Reviews & Ramblings

Review & Ramblings. WildCard by Marie Lu

Okay before I start, as always with my review and ramblings posts, this will be riddled with spoilers so if you haven’t read Warcross or Wildcard, look away, get out before everything is ruined!

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Wildcard – Marie Lu

Published September 18th 2018 by Penguin Teen

My GoodReads review is HERE for any of you who want to read a condensed version of this post, or if you want a spoiler free review!

Also please note, there is some mild coarse language in this review.

 

To be completely honest with you, I hardly remembered what happened in Warcross… other than it was awesome… So here I am, starting WildCard and woah is it amazing.

I forgot how much of a bad-arse Emika is, but I think in this book, we see her a little more lonely and isolated, she still has her friends from the Phoenix Riders, but to save the world she has to hurt the one person she cares more about than life itself, only she doesn’t realise that her feelings run that deep. Emika is definitely being put between a rock and a hard place in this book, stuck between doing the right thing and breaking her heart. Stuck between two brothers who are chalk and cheese, one who is doing this for his baby brother, and the other who doesn’t remember his big brother enough to recognise the blood-tie and wants to kill him to make the world a safer place. What a horrible place to have to be, in-between Tanaka’s.

I also love the way that Marie Lu has incorporated the real world into her books and encompassed so well, the Japanese style, cities and way of life. Of course there are some fictional liberties, but I like that if you wanted to, you could go to some of the places mentioned in the book – Even if they looked nothing like the fictional ones… But hey it is still cool!

Marie Lu has done some super incredible world-building in this book. The time it must have taken to plan out the technologies alone would be immense. You go girl! The technology in this series is crazy advanced, but at the same time, how amazing would it be to see the world that way? To have a friend say, I’m here, follow the gold trail to find me, to be able to see your friends in a holographic way while calling them. Of course it has it’s downsides as well, being scored and ranked on every activity you partake in, being controlled remotely by Hideo Tanaka….

YES! Finally some Emika/Hideo time! Yaaas I love them, they complement each other so perfectly!

Also I am loving this Emika/Jax friendship, an honest to heck girl friendship is what Emika is missing, yes she has friends within the Phoenix Rider’s, but Jax has been through some shit, just like Emika has, like Emika and Hideo, Emika and Jax complement each other. Jax has spent her life being manipulated into protecting a woman who is un-ethical, cruel and will do anything in her power to get what she wants. Emika has spent her life running from a childhood that she would do anything to forget and hunting criminals for money to get by. These two crave what the other can give, Emika can give Jax a life without manipulation, one without the constant need for her to kill. Jax can give Emika stability a feeling of protection and a friend who knows what it is like to live a secret life.

Can we all say plot twist? What the actual heck!? What do you mean he died years ago and his mind has been replicated and turned into an AI capable of influencing a suit made of steel!? Can anyone else see what is wrong with this picture! Oh what about poor Hideo!? His whole life work has been for nothing! My heart is literally breaking for him!  What else could possibly happen to this man!

Holy shit. I spoke (well typed) too soon… What the hell is going on! Zero, as well as being the manifested mind of Hideo’s dead brother is also the mastermind behind all of Taylors evil-doings!? I can’t…. He literally manipulated Emika into convincing Hideo to save what little humanity Zero or Sasuke had left, then manipulated Hideo into killing Taylor and then he comes out on top with all of the power, control of the algorithm and control of Hideo and Emika. Shit is getting hectic, and there is under 90 pages left to go.. I’m almost too scared to keep reading.

The last 90 pages sort of blurred together, the pace was incredible, but some of the content, left me feeling a little unsure, like it was rushed and that what happened to the Neurolink wasn’t totally needed. I get that without its destruction and the conversion of Zero into the evil mastermind, then Emika could never redeem herself or find any direction for her future life. Nor could she begin her life with Hideo and start to help him rebuild his business. But it seemed a little fake almost?

All in all, I really enjoyed this book, not as much as Warcross, but I think that is because when you start a new book, the world building is so surreal and amazing, that in the sequel, it isn’t as awe-inspiring. Fantastic writing as always from Lu, great characters, I still love Emika and Hideo. Both of their characters are so multi-faceted, I still feel as though there is more to know about Hideo though… I would love more from his point of view, maybe another book that goes over the time of Warcross and WildCard, that over laps but shows us everything from Hideo’s point of view! I would be down for that!

I am a little disappointed that I didn’t love this as much as Warcross, but I find that happens with most sequels, all the marvel of the world building and technology we learn about in the first book, doesn’t seem as fancy and amazing in the second because we come to expect it.

A great read, definitely a set of characters I would like to see more of.

Have you read WarCross or WildCard? What are your thoughts?

 

Thanks

Julie

 

 

Reviews & Ramblings

Reviews and Ramblings – Nyxia & Nyxia: Unleashed by Scott Reintgen

Before I start, please be aware that this is going to be super spoilery! This is my review of both Nyxia and Nyxia: Unleashed. This post will have links to my original GoodReads reviews if you are interested in those, as well as my ramblings about these books, along the way.

So without further adieu.. lets get started!

Nyxia – Scott Reintgen

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Published 2017 by Crown Books for Young Readers.

The link to My GoodReads review is here if you are interested in my original review.

 

Wow, this book was such a different look at an inter-stellar universe. It had been on my TBR since it came out and I finally got around to reading it.

What originally drew me in, was that the reason these kids get drawn together is because this massive company, known as ‘Babel’ targets them because they come from low socio-economic places. They are kids who were raised in poverty, with nothing, with severe illnesses, kids that have always worked for everything they have, but what they had was never enough. Then this huge company swoops in and offers them millions of dollars, for participating in training for a space adventure.. and what 16-year-old with nothing, would turn that down?

Then things start getting weird. The training that these kids are put through is incredibly specific. Targeted training for what life is like on Eden, for swimming in rough oceans, for running on any and all terrain, for space travel and boat travel. And most importantly, manipulating Nyxia, the substance they are being sent there to mine.

What gets me, it that Babel is definitely untrustworthy, from the moment we learn how these kids are being trained, I had this feeling that they were using them, turning them into soldiers for some purpose other than mining. Why else would they have them fighting each other, to the death, if there were no ulterior motive.. They are pitting these children against each other, scoring them, ranking them and making sure they are constantly battling against each other, in all aspects of their lives aboard the ship.

Then bam… when everything has settled down, they introduce another Genesis team and the battles continue and get harder. But the worst thing is, this second team, Genesis 12, has been trained as exactly that, a team, which leaves Genesis 11 battling against a well oiled machine, when they are still conditioned to be working as individuals.

Babel’s deceptions are so ingrained into the culture of the ship that it is hard to tell deception from truth, but when Emmett and Kaya find an Adamite in the ships hull, things begin to get messy. Everything that the kids knew or thought they knew gets turned three-hundred and sixty degrees, completely confusing them before the biggest moment of their young lives.

Babel well and truly brain washes these kids, they turn them into soldiers, in every sense of the word, then send them up into space… But oh, no, it isn’t that simple. Right before they launch into the atmosphere for the decent into Eden, they are ambushed by past genesis applicants who didn’t make the cut, and are forced to fight to the death for a spot on  Eden. What the actual heck!

This book was fantastic, fast paced, emotionally charged. Well written and engaging. I was constantly asking myself, what the heck is going on? It is a fantastic representation of what big companies can do, that their reach is so great that they have more power than the president or prime-minister. They have their hands in so many pies and have so much financial backing, that the world is literally their oyster. I immediately went and bought Nyxia: Unleashed, I have to know what happens once they reach Eden!

Nyxia: Unleashed

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Published: 2018 by Crown Books for Young Readers.

My review on GoodReads is here if you are interested in my review as well as my ramblings! Extremely spoilery down here, not as much re-telling the story, just my thoughts as I was reading the book.

 

 

Firstly I knew it! I knew Babel were trading Nyxia for babies! This company is so manipulative and have no idea what it is like to be truly human. The fact that they were willing to train up and convince a group of teenagers that they were going to a new planet to be miners and become millionaires, when in reality they were being sent to be miners and population savers. Off you go kids,  go make us millions of dollars while being used to re-populate a dying alien race!

The Imago (Not Adamite’s like Babel calls them) seem like, honest people. A little too into playing games but they seem to genuinely want what is best for their people. That being said, the way they treat their returned soldiers and poor people leaves little to be desired.

Speaker – this guy is a champion. I am a little worried he might double cross the gang at some point, because he just seems too good to be true, but fingers crossed he remains the overall good guy we are shown so far. He is like the Imago father figure that Emmett so desperately needed, a male figure who was in his court, to remind him of who he is.

Morning and Emmett – come on, as if you don’t ship them!? Yes Emmett and Kaya were super cute too but without Emmett losing Kaya, he wouldn’t be on the path he is now. He also wouldn’t have developed as a character, mentally he has grown intuitively into who he needs to be to protect his new family. Morning makes Emmett who he is, she gives him the courage to accept that others rely on him, that he is a leading figure. She makes him able to come to terms with the horror that they have been thrown into, she makes him strong, and in some ways he makes her weak.

This book shows us, in incredible fictional ways, that life isn’t always what you expect it to be. Even the most obvious agreements can have underlying falsehoods. We learn that people will always do what they need to, to survive. That desperate people will kill others to get ahead. I guess this is human nature, all fiction is based on these elements because we see it in real life, on the news every day.

What I love about this book is the raw honesty. It is gritty and vivid and doesn’t shy away from confronting imagery or controversial subjects. I also enjoy how Morning can have a male best friend and Emmett doesn’t lose his mind over it. Why is that kids? Because he trusts Morning. Boom. Minds blown. I know right. Who would have thought (apologies for my sarcasm… but not really though).

What an impossible position it is to put 16-year-old children in. Train them to be combat ready soldiers and dump them in a new planet… I do keep forgetting that they are so young. In my mind they are all in their early to mid 20s. The expectation Babel has that they will mine Nyxia, battle and kill Imagos and repopulate the planet is an incredibly difficult pill to swallow.

Finally, our Genesis crew make a deal with the Imago, to destroy Babel before they destroy the Imago and their planet. It all sounds amazing, the plan sounds fool proof and like finally the good guys are going to get a win, and bam, Babel is there for an ambush. How did they know where the Genesis and Imago would be!? Who is the traitor? We will have to wait for the third book to find out!

I loved the final chapter, mostly because Reintgen worked out what his readers needed, we needed to know that Genesis team was okay on Magnia (Eden), but he knew we also needed a win, even if it was a tiny one. And taking us back up to the Babel ship and showing us that Anton and Erone were kicking some serious but was just what I needed to lift the heavy sense of dread and death after the battle on Magnia.

This book was just as incredible as the first, I am literally dying because there is such a long wait until the third book comes out, and I need it now.. actually I needed it yesterday, so I could be reading it now… Well written with a writing style that makes you want to read on, incredibly diverse and interesting characters, each with their own back story, flaws and personalities that you grow to love (even the ones you think you hate).

I can’t wait to see how this trilogy (or Triad), wraps up. And finally, a little quote from my boy Emmett, who definitely sums up my feels for the final novel….

“Babel will burn: – Emmett Atwater.

 

Thanks

Julie