Hey all, Dani here.
Happy Book Birthday to Marie Lu for the release of her newest book, which I thankfully was able to read early (though not too early due to life changes and a pseudo reading slump). Anyway, today I am so happy to be posting up a review to this book. Oh, and it should be said that I received a signed copy of Warcross this year while at BookExpo, but that does not affect my rating or review at all. In fact, this is the first Marie Lu book I’ve finished–I only made it a few chapters into Legend, and I’ve read about half of The Young Elites. I do plan on finishing TYE…I just got distracted by other books.
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.
Rating: 4.5 stars
I was craving something with Ready Player One vibes and this book delivered for me, which was awesome. But it delivered in a different way and I liked that because I didn’t want to read the same book or be let down by expecting it to be more similar. Both stories do follow a young person who get involved with a hunt in a virtual reality space, though Wade is on a scavenger hunt and Emika is a bounty hunter looking for someone known as Zero.
The cover design really begins to make sense as Emika gets to Tokyo and while wearing the glasses or lenses sees a kaleidoscope of colors, so that made me appreciate the cover even more. (And really, I can’t wait to see what the cover actually looks like on a finished copy. I’ll be buying one of those soon).
What was interesting to me was that the other Warcross competitors were high level players and many judged Emika because she’s listed as being much lower at level 28. But since they don’t know that she is a hacker and bounty hunter who logs far more hours into a dark account not linked to her personal details, many of them seem to underestimate her.
There were times where I was getting a tiny bit lost as they were describing actions in Warcross, or talking about different worlds in the different levels and such, but that was okay because we are reading the book from Emika’s point of view and she was just as clueless since she had never focused that much on the game.
I liked Asher and Hamilton and Roshan and Hideo. Ash, Hammie, and Roshan were cool veteran Warcross players and great teammates, and I liked how they each had their own skills but that they also knew how to use the strengths of others and how to utilize those for better results as a team. The Warcross training was interesting, and also sounded exhausting.
Hideo was not your typical billionaire businessman, and it was really cool to see how he handled his company and his technology. The fact that he upgraded the glasses used for Warcross so they could be contact lenses instead, and then shipped out countless boxes of them to people for free makes him a character I wanted to know more about. And of course you can’t miss the clear attraction between him and Emika.
Then there was Ren, and from the beginning it felt like there was something off about him. But that got me thinking and wondering, and then I wondered if this would be set up as yet another YA love triangle. Thankfully that doesn’t really seem to be the case. And anyway, I think Emika and Hideo are a cute couple.
As Emika investigates her teammates as well as other Warcross competitors she gets led down a path that reveals a lot more and things get more chaotic and a bit more dangerous.
I’m not going to say much more, but I will say that I’m glad I read this book and I look forward to reading the sequel. Because man, the ending of this book was great, and now I have to wait like a year to get the sequel. Of course, I guess I can always go back and finish The Young Elites while I wait.