Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Summary: “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.” (Summary found on Goodreads).
I will be honest, I never really planned on reading Warcross. I thought the cover was ugly (and still do, not going to lie), wasn’t impressed with the summary, knew it was in a genre I wasn’t fond of (virtual reality and gaming just do not interest me), and disliked the first book of Marie Lu’s more recent trilogy–The Young Elites. I only read Warcross because my friend had a copy (an ARC copy, nonetheless) and was screaming about it. I generally trust her opinion on books, so I went for it and was pleasantly surprised. This is the Marie Lu I love, the one who wrote Legend, one of my favorite books and series.
I fell in love with Warcross, despite it’s few issues. For starters, the plot felt very convenient and unrealistic. Too much worked in Emika’s favor. Lu didn’t seem to follow the general rules of making everything beyond difficult for the main character. It was really predictable in the beginning and I saw where everything headed before it did. As well, the romance moved quicker than I liked–borderline instalove. My final complaint is that I had a lot of questions in the beginning. However, my worries faded throughout the book as my questions became answered. I wish that there had been more background given in the beginning; however, for sake of pacing, I think Lu dropped information throughout the novel.
Alas, Marie Lu created a world and novel I never wanted to leave. Everything was so fleshed out and well done, especially for an ARC. The diversity was beautiful and one of my most favorite aspects of it. One of the characters has a physical disability, yet was still able to participate in the games because it’s a virtual reality. I think it was a pointed choice to make this novel diverse (aside from it being a wonderful decision anyway and something all author’s should do), to show that anyone can participate in Warcross and people came from all parts of the world to do so. It was so refreshing to see a book that has diversity so casually and is set in a completely different part of the world. I wish more novels were like this. Representation and diversity matter more than some people would like to think they do. The world isn’t the way it is portrayed in most media.
As well, I have to admit, I loved Emika. Her character was really well-made, and it goes without saying that her rainbow hair is the best thing I’ve ever heard of. She was flawed, of course, but I think that’s what made her great. I appreciated the backstory, too, which made her character even deeper. I wished her relationship with Hideo was more drawn out (I’m a sucker for slow burns), but instead everything happened rather quickly. Though, I did really like Hideo and that ending had be extraordinarily conflicted. What do I do now? The ending really tied things together, though, and turned my perspective on the romance and book completely around. Without that crazy good ending, I probably would have rated this four stars.
So what was so great about that ending? It was surprising–the first thing I didn’t actually see coming–, thrilling, and a cliffhanger. Thanks, Lu. I’m in pain, now. BUT ANYWAY, I can’t wait for the second book. We don’t even have a title or cover yet!!!!
Even if you didn’t like her books in the past, I highly suggest checking out Warcross. It may take you by surprise as well.