Author: Marie Lu
Publication Date: September 18, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
All bets are off. This time the gamble is survival.
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?
I just, don’t even really know where to begin with this review. There was so much hype for Wildcard that maybe I expected too much? I am sad to say that I am fairly disappointed in Wildcard, especially having just finished Warcross last week and relatively liking it??
I never really felt anything while reading this book. It suddenly occurred to me that I was 72% of the way through and absolutely nothing had happened. One of my biggest issues with this sequel was the incredibly dry and snail-paced pacing. As I realized I was almost 3/4 of the way through the book it also dawned on me that the plot literally had not moved the entire book. Up until that point it was just utterly long and boring conversations. That was it. Talking. For like 200 pages. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love some good character development and even a book that is character driven. But that would require me to have literally any type of feeling towards the characters.
I gave Warcross 4 stars, so am some point I must have connected and enjoyed reading about Emika, but in Wildcard she is just so.. bland. She could have just been another face in the crowd and I would have never been able to pick her out. I don’t even know why, it just felt like the way Marie Lu wrote the characters in this book it just didn’t fit with what I had become used to in Warcross. These two stories felt so disconnected to me it was actually a little jarring. It felt like I was reading a completely different book. In the first book Emika was wild and adventurous and would not take no for an answer, nothing could ever get in her way when set her mind to something. None of those qualities were present in her in Wildcard and I don’t understand why. Where was this sudden shift? Was there something I missed?
I also think Wildcard didn’t work as well for me because the entire premise of Warcross.. the virtual reality Hideo created.. was almost entirely absent. That was one of the biggest things I loved about Warcross was the virtual reality! I loved seeing how things changed, how things could be manipulated, seeing what marvelous things could be down in the world of Warcross. But it was absent in this one which I was incredibly disappointed by. The best chapter in this book was about Darkcross, the underground illegal gambling den. This was the most interesting part of the book to me because we got to see some of the virtual reality, and it being a dark and illegal version made it all the more intriguing to me. Too bad the chapter was so short.
I’ve debated for a day as to whether I would give this two or three stars, and I think I have decided to go with three. While this book wasn’t up to my expectations, it was still a good story and it wrapped up nicely. The last 25% or so of the book was the best part, I just wish I didn’t have to listen to 8 hours of the audiobook to get to a point where it mattered that I pay attention.