Book Review: Warcross by Marie Lu

Posted September 7, 2017 by Kara in book review, Kara / 1 Comment

Book Review: Warcross by Marie LuWarcross by Marie Lu
Series: Warcross #1
on September 12th 2017
Genres: young adult, science fiction
Pages: 416
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu—when a game called Warcross takes the world by storm, one girl hacks her way into its dangerous depths.
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.

I am a very, very picky reader. As the years go by and I continue to blog and read more than the average reader, I get even more picky. That’s why, when I read a book I really love that makes me forget about the world around me, I reward that book with a coveted 5 star rating. Warcross is only the second book this year to earn that rating. I know you are wanting to know what the first was, and it’s Words In Deep Blue by Cath Crowley. My full review for that book is not out yet because the book isn’t being published until early June, but you will be able to read it soon.

Anyway, back to Warcross. I adored everything about this book, but the thing I loved most was the romance. And if you know my reading preferences enough, you know that I almost NEVER read for romance. I didn’t read this for the romance either, but it caught me by surprise so much that it’s the thing that sticks out the most to me. It’s a slow burn, steamy, romantic ship between Emika Chen, the bounty hunter that glitches into the opening Warcross game of the tounament, and Hideo Tanaka, the creator of Warcross, and CEO of Henka Games. It’s a rags to riches story for Emika Chen, who was days from being evicted from her dumpy studio apartment until she glitches into the game and is caught. She’s hired by Tanaka to hunt for a cyber criminal (named Zero) that is sabotaging and glitching into Warcross games. Hideo pays her apartment up for the year, brings her to Tokyo, and spoils her with riches and enters her into the Warcross tournament as a Wildcard.

I am reading a lot of science fiction right now, and Warcross really satisfied my craving for a great SF novel. The gaming aspects were done really well, as were the inventions the author created. I can actually see similar technology being used in the future, so the world-building was super believable, which always helps. The is one invention where foreign languages are translated and into English so Emika can understand, and then Emika speaks in English and it’s translated into her conversation partner’s language so they can understand. In this way, Emika can literally speak to and understand everyone, as long as the language is stored in the the device. It’s absolutely brilliant and you KNOW an invention like this is coming someday once translations get accurate enough.

The writing was excellent and atmospheric, as was the pacing and storytelling. The characters were diverse, and the book kept me delightfully engaged with its tension and conflict. I’m not sure how many books this series will be, but I am intrigued to see how this story develops because the ending completely caught me by surprise. I knew almost wright away who Zero was, but there were other things about the ending that I didn’t see coming. I loved how it ended though, even though I was a bit frustrated.

There have been books about virtual gaming before, but none so well done as this. Though Insignia by SJ Kincaid was really well done too. I wish a little more time would have been spent on getting to know the characters, but I know that will happen in future installments. I think this is the type of series that is going to make readers think the more and more it goes on. It really raises some important points on free will and lawmaking, and morality. I’m interested to see where the author takes it.

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