Very Underwhelming and Not Marie Lu's Best | Review: Wildcard by Marie Lu

10:07 PM

To be perfectly honest with you guys, Wildcard didn't work for me. In fact, it didn't even feel like it was written by Marie Lu. (I always like Marie Lu's books! What the heckity heck!)


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
Rating: ★☆☆☆

“And that’s when I realize that, at the end, we’d all wish for the same thing. Just a little more time.”

Let's get one thing out of the way: I feel like I am betraying Marie Lu, one of my all-time favourite YA QUEENS, by having lukewarm feelings to the Warcross series. We already know I didn't hate or love Warcross which is why I had a bit of delay when it came to reading Wildcard and all that jazz. I was nervous, okay? We've all been there. It stinks when one of your favourite authors writes something you're just meh about.

Turns out, I had every reason to delay and feel concern when it came to Wildcard. The good news is that Marie Lu's still a favourite, the bad news is that Wildcard just didn't work for me in so many ways. You know those novels that you just inexplicably aren't interested in? This is one of them for me. It's sad, because in theory this should have been something that hooked me from the very beginning!

You win some, you lose some, and taste is entirely subjective. What doesn't work for me, may very well work for you, as I always say. Which is why Wildcard is worth a shot. If you loved the first installment, than you'll likely enjoy this one. If you, like me, were indifferent toward it or just disliked it altogether, well, skip it.

My biggest issue with Wildcard was in the fact that I felt like everything was much flatter than it was in Warcross. Not only did I feel like I didn't care about the characters, I felt like Lu didn't care about them, and that the characters didn't even care about... er, anything. There was just something about Wildcard that felt like the literary equivalent of a can of soda that was left out over night and left to go flat.

While Warcross didn't necessarily dazzle me into fandom territory, it still had that spark of life essential to storytelling. The world building had potential. It's a series about games, the people who play them, the people who watch, and there was always so much groundwork there to build off of. Emika, our main character, was SO flawed and full of life and easy to connect with during book one, and I feel like she got pushed to the back-burner on this one.

(As for the other characters? I didn't really find myself drawn to them, period.)

Marie Lu's mind is always full of brilliance and possibilities, but there were times during this one that I shook my head and wondered why this felt almost incomplete. Like something was missing or had been cut from the final draft, and ultimately this was a feeling I couldn't shake. Wildcard could have been so much more than it was.

Needless to say, this one was disappointing. And I'm disappointed in myself. Sadly, this series just wasn't for me and left me aching for something more.

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