Wildcard by Marie Lu | Review

Thank you so much to Penguin Australia for sending me a review copy in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own and were in no way affected by receiving a copy of Wildcard by Marie Lu.

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Rating: ★★★☆☆

Release Date: September 18th, 2018

Dates Read: September 10th, 2018 – September 12th, 2018

Trigger Warnings: kidnapping and experimentation on children, cancer mentions, poverty mentions, mentions of suicide

Pages: 352

Publisher: Penguin Random House Australia

Genre: dystopia, science fiction, young adult, romance, fantasy 

Goodreads blurb:

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?

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R E V I E W 

Warcross | Review

WARNING: this review will have spoilers for Warcross, the first book in the series, mingled throughout. I have tried to keep them minor but there is a large one mentioned. So I recommend reading Warcross and then coming back for my thoughts on the finale of this duology.

Wildcard by Marie Lu was one of my most anticipated reads of 2018. When I received a copy of Wildcard in the mail I think I actually cried from excitement. It is truly such a beautiful book. However, after jumping into this one almost instantaneously, I feel I should have made an effort to re-read Warcross. I think that added to my overall disappointment with Wildcard. That isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy this particular story, because I somewhat did, however, I felt a level of disconnect throughout the story that furthered my disappointment.

Wildcard picks up pretty soon after Warcross finishes. With Emika still coming to terms with everything and Hideo’s technology and algorithm being implemented in almost all of the lenses. Emika is still not under the algorithm but at the Warcross Closing Ceremony, it will be implemented into all lenses. As Hideo continues to try to locate his brother’s kidnapper. Unbeknownst to Hideo Emika has stumbled across not only Hideo’s brother but a whole new organisation, one that seems intent on bringing down the algorithm as much as she is. However, not all is easy in this universe. While relying so heavily on technology has advanced the world it has also placed many barriers and allows falsehoods to be created quite easily. New enemies arise and old friends are there. Unfortunately for me, Wildcard did not deliver on the hype and I am pretty disappointed.

I’m really struggling to put my thoughts together about this book. I’m struggling to identify the reasons why I did enjoy this book, despite the fact I did. I think it was just the familiarity of Marie Lu’s writing style that did have me enjoying this one. Despite the fact it felt as though Marie had lost the strings of these particular characters and world. I feel like this may be a common thing with Marie Lu and series, her finale books tend to lack that punch that they desperately need to push through.

I guess I should get my complaining out of the way, then maybe I will think of some things I did enjoy in Wildcard.

I feel that my biggest problem with this book was that it didn’t feel similar to the first one at all. Maybe it’s because I read the first book so long ago, but there felt like there was a disconnect between the characters and their stories.

Not only that, but Emika felt as though she had lost those kickass bounty hunter ways that I had grown to love about her in Warcross. Hell, it almost felt like she had no personality at all and was purely there to view everything that was going on. It made the book really difficult to read for me. I am a massive fan of basically all female characters but I feel that Emi’s personality got lost in the sheer size of t his novel.

My other problem was the plotline. I know it now sounds as though I like nothing about this book. I just felt as though Marie Lu went a completely different direction than what she lined us up for. It honestly didn’t work well for me. I expected a whole different story and was disappointed that Marie Lu the queen of antiheroes didn’t fulfil. There was the perfect line up for it too and it just didn’t hit that mark.

I did really enjoy some of the backstories we got for some of the characters. I feel this could have been added on heavily though. The whole book basically lacked layers overall and made it difficult to stay engaged.

Overall, I’m really trying to keep this review short because I don’t want to spoil anyone. I already have spoilers for Warcross mingled throughout this, which is a dangerous game. I totally get that maybe I just had high expectations. I think that is it in part, but I really think that this was cursed by how I feel about most of Marie Lu’s finales. Just slightly underwhelmed. This series really would have worked best as one book that stayed that way. No matter what kind of cliffhanger it did leave behind.

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Happy reading everyone!

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