ARC REVIEW: WILDCARD by MARIE LU

To see my review of Warcross from Nov 2017, click here! 

Wildcard By Marie Lu
Publishes: September 18, 2018 ( G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers)
Pages: 352
GenreYoung AdultScifi

Synopsis: 

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?

Review

My rating: 2/5 Stars 

This is going to be a really difficult review to write because I find it so hard writing reviews for books I was anticipating when they did not meet my expectations. Warcross was one of my favourite books of 2017 so naturally, I was stoked for the release of Wildcard and I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of it from Penguin Random House Canada!

In order to avoid rambling, which I do more often than not, I’m going to get right into it!

The biggest issue I had while reading this is how lost I felt throughout pretty much the entire novel. I found it difficult connecting events back to the first book and felt like there was very little included to remind the reader of small details that occurred in Warcross that were important to the plot points in Wildcard. The action scenes were hard to follow as their pace was very fast, making the scenes in between difficult to understand. At one point, there were so many different storylines going on at the same time, that I really did not know how to focus on this book. Unfortunately, there are not many specific plot points in Wildcard that I remember, even only a few days after finishing it.

The general pacing of the story was quite disorientating, as the very fast-paced action scenes would quickly transition into slower scenes, and back to action again without much indication. I would find myself having to go back and reread sections to understand how two different scenes fit together. It took me a particularly long time to get through this book, partly because of the fact that I did need to keep re-reading sections. The end of the synopsis, which says: “Caught in a web of betrayal…” is exactly how I felt reading this, stuck in this web of a book and not being able to understand how I got there or where to go from there.

I also had quite a hard time with the number of characters. Wildcard has quite a large cast of new and old characters, which I often would get confused. The main characters: Hideo, Emika and Zero, all fell flat in comparison to how they were in Warcross, and I really cannot place their personalities in my mind anymore. They all felt like completely different people.

There was one twist in here that was quite good, but again, the lead up to it and the after effects of this plot twist were lost on me because of how confused I was. I could tell it was a good twist, but I could not enjoy it as much as I would have liked to, had I actually been able to understand what was really happening. Overall, I was far too confused by the general timeline of the book to even notice if there were any other good plot twists.

As well, going on how the cover of the book has the blurb “It’s time for a rematch”, you would think it would be jam-packed with exciting Warcross gameplay, but actually, the lead-ups to the games fall short and end very quickly. I loved the Warcross gameplay in book 1, but unfortunately

I wish I could explain myself more past just saying it was confusing, but I’m finding it hard to mention other specifics because I genuinely can’t place many plot points that occurred.

I gotta mention something that made me happy though! They/them pronouns! I genuinely don’t think I have read a book (that I can remember at least) that used they/them pronouns for a character! It was so great to see.

So, I am quite disappointed, but I do hope that others will still enjoy this book! If it is also one of your most anticipated of the year, I hope you have better luck than I did 🙂

xo Wren 

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