I’m close to meeting my goodreads goal of having read fifty books in 2019. This is a surpurb reading year for me. It’s become difficult to write book reviews on this site because I read faster than I can type reviews. I wanted to write a review for Wildcard by Marie Lu because it’s the second book in the Warcross series. Warcross was one of my favorite series I read in 2018, so it holds a special place in my biblophile heart. Despite Warcross’s strong start, Wildcard is a weaker addition to the series.
*spoilers from Warcross & Wildcard down below, be aware*
Wildcard begins immediately after Warcross with Hideo Tanaka’s neurolink going online. This neurolink forces anyone who has committed a crime or thought about committing a crime to turn themselves into the police. Emika feels betrayed by Hideo because she feels no one should have this type of power even if Hideo’s intentions are good. Emika is contacted by Zero who is revealed at the end of Warcross to be Hideo’s missing brother, Sasuke. Zero gives Emika a way to shut down the neurolink by being recruited by Zero’s group the Blackcoats. As Emika investigates further into Sasuke’s past she uncovers a shocking horror into what happened with Sasuke and how this leads into the Blackcoats true intentions.
Sasuke’s backstory is tragic. I’m not going to reveal any of it because I don’t want to be giving massive spoilers in this review. I wouldn’t say I shed any tears for Sasuke, but his backstory allowed him to be manipulated by high ranking individuals who weren’t looking out for his best interests.
Marie Lu is skilled at creating morally ambiguous characters. The villain’s methodology is completely wrong, but their intentions are good. This type of character creation allows for open discussion about the implications in Wildcard with our current society. Hideo can be considered a villain as well because even though he has good intentions on trying to decrease crime, he has also caused mass suicides of criminals and innocent people. In my opinion, Hideo is more of an anti-hero because his intentions are good, but the outcome is severe.
Wildcard builds off of my OTP’s including Hammie & Asher and Roshan & Tremaine. I don’t ship Emika with Hideo because Emika is fiercly intelligent and she deserves someone who will listen to her and Hideo doesn’t.
As I mentioned, Wildcard is a weaker addition in the series because the final “battle” drags on forever. I found myself losing focus while reading because I found the virtual elements to be confusing to picture in my mind. I never lost my focus reading Warcross, whereas Wildcard felt too long.
Wildcard isn’t terrible, but could be better. I initially gave this book three stars on goodreads, but seeing the return of the Phoenix Riders along with the addition of new characters allowed me to give this book four stars. It’s not as great as Warcross, but it’s still a worthy sequel into this neon gaming world.