Wildcard – Marie Lu

Title: Wildcard
Series: Warcross #2
: Marie Lu
Genre: YA, Science Fiction
: September 18th, 2018 (G. P. Putnam’s Sons Books For Young Readers)

: 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?


“Every problem has a solution. But after every solution, there’s
a new problem to tackle, some new challenge to take on. You don’t
stop after you solve one thing You keep going, you find a new way
and a new path, try to do better and create better. Tearing something down isn’t the end; doing something great, or better, something right, is. Or maybe there isn’t such a thing as an end goal at all. You accomplish something, and then you shift, ready to accomplish the next. You keep solving one problem after another until you change the world.”

With the truth behind Hideo’s new NeuroLink algorithm being revealed, Emika and the Phoenix Riders are amongst the few not affected by it due to still using the beta lenses and they team up to stop his plans. But Tokyo is no longer safe for Emika, and with a bounty on her head, the only place she is safe is with the mysterious Zero and the Blackcoats. Zero’s motives are no clearer however, and Emika is still reluctant to trust him completely, especially given the betrayal she has just suffered. Hideo’s algorithm is fast taking effect around the world, it’s a race to figure out how to stop it before the closing ceremony of the tournament.

“Maybe I should feel like a hero. But I don’t.
It’s always easier to destroy than to create.”

Where Warcross was all about the game and events in the present, Wildcard takes us into the past and the events in both Hideo and Zero’s pasts, not to mention the truth of what happened to Sasuke. While this did result in an overall slower pace than the previous book, it made for a very engrossing plot line and I thoroughly enjoyed every twist in the tale and the dramatic reveals in this story where the stakes are higher than ever as I tried to figure out right alongside Emika if Hideo is truly as much of an enemy as he seems, and what Zero’s motivations are. My favourite aspect of the story remained the technology and the Warcross games themselves.

However, in terms of the storyline itself, I felt that Wildcard had little going on. The Phoenix Riders in particular, were somewhat sidelined until the end, and there was little character development in that aspect, which I had really hoped for from this book. The little we did get to see about Roshan’s family and how Tremaine ties into it was quite interesting though.

After reading Warcross, I did have a picture in my head of how I thought this story might end, but Wildcard was completely unexpected in the best way and the final game in particular was a heart-stopper. I loved the ending and this was a perfect way to wrap up Emika’s story. Five stars for a fast paced and easy read that got me out of a nearly three month reading slump!

Have you read this book? Let me know in the comments below!
Other reviews in this series:


3 thoughts on “Wildcard – Marie Lu

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