Saturday, 10 February 2018

Warcross [Warcross #1] - Marie Lu

Title - Warcross
Author - Marie Lu

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. 



Normally I like to start my reviews with a bit more… eloquence, but I just finished reading the book and my fingers are flying across the keyboard with very little control from my mind. I’ve been catching up with my book recommendations from the past year and so far I have been rather disappointed. After two mediocre reads, I have finally struck Gold!

This book is simply incredible. The first half sets up an incredibly complicated setting, and yet grounded in reality – a world full of intriguing characters, fantastically rich world building, and one seriously - and I mean seriously - amazing romance sub-plot. I’m usually in top reviewing form when I am critiquing a book (*looks into the camera like I'm on the Office*) so bear with me while I try to do this book justice. 

Emika Chen, a former foster kid and genius hacker, is whisked into the glamorous world of international Warcross games after a hacking attempt goes wrong. As a narrative perspective, Emika is fantastic – she allows you to feel the same sense of desperation during her hard times, wonder at being introduced to this incredible virtual reality integrated world; fear, excitement, joy and so much more.

I’ve never had a book that made my heart race like this before, I was glued to the page from start to end. The first half of the book beautifully sets up this world and the utter dependence that 90% of its inhabitants have on this one game world – it is less like a single game and more like our total reliance on the internet. The second half of the book is one hell of a ride with twists and turns at every page, hearts racing and fingers flying through pages at a breakneck speed. This is Marie Lu at her best. She is easily one of the best action writers I have ever had the pleasure of reading, which I think is in quite a contrast with the genre as a whole. I find that YA books often contain lacklustre and somewhat vague action scenes which makes visualising a scene exceedingly difficult.

One of the absolute best features of this book is the sheer diversity of the cast itself, Warcross is a global phenomenon and the cast definitely show that. Asian main character, people from different countries and nationalities, LGBT relationships, a permanently disabled character – it has one of the best cases of representation I have ever seen and I am LOVING it!  

I have read quite a bit of criticism about the ‘unrealism’ of how the hacking actually works and I do agree with it. While I am not a hacker, even I know that furious typing is not the way you hack into things. But if you are willing to suspend your disbelief and chalk it up to a different kind of technology then you will have a hell of an exciting time with this book. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not going to change your life but if you give it a chance, you will be sitting here blankly staring at the last page wondering why Lu has left you feeling stressed out and wondering how she can leave you at a cliff hanger like this.

Please bring me the next one already, what am I going to do with my life now? 

Product Detail
Hardcover, 368 pages
Publisher: Penguin
Language: English
Author's Website:
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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