WILDCARD | Marie Lu
Series: Warcross (Book 2)
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 18, 2018
“Emika Chen barely made it out of the Warcross Championships alive. Now that she knows the truth behind Hideo’s new NeuroLink algorithm, she can no longer trust the one person she’s always looked up to, who she once thought was on her side.
Determined to put a stop to Hideo’s grim plans, Emika and the Phoenix Riders band together, only to find a new threat lurking on the neon-lit streets of Tokyo. Someone’s put a bounty on Emika’s head, and her sole chance for survival lies with Zero and the Blackcoats, his ruthless crew. But Emika soon learns that Zero isn’t all that he seems–and his protection comes at a price.
Caught in a web of betrayal, with the future of free will at risk, just how far will Emika go to take down the man she loves?“
Warcross was an enjoyable read, for the most part, but I was disappointed with the lack of excitement generated from the events outside the game of Warcross. I loved Emika and the wonderfully designed world that she lived in; however, the plot took a while to get going, the secondary characters weren’t given much room to develop, and Hideo’s character was somewhat dull.
Wildcard is more to my taste as it delves into the futuristic, secretive, underworld of Warcross and the NeuroLink. Still, I found the story slow in some places, especially when Warcross is not mentioned. In fact, there was only one segment of Warcross to note and it happened toward the very end of the book.
Considering the characters, Emika continues to be my favorite. She’s smart, beautiful, resourceful, curious, and resilient. Unfortunately, I still wasn’t sold on anyone else. The Phoenix Riders seem like they could be very interesting people, if only their backstories weren’t so subpar in relation to everything else. There aren’t many opportunities to get to know them as much as I would like; and it feels like Lu is constantly urging her readers to believe Emika’s closeness with her teammates. But all things considered, I think that there just is not enough evidence on the actual page to support these supposed friendships.
As for Hideo, he had even LESS to do in the sequel. It seemed he wasn’t even physically present for the majority of the book. There was barely any dialogue between him and Emika and his role in the story really only came into during the second half of the book. But even then, his presence is overshadowed by both Emika AND Zero.
The strongest part of the story is certainly the revelation of Sasuke and the truth behind what was done to him. Without a doubt, this was the most evocative aspect of the book. I very nearly cried after reading through all of it and the conclusion to both Zero and Sasuke’s story is by far the best part about Wildcard.
The imagery is still amazing. Marie Lu’s futuristic world is very well-built. It’s bright, and colorful, and a bit reminiscent of Ready Player One’s OASIS.
That being said, the sequel seems to fall a bit short in keeping me 100% interested. Some exciting things happened, that were soon dampened by a dull segue into the next exciting event. And the secondary characters in this well-defined world still needed some more room to fully develop.
My Rating: 3.5 / 5 stars