Wildcard: Warcross, Book 2

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
Wildcard: Warcross, Book 2 Book Poster Image
Emika steers cyberpunk thriller duology to exciting finish.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 6 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Explores how video games and social media might evolve in the near future. Deals with issues of privacy, surveillance, free will.

Positive Messages

Seemingly insurmountable circumstances can often be solved through teamwork. People need to be free to make their own choices and face the consequences.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Emika Chen is smart, resourceful, brave, highly competent. A bounty hunter, she uses her hacking skills against criminals. She's motivated yet impulsive, sometimes finds herself in over her head.


Most of the action takes place in the virtual world, but characters are still in physical danger. One of Emika's teammates is seriously wounded by gunfire.


Emika and Hideo spend an evening together in bed and make love, with some light description of their early foreplay.


"Hell" and "damn" used more than a dozen times each, with fewer instances of "s--t," "bulls--t," and "ass."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Wildcard is the sequel to Warcross by Marie Lu (The Young Elites, Legend). A futuristic cyberthriller, it features real-world and online mayhem, including gunfights and hand-to-hand combat (although with little actual bloodshed). Sexual content includes a scene in which Emika and Hideo spend the night together and make love. Strong language includes frequent use of "hell" and "damn" and occasional use of "ass," "s--t," and "bulls--t."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 3-year-old Written bylostintomes December 4, 2018

A decent, satisfying conclusion.

3.5 Stars

CONTENT NOTES - There is some language like in the first book, a little violence and one "fade-to-black" sex scene. Nothing very noteworth... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bytheladyawesome April 25, 2019

The action-lacking sequel is too full of deus ex machina

I think it’s safe to say that I feel underwhelmed. I mean, it’s over 300 pages and I finished it the day I checked it out, but I expected more from Marie Lu. Mo... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bydragongirl_06 February 19, 2021

Not what I expected

I kept my expectations low. I tried to not even read it and just read a synopsis/summary, because I was worried I'd be dissapointed.
Boy, was I wrong.
If I... Continue reading

What's the story?

Having barely survived the Warcross Championships, Emika Chen must handle a new threat. The man she loves, Hideo Tanaka, unleashes a new NeuroLink algorithm that turns everyone's virtual reality glasses into mind-control machines. Determined to stop him, Emika enlists the help of her Phoenix Rider teammates, only to learn that someone has put a bounty on her head. On the streets of Tokyo and in the digital world, she seeks clues to the central mystery of Hideo's life: the unsolved kidnapping of his beloved younger brother.

Is it any good?

Cyberpunk thrillers sometimes suffer from "no-rules-apply" stories, but this exciting sci-fi novel gives readers characters to root for in deadly situations that at least attempt to make sense. Wildcard raises its stakes right from the beginning, and author Marie Lu orchestrates a couple of jaw-dropping plot turns. Emotionally and physically fearless, Emika is a complex protagonist, and Lu excels at revealing her interior life. Some of the fight scenes go on too long, but readers who enjoyed Warcross will be satisfied by the breakneck conclusion to the saga. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Wildcard depicts the future uses of virtual reality. What are the dangers and benefits of immersive digital environments?

  • What might happen if everyone's mind were programmed to obey the same laws and follow the same rules? Why is the concept of free will important to society?

  • Is it possible to love a person who does bad things? 

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love science fiction and thrillers

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate