Wildcard by Marie Lu
Genre: YA Fantasy, Action, Adventure, Fiction, Virtual Reality, Gaming
Publication: September 18th 2018 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Series: Warcross #2
Length: 448 pages
Format: ARC from publisher
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?
Huge thanks to my friends from Penguin Random House International for sending me a review copy of this title in exchange for an honest review. This did not, in any way, affect my overall opinion of the book and/or the story.
Warcross, for those who haven’t read or heard of it yet, is an engaging novel that’s every bit worthy of being called a New York Times Bestseller. As I’ve mentioned in my review for this last year, “in all it’s colorful glory, it is undoubtedly one of Marie Lu’s best books yet.” And our agony of waiting for the sequel comes to an end this Fall. That book ended on such a cliffhanger, I don’t even know how I was able to cope up with the 1-year wait. (No, seriously…) But anyway, thanks to my friends from Penguin Random House International, I have once again read Marie’s upcoming book in advance, and I am here to talk about my thoughts about this exciting sequel, Wildcard.
Well-planned, Well-choreographed, and Action-packed Scenes
I’v established early on that Marie Lu has this effortless ability to tell stories that are made extremely engaging because of how well she plans and executes them. In Wildcard, readers will easily notice this right from the start. In my experience, Emika Chen had me hooked from the very first page and I was amazed to find out that all throughout the story, I was on the edge of my seat feeling all sorts of emotions from excitement, to fear, to grief. I felt it all while reading this fantastic book. There were scenes that will make you feel like you want to experience Warcross for yourself. There were scenes that will grab your heart, tear it out of your chest, and rip it to pieces. And there were scenes that were ultimately sweet and warm, and if your heart’s still beating after that exhausting experience, it will surely melt by the end.
Popular Characters Made Even Better
The character development, not just for Emika, but also for the other minor characters, were all very impressive. To see just how much has changed in the way Emika handles herself, or to witness just how stronger the Phoenix Riders team has become, all of that brought a huge smile to my face, no doubt, and not that I need anymore validation, but I am amazed by how talented and well-abled Marie Lu is in creating a story that’s every bit exciting, inclusive, and just straight up phenomenal. Even Hideo, who at first seemed hell-bent at not wanting anything to do with Emi, turned out to be such a well-rounded character. At some point, I’ve grown fascinated by how much he has changed and I kinda wished he got his own chapters to narrate. Wildcard featured so many amazing characters, I hope they’ll get their own spin-off novels in the future. (Gently nodding towards Hammie, Tremaine, Roshan, and Jax…)
And following up to that detail about great character development, there’s a specific scene in Wildcard (don’t worry, I won’t spoil it for you) where Emika accidentally views memories from Asher, Hammie, and Roshan, and seeing and discovering those small bits of detail made me love and root for these characters even more. It showed me that even though they sometimes seemed invincible whenever they are in the virtual world playing Warcross, at the end of the day, they are still humans and that each of them all went through something heartbreaking in the past. Everyone’s fighting a battle of some sort, and Warcross changed their lives because they found an outlet in it. They were able to cope up with different challenges because Warcross offered a temporary escape. Much like playing video games or reading books in real life. And that’s part of the reason as to why I found this duology so appealing and relatable.
Well Wrapped-up Ending
Now, for those who know me well, you’d know that there’s nothing I adore more than a story that ends on a very high note, with storyline questions that are answered before or as the story comes to an end. I love the fact that every single page of this book was filled with important details that were either required to expand the world and/or the story, or just to give small background stories for the main / side characters. I love how there were no dull moments, especially towards the second half of the story. The ending was also good. Every single issue that were brought up since the first book were all resolved, leaving no questions left unanswered. (But then again, that’s just me. Other people might now agree with me on this one.)
“If you’ve read Warcross in the past and are highly anticipating it’s sequel, then you will not be disappointed by Wildcard. It’s every bit as amazing and thrilling as it’s predecessor, if not more, and it tells a story that is diverse and inclusive. With Marie Lu’s signature writing style, coupled with a great, tight-knit cast of characters, action scenes that were intricately written, a romance aspect that complemented the story, and a main character that will take you on a quest that focuses on the importance of humanity, Wildcard truly deserves to be one of everyone’s most anticipated sequels for 2018 and it definitely has the potential to be a bestseller and a fan favorite.”
Have YOU had the chance to read Wildcard yet? What are your thoughts? Share them with me via the comments section below! And if you haven’t yet, be sure to grab a copy and read Emika’s story!
Marie Lu is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Legend trilogy and The Young Elites trilogy. She graduated from the University of Southern California and jumped into the video game industry, working for Disney Interactive Studios as a Flash artist. Now a full-time writer, she spends her spare time reading, drawing, playing Assassin’s Creed, and getting stuck in traffic. She lives in Los Angeles, California (see above: traffic), with one husband, one Chihuahua mix, and two Pembroke Welsh corgis.
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