Wildcard by Marie Lu
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published September 18th, 2018
by 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?
Wildcard by Marie Lu was one of my most anticipated reads of 2018. Sadly, while reading it I didn’t feel the same excitement or connection as I did with Warcross. I did enjoy it, but it was much slower, less action, a bit more emotional and very predictable. If you haven’t read Warcross (my review), the first book in this duology, read no further.
Wildcard picks up soon after Warcross ends. With Hideo's new NeuroLink algorithm in place, it has countless citizens under its control. Hideo is using the NeuroLink algorithm to hunt for his brother’s kidnapper by scanning millions of minds, searching for any clues as to what happened to Sasuke.
Emika and the Phoenix Riders are still using the older lenses, which are not under the algorithms control. Hideo plans to implement the algorithm into all lenses at the upcoming Warcross Closing Ceremony. Zero (Sasuke) wants to partner with Emika to disable the NeuroLink algorithm. It’s something she desperately wants, but it also means betraying Hideo, and destroying what he has spent his life building.
I really wanted to see all the Phoenix Riders help Emika. I enjoyed their relationships and banter in Warcross, this time around they didn’t have the same dynamic. Emika was a loner and somewhere along the way she lost her sassiness. I did enjoy the backstories of Jax (a new character), and how Sasuke became Zero. It was so sad to read about what happened to Sasuke after he was kidnapped.
I expected a whole different story and the ending was kind of a letdown.
“That's the difference between the real and the virtual. Reality is where you can lose the ones you love. Reality is the place where you can feel the cracks in your heart.”
― Marie Lu, Wildcard