“Every problem has a solution. But after every solution, there’s a new problem to tackle, some new challenge to take on.”
Series: Warcross, #2
Author: Marie Lu
Published: September 18, 2018
Genre: young adult, sci-fi
My Rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5)
This review contains spoilers from the past book in the series but no spoilers from this book itself!
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?
(This synopsis is from Goodreads.)
When I got this book in the mail, I was ready to eat this book up. If it was anything like Warcross, I would fly through the story. Let me tell you, this book was INTENSE. You thought the first book was intense, but this story will not let you set it down without experiencing physical pain because it was so captivating. There were so many plot twists I couldn’t keep my head from spinning.
Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s talk about the story:
The plot takes off around where Warcross stopped. It starts eight days before the closing ceremony. I love how the author put in how many days until the closing ceremony as some of the chapter titles so I could easily keep up with the timeline. Emika is debating whether or not she wants to take Zero’s offer about working to help him dismantle Hideo’s NeuroLink system due to the new program/device that he distributed that essentially let’s Hideo have mind control over everyone. She doesn’t agree with what Hideo is doing, but she doesn’t know if she can trust Zero. Basically, she’s in a huge dilemma, which is a frequent trend throughout the book.
To be completely honest, I thought after finishing Warcross that there was a potential love triangle between a girl and two brothers, but thankfully, that was not the case. I’m glad Marie Lu avoided that YA trope because I don’t know how I would have felt if Hideo and Sasuke was both pining over Emika.
This book a particular element that reminds me of the movie Get Out. I don’t want to say more than that because I feel like it would spoil something. But if you read the book, I think you’d understand what I’m talking about.
I like how the first book was about how Hideo saved Emika (although not directly) and how, in this book, it’s about Emika trying to save Hideo.
One thing I loved about this book was how Emika was not painted as though she was some sort of wizard. She’s human who’s exceptionally good with hacking and technology, but she’s not an assassin. She still freezes at the sight of death, and is inexperienced with a gun. There was one part of the story where someone she cared about was in a compromising position, and she couldn’t do anything to stop that person from getting shot. Sure, it would’ve been super cool if she pulled an impossible heroic stunt. In a way, I’m glad she wasn’t able to save the person because it showed how human she was. I’m used to fantastical miracles in the YA fantasy/sci-fi books I read, so to see that not everyone is safe brings a whole new level of reality into it.
Speaking of reality, I like how the book raises the ethical question of how far technology should go and how much power one person should have over others. The disaster and consequences are reflected in this story, and it brings something for the reader to ponder about. We are in an age dominated by technology, much like the world in Warcross, and we are facing problems with big companies selling customer information to other businesses and the question of ethics behind that. I find the parallel unsettling, because it shows just how much privacy we have, or don’t have, when inputting private information in supposedly secure programs and even just browsing through the internet. How easily Hideo was able to take over someone’s mind in Warcross was also chilling. The thought of someone just because able to control my mind without me knowing is a scary thought.
I mentioned towards the beginning of this review about plot twists, and boy, does this book have a lot of them! It was almost like a snowball effect. After Emika discovers one plot twist, it initiated the “snowball” down the hill and slowly started unraveling more plot twists and started to pick up speed towards the end. I swear my head was swimming after all of it because of all the secrets uncovered.
Overall, I really enjoyed the story, and I’m sad that the series is over. Seriously though, I read half the book in one sitting. It’s so easy to read and you won’t even know what hit you when you finish. I thought Wildcard is a great finale to this duology, and I’m excited to see what Marie Lu has in store in the future.
I kind of want to try longboarding because of her, but I know I would never really use a longboard because I hate going outside.
Sasuke “Zero” Tanaka
He’s a complex character, and I love it.
I don’t love him, but I don’t hate him either. Normally I’m one way or the other when it comes to the love interest of the protagonist, but with Hideo, I’m sort of indifferent.
You would not want to mess with this gal. She has a heart of gold, though.
… no comment
You get to learn a lot more about Tremaine and his story in this book, and he doesn’t seem as bad as a person as he did during the first book.
I give this book 4 / 5 BCC Sherlock heads. It was a great ending to a great series.
Until next time….