Wildcard (Warcross, #2) by Marie Lu

My rating: four stars

Genre: YA, dystopian

Edition: Audiobook

Goodreads Summary: 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?

I really liked Warcross and so chose Wildcard as my next month’s audiobook. I usually prefer physical books of stories that I love, however, the audiobook for the first one was incredible that I decided to listen to the second one!

Likes: I still love the technology and game in this book. It focuses less on the game I think in this story, but I do still love the new things that are shown about it. We also get more into the potential positives and negatives that could come about because of the advanced technology and I enjoyed reading about those. It reminded me of Black Mirror in that it shows how technology can be beautiful but also destructive. The relationship between Emika and Hideo is an enigma to me. I love it and hate it and don’t know what to feel because of that. I want them to be together, and I don’t think that he is the worst person in the world (he is a great example of a bad guy with good intentions), but he is still a bad guy. I love how they bonded in the last story, and I still saw hope for them. A writer that can make me so conflicted is a powerful one. I also liked how we learned more about certain characters and their backstories. This helped make them seem more “real” and showed the motivations behind their actions. However, this is one of my negatives because while I learned more about most of the “good” characters, I did not learn much about the villain.

Dislikes: I did not care for the ending to this book or for one of the bad guy’s incentives. They just seemed so shallow and were not given a lot of depth or backstory that would allow me to understand them more. Also, how certain characters just believed the bad guy and let them do whatever they wanted was insane. It is hard to believe that they would get away with it. This is personally why I did not like the ending, it just seemed like the reasoning behind a lot of why what was happening, was happening, just didn’t make sense. I didn’t mind the very end, I am talking about leading up to it, there are certain spoiler events and revelations that I did not care for.

Overall, I did still really like this book and the series as a whole. The characters were fun, the world and the technology were innovative and enticing, and I did not mind the plot for the most part. I prefer more flushed out villains which I didn’t feel like I got in this story though. Therefore, I am deducting a star. I just didn’t get the satisfaction from the villain that I would have liked. I still am so glad that I read this series and look forward to reading more by Marie, she is truly a wonderful writer!


Warcross (Warcross, #1) by Marie Lu

My rating: five stars

Genre: YA, sci-fi

Edition: Audiobook

Goodreads summary: For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

I have been wanting to read Marie Lu’s writing for a long time. All three of her series seem incredibly interesting, but since I love gaming, I figured I should read Warcross first. I listened to the audiobook and it was great, I will probably listen to the rest of her books since I liked it so much.

Likes: As stated above, I love the narrators and listening to her book. Some books either have narrators I don’t care for, or the books themselves don’t translate to audiobook well. However, this one worked great in this form! As with the story itself, I love how Marie Lu describes the game. Creating and describing a video game sounds difficult, but she does it so well that I can picture the game as if I have played it before. The game sounds like so much fun, I wish that I could play it! The romance was cute, and though it seemed unrealistic, I didn’t mind it. I enjoyed most of the characters and how they learned to like each other and work together. Being able to learn about each character, and see their growth throughout the story, made me connect more to the story and come to love it.

Dislikes: Unfortunately, it was predictable to me. I won’t say exactly what since this is spoiler free, but there was a certain part of this that I saw coming since the beginning of the book. This book also seemed a little unrealistic to me. It is hard to imagine that someone so important, with so many resources, picked Emika to help him fix the security problem. I understand that she is incredible at what she does, but he is literally one of the richest, most famous men in the world. I just felt like there should have been another way that she was picked because it just seemed far-fetched.

Overall, this book was a lot of fun. I enjoyed the video game, the characters, and the way that they had to learn how to use team work to get past problems. The overarching story line wasn’t as interesting to me as the game was, but I still enjoyed it. I felt for the characters and wanted to learn more about them. The writing style was so good! It made me able to picture what was going on and made me invested in the characters which is what I look for in stories. This was a great book – five stars from me!