Book Title: Warcross
Author: Marie Lu
REVIEWED BY: CHELSEA
Series: Warcross #1
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopian
Pub Date: 09/12/17
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.
Think. You can solve this. This will not be your life. You are not destined to stay here forever. You are not your father.
This is easily the most brilliant, exciting, and action packed novel I’ve read in 2017. If I wasn’t a
responsible adult, I would have blown through this in a single sitting. I’ll admit, I had seen talk of Warcross filling my feed here for well over six months prior to it’s release date, but was a bit skeptical. Reading the blurb gave me a feeling of “been there, done that more times than I can count”, but I was so intrigued by the consistently high ratings that my curiosity stayed piqued. After attending the Goodreads Summit in October and several friends gushing over it being their favorite book of the year, I knew it was time to pick it up and see what all the fuss is about. I am so delighted that I listened to the experts, because this was truly a favorite read of mine for many reasons.
Warcross was pretty simple: two teams battled each other, one trying to take the other team’s Artifact (a shiny gem) without losing their own. What made it spectacular were the virtual worlds the battles were set in, each one so realistic that putting on your glasses was like dropping you right into that place.
What can I say that hasn’t already been said? I feel like once you know the basic gist of the story you’ve got what you need going into it. I actually picked this up without reading the summary again (the last time I did was probably 3 months ago) and I love the open perspective it gave me. I had no preconceived notions, no expectations or spoiler-filled thoughts; I simply dove in and hung on for the ride. And what a ride it was! The descriptions, atmosphere, and setting in this book were so intricate in details that I felt as though I were watching a movie in my head rather than reading words on a page. The colors, artistic backgrounds, and global experiences were truly that; experiences. I found my breath catching multiple times, and most were not during the high octane action scenes. I could truly picture this book being turned into a hollywood blockbuster film; my only concern is that we do not have the technology yet to do the story the justice it so richly deserves.
If I could solve these problems, then I could control something. And if I could control something, I could forgive myself for the one problem that I could never have solved, the one person I could never have saved. Everyone has a different way of escaping the dark stillness of their mind. This, I learned, was mine.
Marie Lu is at the top of her game here; she knows how to write characters who are divinely flawed, ones that stir a sense of camaraderie, hope, and consistency, and then manages to break your heart and piece it back together by the end of the book. The subtle, yet natural inclusion of diversity here is stellar; the characters are completely different but the realistic sense reminded me of how Leigh Bardugo created her gang of lovable nuggets in Six of Crows(Squad Goals). We have representation of multiple races, LGBT, and disabilities that make for a well crafted group whom rely on each other for different strengths and weaknesses. I can’t express how much this touched my heart, as I feel like it is STILL so difficult to find this type of essential diverseness in current fiction.
There’s not much else to add, although I had a few jaw-dropping moments near the end. There are a few big twists, one of which I suspected and one that completely blew my mind, but the story in it’s entirety is worthy of all five stars regardless of your deduction skills. This is the type of thrilling science fiction/dystopian that is effortlessly enjoyed by all, regardless of age, race, gender, etc. This is a fantastic entry to a new world that I look forward to visiting again; the ending was left beautifully ready for the sequel and I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that it lives up to the hype.
And that it has a more appealing cover.