Wildcard by Marie Lu

Title: Wildcard
Author: Marie Lu
Release Date: September 18th, 2019
Pages: 352 pages 
Source: Hardcover 
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
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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Marie Lu has done it again,

Whenever I begin a new book by Marie Lu, I clear out my day’s schedule and prepare myself for the rush of adrenaline that’s sure to follow, because I already know that it’s going to be out of this world. It’s sort of like getting ready for a special occasion. I started and finished Wildcard in a little over a day and good gracious, even my dreams started happening in Warcross.

The characters in Wildcard are as witty and as clever as they were in Warcross, and the world building was just phenomenal. In this duology, Marie Lu has not only triumphantly constructed an incredibly vibrant game universe--that is easily accessible--but has also reimagined a mystical future. Marie’s descriptions of the Warcross realm are detailed enough that the foundations feel sturdy, yet also loose enough that it allows for the reader to cultivate their own interpretation of the game’s many details.

Going back to the cast, I felt that all of the characters’ arcs grew tremendously throughout this finale. There were so many motives and faces to Marie’s characters, that I was constantly torn between whose side to choose. Ultimately, it took getting through a good chunk of the novel to realize who the true villain was--and what a classic plot twist! We learn so much more about Hideo’s backstory in this sequel, which almost made this story feel more like Hideo’s than Emika’s. I loved (almost) all of the new characters whom we were introduced to and despite the book being of an average novel length, I felt that the character descriptions were sufficient enough to provide a solid understanding of even the newest characters.

This conclusion packed so much emotional torment and adrenaline into 300-some pages that I didn’t regret losing sleep to finish it. As much as it took out of me to read Wildcard, every minute that I spent with this book was totally worth it. I loved Wildcard way more than Warcross, because it was so much more emotional with twists that no one could have predicted. Although I was left satisfied with the ending, I was certainly also left wanting more of the story, more of Emika and Hideo, and more details regarding the technologies.

Every time I read a new Marie Lu book, my expectations are that this new read could not possibly top the last one. And every time, I’m left with a new favorite. Marie Lu’s stories are always filled with incredible amounts of fine details and creative plots. Her characters are dimensional and their personalities are easily relatable. After Wildcard, I simply cannot wait for what Marie Lu has in store for us next.

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