Oh man, where do I even begin? How can I write a review for a favorite series by one of my favorite authors? It’s a little bittersweet to be honest.
A huge shoutout to the person who shall remain nameless for trading this ARC with me. I’m eternally grateful, especially since I was able to get it (and a finished copy) signed when I saw Marie a few weeks ago as part of her book tour.
Title: Wildcard (Warcross #2)
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Release date: September 18, 2018
Genre: Young adult, sci-fi
Length: 341 pages
Synopsis: (via Goodreads) “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 was eager to dive back into the Warcross world and meet up with Emika Chen, the Phoenix Riders, and, after the cliffhanger that was Warcross, to find out what happened with Hideo and Zero. Let me tell you, Wildcard took a dark twist I didn’t expect, throwing out dystopian vibes which made me gobble it up even more.
I wanted to read this book before I met Marie Lu (which I will blog about next week!), and though I didn’t accomplish that goal, I enjoyed this book all the same. It was fun to be reunited with these characters and to learn a bit more about their backstory. I really enjoyed Emika as a main character. She’s resourceful and smart, and she also realizes she can’t do a lot of the things she wanted to do alone–she needs her friends, the Phoenix Riders, and even some outsiders to help her achieve her main goal.
The setting, too, was absolutely fabulous. I’ve never been to Tokyo, but Lu really drops you right into the city, adding her own personal touches revolving around the Warcross franchise. I enjoy how she’s created this vibrant world, and know for sure that if I were in this world, I’d be right alongside all these Warcross fanatics.
Now for the twist… Wow! It blew me away! Ignoring the fact that I’m not good at making predictions (like when people say, “This was predictable” oftentimes, I don’t see it myself), so the way every event unfolded and puzzles were put together really made me love Marie Lu (and Wildcard) more). Even the mixed feelings I had about Hideo–especially with the ending of Warcross–have all but vanished. Not to say that Lu ultimately redeemed him but… His actions become slightly more understandable, and to his genius mind, logical.
I’m an ardent follower of Marie, and will continue in that way for the rest of her career.