Title: Warcross (Warcross #1)
Author: Marie Lu
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi
Release Date: September 12th, 2017
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Purchase at: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | National Bookstore | Fullybooked
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.
* Review *
Disclaimer: I received an ARC from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review. This doesn’t affect my opinion of the book in this review in any way. This is also in participation for The Royal Polar Bear Reads‘ blog tour.
The moment I stepped into the world of Warcross, I knew I was already part of the game… And that it’s already impossible to logout. In the end, I finished the game regretting nothing.
Boy, that was hell of a ride! Warcross is my very first Marie Lu book. Yes, yes, I know! I know I’ve missed out a lot on her previous books, and I promise I’ll go down those rides soon! Okay, truth be told, I’ve always wanted to read Legend, but there are those times when I’m just not up for mainstream books. But you know what? I now regret not getting into the Marie Lu fandom so soon!
Get into Warcross world
Warcross first introduced the life of Emika Chen, the main protagonist of the story. Emika is a skilled hacker and bounty hunter – a skill she uses for a living. She tracks down people involved in illegal activities that police authority doesn’t have the time to track down. Most of these illegal activities are Warcross related such as illegal gambling and illegal trades done in the Warcross black market known as Dark World.
Warcross is a game, but not your ordinary game. It is already considered as a way of life for most people who play Warcross, including Emika. One day, due to her desperation to earn a sum amount of money to pay her 3-month due rent, she decided to hack into the opening ceremony of Warcross championship, but accidentally glitched herself into the game.
The next morning, believing that she’ll get arrested for interrupting the championship game, instead she was shocked to get an invitation to the Henka Games headquarters in Tokyo. The invitation was directly from the creator of Warcross, the genius Hideo Tanaka.
Well, what more to say? That short introduction alone is already engaging, if you ask me. To be honest, I didn’t set my expectation too high to avoid disappointments later. But as someone who played online games a lot back in the days, watched Sword Art Online and almost worshiped sci-fi anime Gundam Seed Destiny? Who am I kidding?! Okay, I was extremely excited to read this one.
But as much as I’m excited for Warcross, I didn’t immediately got immersed in the story. Maybe also because I had other business in my sleeve when I started the book. But even so, I loved how Marie Lu’s writing style and overall storytelling kept me going, and later got me involved.
You have no idea how mesmerized I was with the Warcross world.
This is the part that I’m most excited to talk about. Marie Lu was very detailed in building her Warcross world (both inside and outside the game). It was futuristic, colorful, and something that any gamer would want to experience.
I think the best visual representation I can picture from my imaginary NeuroLink while reading Wacross is the Neo-Seoul from Cloud Atlas, and the Neo-Niihama Japan from Ghost in The Shell. Warcross world (specifically Tokyo Japan) may be a little more or less futuristic and advanced than those two mentioned in one way or another.
I already mentioned my girl, Emika Chen. Emika already started as a feisty one. Mostly due to her status of life. One thing is for sure though, Emika is immediately one of my favorite YA heroines. A kickass, smart, and someone who always thinks before she acts? Why, yes!
Emika is the definition of colors in the Warcross world. Well, not because she’s a ball of sunshine or a bubbly person. It’s mainly because of her rainbow hair and tattoos. I actually think that her colorful appearance is very contrasting with her personality, and job as a bounty hunter and hacker.
Then there’s Hideo, the creator of Warcross. I like this guy, but not as much as I like Emika. Maybe because I think I need to know more about him. He was only able to let us all in with his life at the near end, and I know that there’s more.
Supporting character wise, I was satisfied by the way Marie Lu got the other Warcross championship players (specifically Emika’s teammates) more involved in the story at the end. I liked Emika’s teammates, especially Roshan and Hammie. I’m hoping that they’ll take more appearances and roles in the next book. That means more games; more games means more actions.
And lastly, Zero – the guy who’s supposed to be the villain of the game. This is one of those rare times where I can’t seem to hate the villain. Well, there’s a reason for it, and you should read the book and see if you’ll feel the same way. Haha
There’s also a romance between Emika and Hideo, not surprising, really. It’s not over-the-top romance, which I personally really like. And I like how it sends butterflies even with just the faintest romantic gesture.
In addition to the amazing world-building, there are these action-packed games. You probably get all so pumped up whenever you play your online games on your phone or computer, and now with what we call virtual reality (VR) box.
Imagine a VR box on a whole new and advanced level. You, inside (well not really, but almost) the game you’re playing? SICK! The games played a huge part in making me so engaged with Warcross.
I’m not gonna lie. It’s pretty predictable at some points. Or maybe I was only able to predict things here, and all that will change and Marie Lu will give me a big shock in the next book.
To be honest, I can feel that there are bigger things ahead, and I could be wrong with all of my predictions after all. So, I’m just going to wait for Marie Lu to burst my bubbles. But sad news. We’re going to have to wait ’til next year.
One last thing. Again, Warcross is not just a game. There are messages in the book that I believe Marie Lu wanted for us, the world, to read. And it makes sense.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the Warcross empire. So, if you’re up for a little game, and a little ride, come play Warcross!
* My Overall Rating *