Series: Warcross #1
Author: Marie Lu
Genre: YA, Science Fiction
Published: September 12th, 2017 (G. P. Putnam’s Sons Books For Young Readers)
Synopsis: 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 Warcross players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. 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.
“Every locked door has a key. Every problem has a solution.”
Teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down criminals who bet illegally on the virtual reality game Warcross, that has become a way of life around the world. Struggling to pay her bills, she takes a huge risk and hacks into the opening ceremony of the International Warcross Championships, hoping to snag some valuable power ups she can sell, but it goes wrong and she ends up accidentally glitching herself into the game in front of countless spectators. Emika is certain she’s about to be in a lot of trouble, but to her surprise, Hideo Tanaka, the creator of the game, wants to hire her to be a spy inside the tournament to catch a hacker who has been tampering with Warcross. But her search turns into something far more dangerous as she works to unravel a plot that will have major repercussions not only across the world of Warcross, but perhaps extending into the real world as well.
“Everything’s science fiction until someone makes it science fact.”
It’s hard to explain just how much I loved this book, but I’ll probably be rereading it yet again soon enough which should say something. My knowledge of video games is pretty much nil, but the advanced technology and the very concept of Warcross was undoubtedly my favourite aspect of the whole thing and it just made my inner engineer so happy. Science fiction is usually a hit or miss genre for me, but I think the reason why I liked this one so much was that this level of technology, though highly futuristic, is not that far-fetched of a possibility. The description of the locations and arenas in the game were so vivid and immersive and it’s very easy to get swept along by this tale. That Warcross is so magical, yet somehow still logical is what really made this book work for me.
Emika is a really great narrator and to put it simply, cool. Reading from her POV was so much fun! She is a character that is easy to relate to, and her willingness to stand up for what she believes in makes her a strong protagonist. Now Hideo on the other hand, is actually much more interesting, not to mention mysterious! I was constantly second-guessing his motives, and somehow still ended up being completely shocked at the plot twist. Their slow burn romance was something I wasn’t too sure about, but surprisingly enough, I ended up enjoying it. I would have really loved to see a little more character development outside of Emika and Hideo though. The side characters, the Phoenix Riders in particular, all sounded so interesting, and I was hoping to get to know more about them. Warcross has been compared a lot to Ready, Player One, but apart from some similarity in the aspect of the game, I would say these are poles apart, especially when you start considering the plot, characters, and of course, the nature of the driving conflict in the story.
Let’s be honest, I was so caught up in the story that I never saw that ending coming, and the way things left off sets this up for what promises to be a fantastic sequel. Overall, this was absolutely phenomenal, a completely captivating, action-packed read that was impossible to put down. If you ever find yourself in a reading slump, read this – it’s worked for me the last three times. Highly, highly recommended!
Have you read this book? Let me know in the comments below!
Other reviews in this series:
Book 2: Wildcard