Author: Marie Lu
Series: Warcross #1
Genres: YA Science-Fiction
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.
Penguin has send an ARC of this book to me in an exchange for an honest review.
I’ve been in a bit of a book slump lately (read: the last few months). Not a very big one where I’m unable to get into anything, luckily, but a small one where I can really like a book, but I still have to force myself to actually sit down and read it because sitting on the couch and watching Elementary is a bit more appealing. While reading Warcross, however, I really felt myself looking forward to having some free time so I could go read, which is something I haven’t felt in months. And I think that definitely says a lot.
Like a few people before me have said, Warcross was everything I hoped Ready Player One would be. It has a strong and badass female main character, amazing world building, a plot line that keeps you at the edge of your seat at all times, and mysteries and ethical dilemmas that will keep you hooked until the very end. But the thing that I loved the most was definitely the world.
I’ve been trying to write this paragraph explaining the world a little bit for half an hour now but I just can’t explain it in a way that does it justice. It’s just so, for lack of a better word, awesome. Marie Lu has described everything in this amazingly visual way that enables you to picture everything and just fall in love with it. It’s beyond perfect and I can’t stop thinking about it.
Besides that, I think Marie Lu’s writing overall was incredible. It sucked me in from the start, is perfectly paced and just, again, absolutely incredible. I can’t believe that it took me this long to pick up a Marie Lu book, and I’m definitely starting The Young Elites series soon!
I also really liked the characters. I fell in love with Emika from the start. She’s badass, is incredibly inteligent and has a lot of hacking-skills, she’s independent and stands up for herself, and she’s basically the perfect character. She also goes through a lot of character development throughout the book, and I especially loved seeing how she goes from someone who always works alone, to someone who is finally trusting other people and working with them. The scenes in which she works together with her squad left me cheering and so incredibly happy.
There were only three relatively small things that I didn’t like about this book. 1) The author used the words crazy and insane to describe people or situations multiple times, which is ableist and hurtful, 2) the action-packed scenes often felt chaotic, which is why I had to reread a couple of paragraphs multiple times to understand what was going on, and 3) I personally didn’t care that much for the romance, because Emika was incredibly dependant on Hideo when they started their relationship (Hideo got her her job, her money and her current position) and that made me feel a bit uncomfortable, because I was scared that if Hideo did something that made Emika uncomfortable, she wouldn’t be able to refuse him because of the threat of losing her position/money/job. (Spoilers) This luckily didn’t happen, and Emika was able to stand up to Hideo in the end, but that doesn’t take away the fact that it made me feel very uncomfortable throughout most of the book. I just wish they had waited until they were on a more equal footing before they started dating, but that might just be me.
So overall, even though the book has some small flaws, I loved it a lot! The world is one of the best worlds I’ve ever encountered in a book, and Emika is definitely one of my new favourite characters. I cannot wait until this book is officially published so I can hear everyone screaming about how amazing it is, because I’m sure that that’s going to happen. This book, and this series, are going to be big.
What I want to see in the second book/questions I want answered/theories (this obviously includes spoilers so please don’t read this is you haven’t read the book yet):
- What happened to Sasuke? Was he really kidnapped? Did Hideo have something to do with it? How come that if Sasuke had a Warcross account, Hideo had never been able to find him? Because he’s the Warcross Boss so you’d think that if someone with his name logged in, never mind how secured he is, he’d notice?
- I really hope that Emika doesn’t team up with Hideo or Zero because I just want her and her team fighting and being badass together and just YES
- Also, did anyone else think about how good Hideo’s ‘invention’ would be for people with a mental illness? Like, it could actually help me stop having panic attacks??? SIGN ME UP
- I’m also still on the fence about the ethics of his invention? Like, it does take a bit of our freedom away but if that freedom includes being incredibly violent and murdering people, that might be a good thing? AHH I DON’T KNOW
- But one thing that Hideo said is that the system is reliable because it’s just code and no one controls it but WHAT IF in the second book someone evil starts controlling the code?? And thereby controls all people??
- Okay that scenario just made me think of the Spongebob movie (you know, with the bucket hats) and I SHOULDN’T compare this book to the Spongebob movie
- But I really think that something like that is going to happen because just them going after Hideo would be cool but there’s almost always a twist in books like this?
- But also, what if Zero isn’t really Sasuke but just someone posing as him?? Maybe his kidnapper?
- Maybe one of the people from the Warcross games is involved with this because AGAIN TWIST
- ALso, why did Zero have people involved all over the world? I didn’t really get that? Because he wanted to stop Hideo but he was always in Tokyo and the final game would be played in Tokyo so why have people in different parts of the world?
- Okay this is long enough already I should stop BUT I HAVE SO MANY IDEAS
- Also, am I the only one who ships Emika and Hammie a little??