Author: Marie Lu
Publication Date: September 12, 2017
Page Length: 353 pages
My Rating: 5 / 5 stars
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.
Wow. How can I even begin to describe this book? This book absolutely blew me away with how much I loved it. Warcross is nothing like Marie Lu’s previous books, and brings us into a world where the people around the world are all hooked into one game that has become a way of life – both providing a virtual reality and an escape for those looking for one.
Emika Chen has few dollars left in her name, her rent is late, and she’s having no luck lately as a bounty hunter. The eviction notice outside her apartment is a constant reminder that she’ll be kicked out by the end of the week if she doesn’t come up with some money. And fast. It’s the night of the Warcross opening ceremonies and in the opening game, Emika takes a risk to hack into the game to make some quick cash, but winds up glitching into the game. The creator of Warcross, and the glasses that allows its users to hook into the system, is nothing short of a genius. He’s in his early twenties and created everything they know today when he was only in his teens. Hideo Tanaka is a mysterious guy who’s in the tabloids often, but does anyone really know the suit-wearing, rarely smiling guy behind the devices that have changed the world?
Emika is hired by Hideo to catch whoever might be exposing Warcross’ security vulnerabilities and hacking into their network. The hacker is smart and only Emika might have a chance of catching him during the Warcross games. This is where Emika is entered into the competition as a wild card player, untried and untested in the international levels of gaming, and finds herself swept into a game that far exceeds the Warcross competition.
I initially wasn’t all that sold on the book? I’m just not into gaming at all, so I was worried about whether or not I would be able to “get” this book, but I absolutely fell in love with the story and the concept behind everything. The world-building is informative in a way that’s immersive and never bogs you down with too much information. The gaming aspect is very fast-paced and it should come with a warning: IMPOSSIBLE TO FIND A STOPPING POINT. Once the Warcross games start, it’s pretty much full speed until the end from there.
I loved that we have a book that has a Chinese-American character who specializes in hacking. Emika is a bit star-struck when she meets her idol, Hideo, and even I’m swooning over Hideo. She’s fast on her feet after all those years living on the streets, and smart enough to give the enemy hacker a run for their money. We have a very diverse cast of characters in this book, and I loved how we get to meet each character how the teams are set up for the competition. It’s definitely shown as a mix of cultures and language is no barrier with their VR glasses. Also, a random Easter egg? But there’s a character, the team captain Asher, is the younger brother to an actor and stuntsman named DANIEL BATU WING. It appears that this series is set 80 years before the Legend series (from Marie’s tour), so is he/how is he related to Daniel Altan Wing of the Legend trilogy? WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? I NEED ANSWERS. And a subtle thing I noticed in this book is that the female is the default. For example, we’re so used to default unknowns to “he” pronouns, that it was a nice change to see a book default to using “she” pronouns.
The book is hilarious at points with the flirting, and the ending took me by surprise. This book is full of feels that will make your heart ache one minute, and leave you giggling the next. Some parts I guessed, but it’s still a shocker enough that I need the next book now. *sobs*
This is undoubtably my favorite Marie Lu book and I cannot wait to read book two!
***Thanks to Penguin Random House for providing an ARC of this book***