Wildcard // Testing the boundaries of reality and virtual reality

Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of MINI-REVIEW-13

Hello everyone!

I’ve been shouting about Wildcard (Warcross #2) at the top of my lungs (metaphorically though sometimes literally) ever since I finished Warcross. Needless to say, I was ecstatic to finally be able to read the finale to this duology.

Please note that this is a spoiler-free review for Wildcard. However, there are some spoilers for Warcross which were hard to avoid as I was writing this review. 

29386918Emika 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?

The Characters

Emika Chen was propelled to international fame as the wildcard who was chosen to compete alongside the Phoenix Riders. Under different circumstances, this would be her dream. However, Emika discovered the true intention of the NeuroLink algorithm, which allowed a user to link up to the virtual reality world, and its devastating consequences. Now, she must find a way to stop the NeuroLink algorithm before it took over the world. The problem was that NeuroLink was invented by Hideo Tanaka, Emika’s childhood hero and love interest. Hideo Tanaka is the CEO of Henka games, known for the creation of Warcross, a video game that took the world by storm. After his brother went missing. Hideo was inspired to create the world of Warcross and the NeuroLink technology that allowed humans to interact seamlessly with the digital world. However, his ambitions went a bit too far.

Emika’s character was all right. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Emika in the first book- I was touched by her determination to succeed and I enjoyed reading about her relationship with her father. However she came across as a bit indecisive and passive in this second book, especially in the first half.

In general, I liked the characters in this sequel, particularly Hideo and a few other characters who were morally grey and multi-dimensional. I liked getting to know the secondary characters a bit better, such as the Phoenix Riders, especially towards the end of the novel.

The Plot

In Wildcard, the aftermath of NeuroLink algorithm became apparent. Old questions were answered while new ones were raised. The plot was just as mind-bending as the first book. I loved that just as I thought I knew what was going on, the rug was pulled out from under me! The story kept me engaged from beginning to end. There was also a rich backstory which kept me wanting more. The pacing was spot on, the plot advancing steadily all the way until the end. I finished this book in a matter of days.

That being said, I was expecting there to be more action and more Warcross in this book, similar to the first novel. However, there was a lot of dialogue- very intriguing and plot-advancing dialogue- but still, it was dialogue! Lots of scenes and flashbacks where people sat around a table or stood in a room and just… talked. There were some action scenes later on in the book, especially towards the climax. However, overall I was satisfied with the progression of the plot and the ending in this book.

The Writing

I liked the writing in this book. The descriptions allowed us to envision the virtual world without being overly elaborate. Sometimes it was confusing to me whether we were in the virtual world or the real one but I think that was the desired effect in this book.

I loved the themes in this book: What would happen when the boundary between the real world and virtual reality blurred? Would you exchange free will for a safer world? The story explored the possibilities of artificial intelligence in an imaginative way.

The Bottom Line: 3/5 stars!

Wildcard was a fast-paced roller-coaster-ride of a book with plenty of moments where you go, “Whoa, what just happened?” Despite being a bit dialogue-heavy and the occasional sentimentality on the part of the main character, it was a great finale to this duology.

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What’s your take on Wildcard? Do you like to read dialogues or do you prefer action (or a balance of both?) Would you want to live in a virtual reality world?

25 thoughts on “Wildcard // Testing the boundaries of reality and virtual reality

  1. Marie says:

    Lovely review, Sophie! I’m happy to hear we get to know the characters a bit more in that one, characters are always my weakness haha. Sorry to hear that Emika annoyed you a little bit in the first half of the book, but I guess 3 is still a good rating, so… I’m glad you enjoyed it 😀 I can’t wait to read it:D

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Yes characters are my weakness as well 🙂
      I was a bit annoyed by Emika in this book and I wished that I had reread Warcross before going ahead with this one, then I think I might have been able to relate to Emika. In any case I did enjoy this novel overall though I wouldn’t reread it (hence the 3 🙂 ) hope that you will like this one and looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

    I had to skim through most of this review because I still haven’t started Wildcard myself yet (I know your review is spoiler free for the second book but I try and avoid all reviews for books like Wildcard I’ve been highly anticipating). I’m glad you enjoyed this one, but it seems like it didn’t completely manage to live up to your expectations right? I have been seeing more mixed reviews for this one than not, and it’s definitely a shame there wasn’t as much action as you’d hoped. Still I’m glad the Phoenix Riders got more development, that was something I wanted after I finished the first book! 😀
    Great review. 🙂 ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      No worries, I actually didn’t read any reviews for Wildcard before reading the book since I wanted to keep an open mind. although I liked wildcard in general, I liked Warcross better. Sounds like you are rereading Warcross, which i think is a good idea (in retrospect I should have done this as well!) Looking forward to reading your review of this book 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

        That’s exactly what I do. I find it easier to judge a book for myself rather than based on what other people have judged it on if I avoid reviews. 🙂
        It’s something I’m trying to do starting this year more than any other, actually re-read previous books in a series than try to remember what happened. My memory is terrible so it’s better that way. 🙂 ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sophie Li says:

        Haha yeah I thought I remembered everything that happened during Warcross but it quickly became apparent that this wasn’t the case! I should get into the habit of rereading the initial books in the series when a new one comes out haha xD

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Zoie says:

    Gah your review just made all the excitement I have for reading Wildcard bubble up again! The cover is just as eye-catching as Warcross, and I can’t wait to see for myself how the story and themes of technology vs. reality progresses in the series 😊 Thanks for getting me all hyped up about this book again, Sophie! Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Kat @ Novels & Waffles says:

    I’ve heard lots of people say similar things about Wildcard – that there is a lot more politics involved than straightforward action. And some people have liked it, and some people haven’t. I’m interested in reading it to see how I feel. I didn’t LOVE the first book that much, so we’ll have to see. I’m glad you enjoyed it though! Thanks for a lovely review, by the way. You really articulated your points well 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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