- Released Date: September 12, 2017
- Page Count: 416 pages
- My Rating: 5 stars
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.
THIS IS OFFICIALLY THE BOOK OF 2017 THAT I AM SHOVING AT EVERYONE. No matter what your age or what genre you normally read – IT IS AMAZING. I haven’t been this into a book in sooooo long. Oh my goodness. It was perfect. Like I have 0 complaints and just a lot of fangirling gifs to unleash on y’all because Marie Lu is a genius. (And btw this book will survive ANY level of hype. Nothing could ever be enough).
This review took me a few weeks to get to because I can’t really even begin to explain the absolutely brilliant game that is Warcross. I’ll just say that I’m not usually into anything that feels too sci-fi or futuristic, yet was SO into this. I need the sequel asap. Marie created an incredible and colorful high-tech world that feels so imaginative but still entirely possible! Like I got done reading and wanted to go find some Warcross glasses/contacts and run through one of those virtual worlds (the snowy one was my favorite obvs). The idea that the team captain was in a fancy wheelchair in real life but still got to run around as his Warcross avatar made me so happy (just the sense of infinite possibility and not having real-world physical limitations for a short time).
But seriously, I don’t even know what to gush about first. The BRILLIANT plot? The writing? My extreme love for Hideo? How Emika is one of my new favorite characters… yesss, we shall start with Emika. She’s a badass former foster kid/college dropout with rainbow hair, tattoos, a skateboard, and a really well-developed backstory. She uses her hacking skills to work as a bounty hunter and manipulate the virtual worlds of Warcross. One day she’s about to get evicted from her apartment because she can’t pay her rent, but stuff happens and suddenly she’s being flown to the Wardraft to compete in the championship tournament as a wild card. But that’s her employer’s cover for her because she’s actually there as a spy/hidden weapon to uncover a dangerous plot with her awesome skills and I WON’T SAY MORE BUT OMG.
Plus, I really loved how everything about Emika was conveyed by doing instead of just telling the reader she’s tough or talented. Marie Lu is such a gifted author. I haven’t read Legend yet, but I enjoyed The Young Elites. This book is at a whole new level, though! I don’t know how to explain why this worked so well for me other than this fashion analogy: you know how when some people wear a super elaborate dress it just looks like it’s wearing them? This story was so much more than its awesome elements. It was character-driven and everything worked together to create a bigger picture that was way more than just the individual parts. I don’t know how to explain better ughhh moving on…
Another part I loved was how international everything felt. I adore the Olympics and this had a similar exciting atmosphere & scope (except bigger). Most of the story takes place in Tokyo, but there are players representing countries from around the world. And I loved all of the side characters! I’m really looking forward to seeing more of them in the sequel.
But omg HIDEO IS EVERYTHING. He invented Warcross when he was young and is all sorts of smart, rich, and dresses well. He’s Japanese and has a British accent since he went to school in England. The romance was just really well paced because I am 100% invested in what happens between these 2 characters.
Except… ok this is all I will say: Emika’s choices towards the end had me like
Anyways, Leigh Bardugo fans will love this (because of reasons). And I also think Harry Potter fans will because of the sense of a loner who finds a group of people they belong with in a super creative world.
I called one plot twist early on, but that didn’t make the reveal any less awesome. And I did NOT expect the other twist! I mean, I was into the whole book but THAT ENDING (!!!!) took my enthusiasm to a whole new level. I am still freaking out. The writing here really was fabulous and I am just so happy this book exists. I went into it thinking it was about some kind of dystopian video game and ended up being like
Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC.