Title: WARCROSS by Marie Lu
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game – it’s a way of life. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. 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 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. 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.
Warcross is the first book I have ever read which features Gaming, I usually steer clear of books which feature Gaming because well I’m not a gamer. It doesn’t really interest me and I always think I will get lost in the gaming jargon but this book is so easy to follow and fall into it. I’m so glad I came out of my comfort zone to give it a try because it was definitely an exciting read.
Emika is our protagonist and she goes on a heroines journey in this book, at the beginning she is struggling to survive. Living off cheap food, on the verge of being kicked out of her apartment and then she hears from Hideo and her life changes. Warcross is filled with multiple plot twists, some you may see coming but for me I didn’t and I was left cliff hangered and dying for that second book. Seriously Marie Lu, please.
The book also features hidden characters, by this I mean we have Zero who is essentially the villain of the story and throughout the book we follow Emika on her journey to find out who Zero is and what is his goal for hacking the games. Zero is an interesting character, I thought I knew who it would turn out to be but I did not see the ending coming. Also his actions have real consequences outside of the gaming world which I didn’t think would happen, I expected for everything to stay in the world of warcross but when assassination attempts and bombs go off in the real world it added to the tension of the story as you realise they need to find out who is behind ‘Zero’ soon.
Also in terms of ‘hidden characters’ I am also referring to characters we only hear mentioned once or twice in conversation. Hideo mentions he has hired a number of hackers all with the same goal of finding out who is trying to sabotage the games but we do not learn who else has been hired until the ending. So Emika and myself as a reader were questioning ‘could it be you?’ to numerous characters.
A big plus for me in this book was how it featured a romance element which broke up the gaming aspect and was something I really enjoyed. I received real feels from Emika and Hideo and through their romantic meetings it allowed us to learn more about Hideo’s personal character.
Warcross is set in two places, the first part of the book is set in New York where Emika lives and then the second half is set in Tokyo the official host of this years Warcross games and the home to Hideo. The setting is something which interested me, it’s very much a technological age, so much so that Emina is one of the few human waitresses left. For me I really got the sense of a dystopian type society, where machines were leading over the human race and taking over jobs.
The ending which I will not reveal because spoilers, reminded me of the dystopian world of Divergent and Jeannine Matthews dream for a perfectible society.
Warcross is without a doubt a beautifully diverse book. Warcross is an international game which means that Marie Lu can include numerous different cultures all at once, the creation of the NeuroLink Glasses also means that each character can speak in their own language and it can be translated for the other characters. There are a range of characters present from Emika Chen who is a Chinese – American and Hideo who is Japanese. Emika’s Warcross team features a team leader who is in a Wheelchair which was particularly refreshing to see especially when you see his standing in the competition leader boards as it reinforced the idea that disabilities do not mean you cannot do what others who are not disabled can.
The above is an illustration done by Marie Lu showcasing ‘Emika Sato’ – The original name for Emika Chen. Lu changed her name to Chen as she felt more comfortable writing her as an American – Chinese Character. This illustration is exactly how I pictured Emika in my head, she is a bad-ass character with her multi-coloured hair and tattoo sleeve.
Outside of her Bounty Hunter, Hacker exterior, Emika also has an emotional upbringing due to her mother and father. This was interesting as the mother is an absent parent and her father is shown to have a gambling addiction.
Warcross by Marie Lu is 5 Star read for me. I found myself lost in the story so easily, the story and its characters are all so complex and detailed. I definitely need to read more of Marie Lu’s work. I always love when a story can take me on an emotional rollercoaster and this book most definitely did that, from shock to thrill and sadness. There is so much built into this book and it’s diversity needs to be applauded.
Have you read Warcross? If not is this one on your TBR? or if so who is your favourite character?