“Wildcard” by Marie Lu
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Science Fiction
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?
Well, that was a bit disappointing. I had so much fun with Warcross. It was one of those books that I picked up because it sounded interesting enough and ended up having a blast with. I had hoped to have just as much fun with Wildcard but alas there was just something missing.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what was different. We still got snippets of the game and virtual world. We still got Emika and Hideo and the tension there. We still got the Phoenix Riders. It was just lacking that little bit of magic that made Warcross so much fun.
The story really takes a while to get going. There was so much talking and planning about how the plans were going to be executed. We had to get almost 3/4 of the way through the story for the story to get kicked into high gear and have me really care about the story.
Morally gray characters are always engaging to read about so the twists and turns about Hideo, Taylor, and company are interesting. No one and nothing is exactly what it seems. Emika felt so disconnected from the story. She didn’t engage that much with what was happening.
Ultimately, Wildcard isn’t a terrible book. It’s what I would normally label as middle book syndrome except this isn’t the middle book of a series. It’s the end of a duology which makes the misstep a bit unfortunate.