great to have #3 as well, then I could check out #1 from the library, and read all 3 consecutively.

  16. Meg

    AHHH! You met Marie Lu! She is amazing and I am so jealous! (Also highly amused at you Californians and your winter as I cuddle next to my space heater and look at the snow drifts out my window.) I loved the Legend series and am so pumped for The Young Elites! I’m glad you guys had an amazing lunch/interview, Marie sounds just as fabulous as I’d hoped she would be.
    Meg recently posted…Review: Gorgeous by Paul Rudnick

    • Kate Bond

      She’s pretty great. Very self-deprecating, but in a quiet way that you can almost miss if you’re not paying attention.

      I can’t wait to read Gillian’s write-up of it tomorrow–she had a very specific experience, and I’m interested in seeing how much of it she shares.
      Kate Bond recently posted…The Promise of Amazing: review

    • Wendy Darling

      I told Kate we were going to get comments about the weather, hah. IT IS COLD HERE, MEG. 35 degrees in the morning, which is outlandish for us Angelenos.

      All the snowy photographs from the east coast are so pretty, though!

  17. Kim

    How lucky are you, Kate! Beyond awesome!

    While I enjoyed the Legend trilogy, it wasn’t really a favorite. I am super intrigued by her new series, though! AC2 is one of my all time favorite games (I have so many feels about it. So many) so when I hear that comparison it’s basically insta-interest. I also enjoy dark and complex main characters (esp. when they’re female). Yeaaaahhh, I guess I’m sold. I want to read it :)

    Thanks for the great report!

    P.S. Forever lolling at Angelenos for thinking downright balmy weather is freezing :P (I used to work for an LA headquartered company. There was a lot of lolling. Forgive me!)

    • Kate Bond

      KIM!!! Hi, Kim!!!

      I though Legend was good, but not amazing. Prodigy really pulled me into the world, though, and I absolutely loved it.

      And dude, I lived in Chicago for a year, and I’d rather have people laugh at me for being a baby about weather than live (and drive/commute) in all that garbage snow and wind. No bueno!
      Kate Bond recently posted…The Promise of Amazing: review

      • Kim

        HI KATE!!! :D

        I’m not actually laughing at you now I feel bad! In reality it is a “shake of the head and snort of mild amusement”. Chicago is hardcore, man. I do *not* blame you. Chicago people are the ones laughing at me.

        • Kate Bond

          Oh, I totally get it. I was not offended in the least. The trade-off of having people roll their eyes at my inability to handle cold weather is well worth the not having to deal with cold weather part.

          I’m going to be in New York for a couple of weeks in January, and I am already dreading it.

          Chicago is on a hellmouth, though. It’s something different altogether.
          Kate Bond recently posted…The Promise of Amazing: review

        • Wendy Darling

          We’re used to being laughed at. I totally concede on the weather thing, I grew up on the east coast and made fun of my sister endlessly when she’d come back there and complain about it being cold. But your blood thins out really quickly here, and of course our buildings and such aren’t really made to withstand it for too long, either. Wah wah, our diamond shoes are too tight, I know.

          I don’t know where other misconceptions about LA come from, though. In my last job, our NY office was always cracking jokes about people slacking off, and it drove me crazy, since I was on my Blackberry from the minute I woke up until the minute I went to bed. But it’s true that when I worked out of their office for a few days, it was kind of weird sitting around in the morning waiting for LA to wake up.

          • Kim

            Ugh, that’s obnoxious. The “slacking off” thing probably comes from the “laidback socal surfer dude” stereotype, I suppose. That is very annoying. There was nothing laid back or slacking about my old company. They were actually on a way more focused and demanding level than our office was. There was always tension when it’d be the evening and we’re on our way out the door but there’d be tier 1 tasks going on in CA that they’d want from us. Eventually they just closed our location and I’ve been out of a job since :'(

            But! I got into the whole online book world as a way to reward myself after hard days of job searching. I’m fairly certain that the only reason I’m even halfway sane and as functional as I have been is because of all my reading and book socialization. Books, my lifelong friends, here to save me once again. It makes me teary just to think on it. Do you know what I mean or do I sound off kilter? Also finding you guys has certainly been a very happy highlight of my year. A silver lining on my poor job luck cloud if you will :)

            • Wendy Darling

              Oh no, I’m sorry to hear about the job thing, Kim. I sort of fell into reviewing more regularly because I left my job awhile back, too–it’s nice to be productive in this way, and it keeps me on my toes brain-wise. Like you, I’m SO happy to have found great bookish friends online; most of the people in my orbit don’t feel as passionately about books, and certainly not about YA books. Kate and I met online about a year ago, but we now hang out in real life, too, which is pretty cool.

              I hope you find something on the job front, though. But I’m happy we will be keeping you busy. :D

  18. Katie

    That’s so awesome that you got to meet Marie Lu! The Legend series is one of my all time favorites!

  19. Lena @ Addicted 2 Novels

    JEALOUS! So insanely jealous of your lunch with Marie Lu. I’ve been to her signing for LEGEND and PRODIGY and know what a sweetheart she is!

    I seriously love this trilogy. So much awesome action and each book gets better and better. I haven’t read CHAMPION yet (Christmas = poor), but I’ve heard it’s the perfect ending to the trilogy…and even better than ALLEGIANT (which I personally didn’t care for). My favorite thing about these books, though, as to be Day. Love that guy!

    Thanks for the giveaway, ladies!

    *crosses fingers and hopes*
    Lena @ Addicted 2 Novels recently posted…The Lost Letters of Brother Gabriel (And A Dark Divine Trio Giveaway)

  20. Wendy Darling

    I am pretty excited about her Young Elites series, especially after hearing about the protagonist! Darth Vader-like girl with an eyepatch? SOLD.

    Sounds like you ladies had an amazing time! I’m so glad you were able to go.