Book Review: Wildcard by Marie Lu

Happy Thursday, friends! Today, I’m back with another book review. Last month, I buddy read Warcross by Marie Lu with A from Avid Reader Diary and posted a Q&A review about my thoughts. I recently finished the second book in the Warcross duology, and let’s just say…I wasn’t as impressed. While Warcross blew me away as a 4.5 star read, Wildcard barely made 1.5 stars in my book. This review is spoiler-free but will contain references and spoilers for the first book!

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WILDCARD (WARCROSS #2) by Marie Lu

PUBLISHED BY G. P. Putnam’s Sons (Penguin Random House) on September 18th, 2018

GENRES: Science Fiction

PAGES: 352

ADD TO GOODREADS     //    BOOK DEPOSITORY

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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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Sigh…I AM SO SAD! I had such high expectations going into this book (which I guess is my own fault because I loved Warcross) but what just happened?? It felt like someone wrote a book where Warcross left off but finished the duology in the most undeveloped and out-of-the-box way. 💔 Unlike this book’s predecessor, Wildcard lacked significant world-building and the necessary development to conclude the duology with a flourish. The sparkly technology of this world felt limited and underutilized, and we barely got any scenes featuring the actual Warcross game.

Emika Chen…what happened to you?! In the first book, Emika was a badass hacker that had a strong moral compass whose POV I loved reading, but in this one, I struggled to make it through to the finish. 😭 Even Hideo who was our morally complex love interest lacked his swoon-worthiness and spark. The new characters who are introduced are, for a lack of a better word, boring. They’re meant to be badass and extremely cunning, but I found it hard to become invested in who they were and see how they were vital to the actual story.

However, I think what makes this book the most disappointing (for me at least) was the direction that Marie Lu took the plot. Everything about it was messy and illogical—I just couldn’t buy into it. 😕 We were revealed “plot twist” after “plot twist”, but frankly, it was difficult to be enthusiastic or shocked because it genuinely felt like these scenes (and even some characters) were added for the shock value.

When I reached the end of the book, I was glad that I made it through yet I was equally disappointed because this wasn’t the closure that I wanted nor was it the closure that these characters deserved. 😢 The Hideo and Sasuke situation doesn’t exactly get resolved, and Emika doesn’t feel like she’s reached her peak of character development either. The pacing was very much scattered where the first 60% of the novel is filled with dragged-on narrative, and the last 40% is jam-packed with action and reveals.

In conclusion, I’m sorry to say that this book fell flat. 💔 If you already finished the first book, I would recommend just powering through the second, or you could honestly just read a spoilery review for (some-ish?) closure. I think my takeaway from this is that Marie Lu’s books are a hit or miss. If I had to rank her books, the Legend series would definitely be #1, The Young Elites would take second place, and this duology would sadly be at the bottom…MAINLY BECAUSE OF THIS BOOK AGHH.

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Have you read Wildcard? What were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments! 💕

22 thoughts on “Book Review: Wildcard by Marie Lu

  1. Welcome to the land of Disappointment. Hahaha! But really sorry about this read. I agree. Warcross was such a stunning read, filled with everything you wanted to ask in a sci-fi. Then Wildcard… I expected too.

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    1. THIS LAND IS SUCH SADNESS 😦 I can’t believe this happened. I heard around the blogosphere that it wasn’t a good book, but I honestly didn’t expect it to be this bad. Sigh…guess we have to find others to read. :/

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  2. Ah that was just too bad! I did wind up enjoying it after all, though a few of the plot twists were difficult to wrap my mind around. I’m reading Legend right now and I’m glad to hear that’s your #1! I have high hopes for this trilogy.

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    1. That’s good that you enjoyed it! I think it depends on personal preference. I’m really hoping you enjoy Legend because I LOVED that series. I’m thinking about rereading it before the 4th book comes out! Keep me updated on your thoughts ❤

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  3. I love it when we dislike the same books. Hahaha. The points you raised in Wildcard are similar to the issues I pointed out in my review:

    – Really messy and illogical
    – Plot twists writtrn for shock value
    – Inconsistent pacing
    – Emika’s lost of agency (she was really just a messenger for either Hideo or Zero)
    – JUST BAD

    I’m sorry to hear that this one disappointed you. I’m sticking to the Legend books, too. Fantastic review, Tiffany!!! 💛

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    1. LMAO So cruel of us but I love when we dislike the same books too ❤ I remember reading your review too and going "YES SHEALEA DAMN YOU READ MY MIND!!!" On the bright side, there's a 4th Legend book coming out, and hopefully, it's a hit for us instead of a miss 🙂 Either way…we can rant together!!

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  4. Oh no, I’m so sorry you didn’t love this sequel, Tiffany! I’ve read so many mixed reviews about it, I think it’s one of the main reasons why I haven’t read it just yet, I’m so nervous and afraid to be disappointed, too :/ thank you for sharing your thoughts!! ❤

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  5. I’m not surprised to see you didn’t like this because so many people didn’t either. 😦 It’s a bit sad since Warcoss hit off in the community and I think everyone and their dogs loved it! I don’t know about reading Wildcard, especially since I know there are so many books I know I will love that I have yet to read this year. I might just reading a spoilerish review for it, because it just doesn’t sound like something I would enjoy. Wonderful review!

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    1. “everyone and their dogs loved it” YOU’RE RIGHT WHICH MAKES ME SO SAD! I would still love to hear your thoughts about this book because I have heard some people enjoying it, and it might just come down to personal preference?? and if you don’t like it, we can wallow in our sadness together ❤ thank you so much for reading my review Ilsa!!

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  6. I read Wildcard, and I honestly felt the same way about it! The truth is that I wasn’t crazy about the first book, but I continued the series in hopes that it would get better. I agree that the plot felt like it was all over the place, and I just wasn’t impressed by the book overall.

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    1. That makes me happy to hear that we had simialr thoughts (even though they were on the negative side). It was really disappointing to see how the plot turned out. Hopefully, Marie Lu’s next book will be better for our tastes 🙂

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