content by

Feliza Casano

Romance vs Ethics: Warcross and Wildcard by Marie Lu

As a longtime fan of Marie Lu—I bought her debut novel Legend on the day it released—I was excited and intrigued by the concept of Warcross, the first novel in this duology. It focuses on Emika Chen’s selection for and participation in the Warcross Championships, an international esports tournament for a game that sounds like a more technologically-advanced version of Overwatch. Yet Warcross, for its focus on innovative technology, was itself not very innovative at all, containing a lot of predictable elements ranging from the romance to the “plot twists” at the end.

With the release of Wildcard, I was interested to see the direction Emika’s story would take, and in many ways, Wildcard is a much better book, though it lacks the action-packed virtual reality sequences that make Warcross fun. Wildcard focuses much more on intrigue, taking Emika and the other members of the Phoenix Riders team on investigations and into thrillingly dangerous situations.

Spoilers for Warcross and Wildcard follow!

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Read This, Watch That: Pairing “School Story” SFF Books and Anime

As a long-time fan of both speculative fiction and anime, one common thread I’ve noticed in both media is the enduring presence of The School Story. Plenty of fantasy readers make their grand entrance to the genre via a school fantasy story; for teens, who spend more time at school than at home, what other setting could tie the fantastic world to mundane reality?

Here are four anime to watch based on the book series you love—or, if you came here looking for books, four book series to read based on your favorite anime!

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Sisterhood at Sea: Natalie C. Parker’s Seafire

Caledonia Styx’s ship, the Mors Navis, is one of the only ships that still sails free from the rule of bloodthirsty warlord Aric Athair and his army of Bullets, who brutalize the coastal settlements and seabound communities alike. The Bullets are not to be trusted: after all, it was a Bullet boy claiming to seek a place on the Mors Navis who talked Caledonia into revealing the Mors Navis’s location, resulting in the death of every person in the crew save Caledonia and her best friend, Pisces, who were ashore on a supply run.

Four years later, Caledonia and Pisces have rebuilt the Mors Navis and recruited a new crew entirely made up of women and girls who have lost their own families and homes to Athair’s raids. The women of the Mors Navis are determined to chip away at Athair’s empire, even if that means taking his navy down ship by ship. But when Pisces brings aboard a runaway Bullet who says he wants to defect, the secret Caledonia’s been keeping for four years threatens to come to light, reopening old wounds and endangering the new family she and Pisces have built.

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