Wildcard by Marie Lu (ARC): Mixed Feelings on a Highly Anticipated Sequel (Spoiler-Free!)



3.5 stars

(note: No major spoilers for book 1!)

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This made me so sad that I wasn’t completely blown away by this. I was hoping this would be the standout second book I was yearning for. I have a lot of mixed feelings, but in the end, it was slightly more positive than negative.

Like all of Lu’s work, it’s well written and extremely readable, but my biggest issue was just that I wasn’t invested.

I love Emika and think she’s super cool, but I also just didn’t connect much with her. So much of this book went into the plot that I feel like the characters were just neglected throughout the story.

They may come off as cool and have a certain level of backstory, but it also felt like we didn’t really get far into what made the protagonists tick. I still don’t really know what Emika would do in a certain situation, and I feel like I just haven’t gotten to know her enough because we’re always focused on what she does rather than who she is.

Yet, I think both Zero and Hideo’s characters were done really well and much better than Emika. I loved how there were so many elements to each and that they always surprised us. At one moment, you might think “Ugh, Hideo is just misunderstood!” and the next, you go “LEAVE HIDEO I HATE YOU WHY????”

Lu is so good at making us doubt what we think about each character, and I love the complexities she portrayed within Zero, Zero’s companions, and Hideo. (These antiheroes are part of why I loved The Young Elites so much, and this awesome execution carries over to Warcross and Wildcard.)

So, in short, the protagonists were okay, and the antagonists were fantastic.

Something I had a lot of trouble with in Warcross was that it came off as too high-octane for me. A weird complaint, I know, but when talking about that particular issue, Wildcard did far better than Warcross in making a book that had a more complex plot than one that focused on a virtual reality game.

But, in some ways, it might have been a little too complex for me. I just wasn’t sure what to focus on, and I feel like some of the emotional stakes might have been skewed a little, as in certain moments didn’t get the emotional weight they deserved to make this book pack a harder punch.

Maybe I’m reading too fast. Maybe I’m not taking the time to digest it enough. But I just felt like certain moments deserved more oomph than what they got, and I wish this happened to make Wildcard more compelling.

Still, Marie Lu is a wizard and it was deliciously twisty and filled with all sorts of twists that made sense, yet still shocked me. I love how she developed the backstory that formed the plot of this book, and think Lu did a really amazing job of piecing the story together, even if I was a bit lost at moments. (It all makes sense in the end.)

Plus, THE ENDING! I actually really liked the resolution, and was scared of a bad ending for Emika, but the way Lu wrapped it up and also hinted at the future was really satisfying and something I thought was done well.

Overall, if Wildcard and Warcross had a baby together, it would be perfect, but separately, I feel like each had its own flaws. I think it’s still worth the read for anyone who read Warcross, but whether it’ll be better than book 1 depends on what you didn’t like in book 1.

Thank you so much to Lauren @leovaldezy for sending me her ARC! And thank you to Penguin Teen for producing these for people to honestly review. 

much love, vicky

Have you read Warcross? What did you think & are you excited for Wildcard?




23 thoughts on “Wildcard by Marie Lu (ARC): Mixed Feelings on a Highly Anticipated Sequel (Spoiler-Free!)

  1. I had kind of mixed feelings about Warcross and I don’t know if I want to pick this one up just to finish the duology. I’ve been hearing a lot of mixed opinions about Wildcard and now I’m not really sure if it’ll be worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hmm, what specifically didn’t you like about Warcross? Then I might be able to tell you if it got better/worse/didn’t change in Wildcard!

      I found it worth it because I wanted to know how everything ended, but if you’re not super into the story anyways, then it might not be worth your time.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hmm, yeah. In Wildcard, ~things~ happen, especially because Emika needs Hideo’s help. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I did like how their relationship was at the end (if you want me to spoil it, I can), but I will say I don’t ship them together anytime in the present. They need time for a solid relationship to grow.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely review, Vicky! I’m sorry to hear you were a bit disappointed by this one and not too invested in the characters, I hate when that happens :/ I have been anticipating this book for a long, long time now and I am hoping to read it before the year ends. I’m happy to hear you still found it to be a satisfying conclusion:) ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! I hope you love it, Marie! Sometimes I feel like books don’t end in a good place, but this was pretty satisfying, tbh. I think it definitely could have been because I might not have savored it enough, idk.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I always find your comments in my spam which makes me go ???

      but ugh, yeah! that feeling always hits me when I read a popular book and don’t enjoy it as much as thought.

      and Wildcard is the final installment! it’s unfortunately only a duology :/


  3. I fell in love with Warcross, and actually had mixed feelings about the characters there. I really loved Emika, and I was SUPER iffy about Hideo. I’m curious to see if my thoughts on them will change in the sequel! Also super scared since I’m in a reading slump and that will definitely affect my feelings on this, especially since you mentioned the kind of all-over-the-place focus this has. D: Fantastic review, though!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I get that! I definitely was not really a fan of Hideo in Warcross, but I feel like he gets so much development in Wildcard (and Emika is kind of neglected :/).

      I hope you love reading it though, and I strongly encourage being in the right mood! (The wrong mood can seriously kill a book for me :/) Thanks, Aimee!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. aww, thank you so much! and yeah, the antagonists were WONDERFUL. Emika was still cool, but I just feel like we didn’t get as much depth as we could have gotten for her in this novel.

      (and than you so much omg I am glad you like it T.T <333)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh man I heard mixed things about Wildcard and I don’t know if I will like it but I still want to read it! Warcross was my favorite of 2018 so I want to read it sometime and form my own opinions of mine!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yea me too! I really need to know what happens and from what I heard the plot is still good, it just sacrificed character growth (which is a shame)

        Liked by 1 person

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