Wildcard is the follow up to Warcross. I don’t want to say too much because it might get a little spoily…

Wildcard and Warcoss are cyber punk books. I’m never really sure if the setting is in the future or just an alternate timeline of the present. Anyhow, the setting is our world (in Tokyo) but with huge jump in technology. A set of contact lenses can take you into a whole other cyber world where you can project other peoples faces over your own to protect your identity, or overlay a map over what you are seeing right in front of you, no more constantly looking at your phone or car display for GPS, now there is an arrow line in real time right in front of you. If someone speaks another language letters pop up right in your line of view to translate for you in real time. All very nice and convenient….or is it? With the next step in technology coming out soon is where Emi comes into play… or does she?

The first book is where Emika is introduced and we find out her awesome hacker skills as she is commissioned to find someone who is hacking into Warcross games. These games are like VR, but with lots of people and the worlds are very elaborate. The games are basically capture the flag, but in a very crazy cool way.

Book two is different. Now she is trying to figure out a mystery between her love interest in the first book and his brother (?) in the second book. Which side will she take (you’ll have to read the book).

BUT…even though I loved this book and read it super fast, there were some glaring problems in this book (can I still love a book that has huge problems and even bigger plot holes…YES!!!)

First off of disappointments is Emika. To me she was okay in the first book, a bit naive, making bad decisions, but okay. In this book any personality she had in the first book was stripped away. The only time her character came to life was when she was with the man she loved, other than that she was an empty vessel for us to watch the story unfold though. It was such a huge disappointment and let down.

Not only is she a huge wet noodle her lack of doing anything really annoyed me…so much! She has a huge dilemma in figuring out what is going on, who is telling the truth, and who to trust, but she never seems to be able to make up her mind! She believes everything everyone says to her. Does everything they ask her to and hardly worries what consequences await her. This was so bad!!!! I wanted to punch her through the book a few times and ask her if she even cares about anything or is just amused about the plot without any opinions of her own. WET NOODLE!

Second, the plot holes were glaring!!! Glaring!!! They were so bad!!! If I had those plot holes in my writing I’d be embarrassed. And I might because I don’t have an editor and I’m not a NY Times best seller like Marie Lu did. BUT how in the world did these problems get through so many rounds of editing and not get addressed???? It was awful!

****Possible spoiler ahead****

Here is an example of what I’m talking about. Emi witnesses someone being shot point blank in the head. Well, later come to find out that he was only grazed in the head which sent him to the hospital where he barely made it out alive by a trained assassin, who is supposed to be superior to all the other assassins right in front of the people who wanted her to do it. I don’t care how great this assassin is there is no way this makes any sense.

On top of that she witnesses this from another room (through glass windows) and yet, later on, she says she can still smell the blood of that shot in a memory. How does that even work….at all??? There are other plot holes too, but you’ll have to read it yourself to find them.

Third, there was so, so, so much telling and not enough doing. Emi seemed almost omnipresent knowing exactly what people’s motives were or why they acted the way they did without actually interacting with the people enough to actually know those things. Telling, telling, telling….why God, why?

BUT, the best part of the book is the plot. In fact I’d say this story deviates from the fist book in that this book is completely plot driven. If it wasn’t for the plot this book would have been garbage. But it’s so interesting it kept me going and seeing past all the disappointments of the book and I ended up really liking it.

At one point I felt like it went from cyber to punk to full on sci-fi. It was a twist that really blew my mind and I didn’t see it coming at all!!! AT ALL!!! And it made the story so much better.

So, I recommend reading this book even though it’s not as great as the first. It’s still a fascinating read.


People of Sparks

People of Sparks is the sequel to City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau. After Lina and Doon escape Ember now they are above the surface and they are surprisingly not alone. There is a whole city built on the land they were trapped under. It’s not a city like you’d find today. The war still effected them, but all human civilization did not expire. They are without electricity and modern advancements though.

Now both civilizations have to work together to figure out how to co-exist. It’s not easy and this is what most of the book is about. Both sides accusing each other of mishaps which no one knows for sure what is going on.

I liked this book. It’s a much better sequel than Gathering Blue was for the Giver, but it did lack similar elements that I fell in love with City of Ember for. Lina and Doon split up on different personal missions for some of the book. Which I like them working together more they made a great duo. And it felt like their characters were watered down in this book. I’m not sure if it’s because they weren’t able to bounce ideas and personalities off each other or what, but the characters just weren’t as strong in this one.

With that said it’s still a good book and I enjoyed it. Great middle grade read.