Author: Marie Lu
Published: September 14th 2017
Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟
For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game – it’s a way of life. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. 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 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. 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.
Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review!
After reading the Legend trilogy years ago, I always thought Marie Lu could have written an entire book based on the concept of the futuristic Antarctica and Ross City. This is that book. Virtual reality is something I find incredibly fascinating, and the world of Warcross is equally captivating without dumping too many unfamiliar gaming terms on those of us who rarely play them.
Despite this, I did think the book was overly descriptive and repetitive at times. For example, the protagonist – Emika Chen – has rainbow coloured hair (which is cool!) but this is mentioned every time she talks about her locks (which is not cool.) Pacing wise, it was also very slow to begin with and I only really got into it around the halfway mark when Emika was on her secret mission to hunt the hacker.
Emika was very likeable as a protagonist, though I wasn’t particularly keen on her romantic storyline as I found Hideo to be borderline creepy, especially at the start of the novel. However, the rest of the characters were such a delight and I absolutely adored the team spirit of the Phoenix Riders. Many of the characters are people of colour and the Phoenix Riders team captain uses a wheelchair. Not to mention, I squealed when a hijabi player appeared in one of the games. That’s the beautiful thing about Warcross. Like any sport, it brings people together regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, nationality, sexuality, ability or race. The most highly ranked players of the game hail from many different countries, despite the majority of the book taking place in New York and Tokyo, and I really loved how this element was integrated into the story.
Overall, I highly enjoyed this. A combination of great world-building, great characters and a great storyline ultimately make up for the sluggish start. Though some of the plot twists were quite predictable, I now feel like they were done intentionally so you don’t start thinking too early about THE ENDING. Marie Lu may not play with demons but she sure does play with your emotions.