Wildcard – Marie Lu

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(Marie Lu, 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?

(via Goodreads)

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What I Liked

  • Quick read-
    • I have been in a serious book slump for the last three or so months and have been struggling to force myself to pickup Stalking Jack the Ripper. I also keep the books I am definitely either reading or reading next in Book Beaus on the desk next to my purse. When I accidentally packed Wildcard instead of Stalking Jack the Ripper, I just went with it, and ended up reading 50 pages at work. What that entire paragraph basically boils down to is the fact that Wildcard was so easy to get through and read. It went quickly- it felt like I was finished about just as fast as I had started it. Which was exactly what I needed at that moment.
  • Cover
    • Is it shallow to list the cover design as one of the favorite things about a book (almost in every review)? At first, when it was released online, I wasn’t all that crazy about it. But holding it in my hands definitely changed my mind. The glossy finish really stole the show for me. And honestly, putting it next to the all white of Warcross, I have to say was a nice little contrast.
  • Twisted
    • While I may not have liked the actual content of the story, I will admit that Marie Lu had me whipping my head around every corner because this book had so many twists and turns. I felt like I couldn’t root for any characters (new or old) because of all the twists.
  • Violence
    • Forgive me, but I don’t remember Warcross being so violent! I know there were multiple assassination attempts, but wow, I didn’t expect that level of violence for this story.

What I Disliked

  • Jumps right in
    • I haven’t read Warcross since I first completed it last year. When I opened Wildcard, we were literally right back where we left off, no recap, no cushion, nothing. It was as if the story never ended. That took me way out of it because I had to stop, go back, read a bunch of reviews and play by plays, and then revisit. Even with re-acquiring myself with Warcross, I still had trouble through the majority of Wildcard figuring out/remembering who everyone was.
  • Action packed
    • Now this could go either way! Some people really like action heavy sequels, but for me it was just a tad too much. Between the Warcross “battles” and the real-life violence happening around them, I had a hard time staying interesting in the actual story. I found myself skimming over large chunks of action scenes because they felt so scripted and repetitive.
  • Did not stand up to Warcross
    • Warcross was so “unique” when it came out. Marie Lu spent a lot of time building up this virtual world, and engulfing us in it along with our MCs. The fact that this was a sequel should not have deterred her from continuing to create vivid, unique worlds, and yet, for me at least, all the world building felt flat and boring. I ended up leaving this book unimpressed.

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Final Thoughts

Looking back, I feel like while I read this very quickly and enjoyed some parts and new characters, I felt a strange detachment from old character, which made this a very “meh” read. I have to also take into account that the multiple not necessarily negative reviews, did not help the case. I feel like knowing a lot of people in the book community who had had the opportunity to read Wildcard ahead of time, and ended up feeling very indifferent about it, had a huge effect of how I went into this book. When I placed the pre-order, I was at the top of hype, so excited for this to come out. As reviews poured in though, I found myself less and less enthused about it. That COULD have been a huge reason why I rated it so low, but who knows. All in all, it was a conclusion to a series, and that’s about it. We have the answer to our cliffhanger, and it was fine.

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What are your thoughts on this widely anticipated sequel? Have you read it already? Do you plan to? Let’s chat!


on deck book On Deck:

Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women and Witchcraft

edited by Jessica Spotswood & Tess Sharpe


2 thoughts on “Wildcard – Marie Lu

  1. I remember your review for Warcross, and I really thought at the time that it was a book that I would really enjoy (and of course right now it’s still on my to read list). It’s a shame that the sequel isn’t as good. It’s always hard when you have expectations for something and it’s a bit of a letdown. Terrific review though! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Wow, I can’t even remember my review for Warcross! That is so you though :] I still think you will enjoy Warcross, and even if Wildcard isn’t as good, you’ll still get the conclusion you desperately want at the end of Warcross, so it all balances out in the end.
      Thanks again for the kind words!

      Liked by 1 person

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