During my December of reading, I especially enjoyed Marie Lu’s Warcross and Wildcard, a YA/SF duology set in a near future in which a full sensory video game has become central to daily life for most people on the planet. There are some threads that relate to ideas I explore in my own YA/SF work-in-progress but fortunately different enough that I could feel nothing but delight in being caught up in this fast-paced adventure.
I consumed each of these books in a day, a flash back to days in my youth lost in reading. I plan to read more of her books. I found myself comparing her books to a series that was very popular a few years ago—I won’t name it because I am about to criticize it slightly, and I promised earlier in my blog to share praise of other writers not critiques because writing is hard enough. For what it’s worth, I enjoyed the other YA/SF series, but I recall noticing how the protagonists raced into situations of high drama and conflict. It made for a quick read, yes, but I sometimes had trouble understanding why the protagonists were doing what they were doing. I read the entire series quickly, so I think the tight pacing still worked, but there were definitely moments when I felt as if I was riding in a car with someone driving super fast for no apparent reason.
All of this is a long way to say that was NOT my experience with these two books. Lu had a plot that kept my attention with plenty of drama, but she also wove in the insights I needed to care about the characters. I never wanted to tell the driver to slow down. Because I cared, I was cheering the protagonist on, urging her to push the gas pedal whenever she could.
Image is screenshot from Kindle cover.