“Warcross” by Marie Lu
Description: “For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.
Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.”
Review: I’m going to start off by saying that I’m a huge Marie Lu fan. Not only is she a phenomenal writer but she’s also really nice! I had the pleasure of meeting her at BEA and receiving an advanced signed copy of “Warcross.”
I was a little nervous when I first started reading the book because right off the bat it seemed like a mix of “Ready Player One,” “Ender’s Game,” and “Feed.” While this book uses ideas found in other stories it is still original and stands out. What is there not to love about virtual reality, hackers and spies?? Side note – I think this book would make a great movie!
The technology in the story is very realistic and something I can envision in the not so distant future (think Google Glasses but even better). I loved the realistic nature of the technology, the complexities of the dark web and the combat Warcross game. This book really shows how much Marie Lu knows and loves video games.
I also enjoyed all of the characters (even the villains)! The characters are so diverse, unique and complex. You can’t help but feel invested in everyone you meet, even if it is only for a chapter (such as the roommate we never hear from again).
While I enjoyed the majority of the book I wasn’t the biggest fan of the romance brewing between Emika and Hideo. Hideo is a young genius billionaire who can have anything or anyone he desires and he picks Emika, a penniless small criminal. I had no problem with them developing a relationship but more so of how quickly it blossomed. They seem to go from cordially speaking to make out to sharing all of their secrets very quickly. It all seemed a little overblown (but then again that all had to happen within 350 pages).
There are also some unanswered questions (besides the obvious cliff hanger at the end) that I am hoping will be address in the next book. Many of the characters on Emika’s team seem to have wonderful back stories that are only vaguely hinted at. I’m hoping in the next book that we learn more about them.
This book is fast pace and action packed, you can’t help but get lost in it. Fans of dystopian, video games and science fiction will really enjoy this book! I can’t wait for the next one in the series!