Just in time to be tortured by the upcoming yet still too far away release of the sequel Wildcard, I have FINALLY read/listened to Wildcard by Marie Lu. I wanted to try out an Audible subscription and this was the first book I picked out with the free 2 audiobook credits they give you. I want to listen to the other 2 audiobooks I got from audible before I do a full blog post about the audiobook experience but I can say I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed listening to this book. Links to the book at the bottom!
Series: Warcross (Duology)
Author: Marie Lu
Audiobook Narrator: Nancy Wu
Audiobook length: 11 hours & 46 mins
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Release Date: September 12, 2017
My Rating: 4.2/5 Stars! (Rounded down to 4 stars on Goodreads)
For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.
Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.
Emika Chan is a skilled hacker whose skills are going to waste chasing criminals as a bounty hunter through the streets of New York. That is until, desperate to make rent, She gets caught hacking into a very public game of Warcross but instead of going to jail she gets offered a job. Help the Warcross CEO and her Idol catch the elusive hacker “Zero” and she will never have to worry about money again. But Zero proves to be harder to catch than your average street criminal and the stakes only get higher as she closes in on him.
Characters: 3.5/5 Stars! I liked the main character. I am not sure whether I am influenced by the Narrator and that makes me like her more than I would have without the accompanying voice. I found the characters a bit undeveloped. I don’t want to spoil anything but I felt like Hideo’s character was a bit random in certain parts. I felt like there should have been a little bit more connecting him and his actions/mindset. I felt like Emika lacked a little bit of character for the main character. In the beginning, I really identified with her struggle, having dealt with a lot of the same things on a smaller scale (losing a parent and struggling to make rent in NYC) but I felt like after the beginning she lost some character. With her struggles gone, she lost a lot of her personality except when there was action. And the rest of the characters didn’t really show up for me until randomly at the end but I will explain more of that in the relationships category.
Setting: 5/5 Stars! I am from New York City and Tokyo is one of the places I would love to travel too so I may be biased with how much I liked the setting of the books. I loved her descriptions of what I am calling “VR Tokyo”. Warcross also features “in-game” worlds that are described very well and add to the books setting.
Plot: 4.5/5 Stars! I loved the plot. There was a plot twist! Which I am always a big fan of and especially because I was totally unprepared for what happened. The reason I took off half a point was that I felt like there could have been a little bit more foreshadowing or development to get to the end. It was slightly more of a twist then I consider normal. It felt like many parts came out of nowhere. I enjoyed how it ended though I found it random.
Relationships: 3/5 So I know this seems harsh but let me explain. I didn’t find any of the relationships developed enough. The romance was a bit of instant love, with I don’t usually mind but It was also kind of boring. Also with how the romantic relationship was at the end of the book, I didn’t find there was enough build up. My biggest problem with the relationships in the book is that the friendships felt forced to me in a way. She ditches her friend/roommate in the beginning and doesn’t talk to her again in the book. The relationships once she got to Tokyo almost didn’t exist until the end and then suddenly were risking everything to help her. She pretty much ditches her team every chance she gets when they aren’t practicing. There wasn’t any time where she really spends time with them or builds a relationship with them so its weird to me how fast they are suddenly backing her up and risking things with very little reason why. I also don’t understand Zero’s true motives, I am sure it will be addressed in the last book but right now it just feels like a lot of horrible stuff could have been stopped before they ever happened had someone learned to pick up a damn phone and said, “Wassup?”
Narrator: 5/5 Stars! I thought Nancy Wu did an amazing job of voicing Emika. She really helped me connect to the story. I was skeptical about listening to a book being read to me vs. the story being read with my own mental voice but I had an easy time getting engulfed into the world of Warcross while doing work and going for walks thanks to Nancy Wu’s narration.
Like it? Love it? Hate it? Upon first finishing it, I loved it! I still am SUPER excited for the sequel. I think I have cooled to a strong like.
Critiques? Disappointments? Haha. I am hoping the second book comes with better relationships development but the flaws I found in it didn’t stop me from enjoying the story and the audiobook.
Conclusion: Definitely a good read! Although the audiobook was long, the story felt too short. I found it worth the read!
Should you read it? Yes! The world of Warcross was so interesting. It is Science Fiction but you don’t need any Science knowledge or to be familiar with Sci-Fi writing to enjoy it. The gameplay was written very well and It was in no way boring. If you are on the fence, I say read it!
I listened to this book via audible. Should you want to buy the book or try out a free month of an audible subscription, I will put the links. I am not officially sponsored but they are affiliate links you can use to no extra cost to you. So if you use them, Thanks! If not, That is totally fine!
This is the link to try the free 30 days. You get 2 book credits, once you spend the credits on 2 books, you can keep the books even if you don’t want to continue the subscription. After the 30 days, it is $15 a month for 1 credit a month and 30% off extra books. Easy cancelation, you can skip a month or several months and easily resubscribe if you want to later.
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