Author: Marie Lu
Series: Warcross #1
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi, Romance
Pub Date: September 12, 2017
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books
Source: ARC from ALAAC 2017
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.
In this sci-fi thriller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu conjures an immersive, exhilarating world where choosing who to trust may be the biggest gamble of all.
AHHHHHHHHHHH A NEW MARIE LU BOOK!!!!!! Warcross is the book I never knew I needed. As soon as the blurb was released, I was basically salivating for the futuristic sci-fi that promised both fun and pain within its pages (it is by Marie Lu, after all).
Before I start, let’s get one thing straight—I looooooooved this book and am still stunned by that wild twist at the end.
Futuristic Tokyo. Spies. Virtual reality games. Morally gray characters. Sound amazing to you? That’s because it 100% is.
Let’s start with the characters (the lovely, lovely characters). Emika is our main character, and I loved being in her head. She was well developed and flawed like any real person. She’s smart and great at hacking, and she knows it. Marie Lu did a great job at making me care for Emika and I was really invested in her mission.
The other characters were just as well developed. Other than Emika, there’s Hideo, the creator of the virtual reality game, Warcross, whose personality is impossible to pin down. If I could describe him in 3 words, it would be A GIANT SNACK. Okay, but in all seriousness, he was an amazing character/love interest and he ranks up there with the Darkling and the Goblin King for characters I will love until the end of time, no matter what horrible things they may do.
This book was spectacular in large part because of the world of Warcross Marie Lu created. I could easily picture Warcross in my head, like a mash-up of all the video games I love to play. If it was a real thing, I would definitely play the game. All of the descriptions made the game come alive, from the colorful power-ups to the shifting landscapes to the virtual black market (aka, the dark web). Reading this book was like popping on some virtual reality glasses and submerging myself fully in the game.
From beginning to the end, I was never bored. I loved the high action moments, like the matches between teams in Warcross and the moments when Emika faced down the antagonist, Zero, but I also loved the slower parts, like the scenes between Hideo and Emika (AHH) and Emika’s detective moments. I will say that the first 50 pages weren’t terribly gripping, but after that 50 page mark, things picked up and they never slowed down.
Speaking of the relationship between Emika and Hideo…AHHHHHHHHHHHHH THIS SHIP WILL BE THE DEATH OF ME I SWEAR TO GOD. Hello, my name is Alex and I enjoy pain because I ship these characters. Hideo is presented as a morally gray, shifty character, so I started off very on my guard, but that guard all but disappeared after the first scene with him. The chemistry between him and Emika is undeniable, and I audibly squealed every time they were together. Just like June and Day from Legend, this is one ship you’ll love to death, even when you shouldn’t/it’s physically painful to do so.
Oh, and in case you’ve heard the rumors…yes, the twist in this book will definitely fracture your soul and leave you a sobbing mess on the floor. After the end of Champion, I knew I should never trust Marie Lu, but I definitely didn’t see the twist coming and I’m usually pretty good at guessing them. There are two twists—one big one, and then one major one that will kill you. I guessed the big one, but not the other one, and that’s why I’m still outraged/tearing up as I (*cough*this might be the secret word for this post*cough*) write this review.
Overall, Warcross was a fun and thrilling sci-fi centered around virtual reality. With expertly crafted characters, a heart-pounding romance and a lifelike world, this is a shining star among YA books new and old. My verdict? This might possibly be Marie Lu’s best book yet, and you’ll definitely fall in love with it, too.