Book Review: Wildcard by Marie Lu

Status: Finished Reading (21 September 2018)

Edition: Amazon Kindle

Rating: ★★★★★

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Image Source: Goodreads

Wildcard is one of my most anticipated 2018 releases. It was so easy for me to fall in love with the world of Warcross that the wait for Wildcard held a mix of emotions – a lot of fear for what could possibly happen, but also a lot of excitement to be thrown back into a universe I love so much. It doesn’t hurt that Emika happens to be one of my favourite protagonists from this generation of young adult books. Her story is one I was intent on following to the end.

The ending of Warcross left us with a lot of questions. We were all shocked to learn about how Hideo planned to use his tech, but also what it could possibly mean for the story if Zero came into the mix.

Wildcard does an amazing job of tying up all those loose ends. Not only do we jump right into the thick of things, but it also addresses a lot of philosophical discussions with ease. Emika is clearly intent on stopping Hideo but it’s difficult to target somebody whom you have such strong feelings for. At the same time, while she could consider using Zero’s help, not only is she asking herself if it’s okay to trust a stranger but there is also the price to pay for such help. The intent of this series has always been to question how far a good guy can go until they become a bad guy – which begs the question of who is the real villain? Is it Hideo? Is it Zero? Will Emika become one? Or are none of them villains at all? Is it just a matter of circumstance?

If I’m being brutally honest, I did not expect the book to handle it so well. I have a fear of sequels/last books because so often they deviate from the original plan for the series (while this works really well in some cases, in some it has led to a lot of disappointment). That fear had me immensely worried for this book, too. Thankfully, Marie Lu not only put all those fears to rest but also responded to it with an amazing story.

There is nothing overly complicated about the plot, which is something I really love. A complicated plot is a difficult feat to take on with only two books, and leaves more room for dissatisfaction than anything else. Wildcard’s plot, however, is not only easy to follow but told through a very simple style of writing. Don’t be fooled, though. The simplistic style doesn’t make it any less powerful on impact. For someone who rarely cries during books, I found myself tearing up and deeply affected by some scenes and paragraphs.

I plan on keeping this as spoiler free as possible because I think with the kind of experience Warcross creates – not just as a narrative, but also a game of its own – it’s important that readers experience it for themselves. While some might consider it (the book) cliche (and to each their own), I happen to be a sucker for trope-y books. There are some recipes in sci-fi that can never go old if 1) they’re done well and 2) aim to reflect some real world possibilities. Wildcard made me love those tropes all over again.

I will leave you with this: I don’t think Emika, Hideo and Zero’s storylines could’ve been wrapped up any better. Their story arcs were handled fairly realistically: dramatic enough to keep us on the edge of our seats but not so far out that we begin to lose touch with reality. One of the strongest points of this world has always been that it’s a very real world we could one day live in – and in a situation like that, the story needs to be handled with a level of subtlety that is usually demanded of contemporary writers. Marie Lu balances the sci-fi factor and the contemporary world factor perfectly, giving us a wonderful sequel that only has us loving these characters more.

Definitely give this one a read. It will not disappoint.

P.S: If you’re part of the BTS ARMY, be prepared for some cameos that will have you grinning rather wide and silly. I know I couldn’t stop giggling.

 

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