Series: Warcross #1
Written by: Marie Lu
Published: September 12, 2017 by G.P. Putnam and Sons Books for Young Readers (Penguin Group)
(Amazon / Goodreads)
Synopsis: 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.
**** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher at ALA in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. ****
I'm a big fan of Marie Lu. I've read and enjoyed all her books. So when I heard she was writing a new series with more of science fiction feel and involving a virtual reality I was incredibly excited. And while this was a pretty good book, I didn't love it as much as I thought I would.
One thing I did love about this book was the world. This was definitely a fantastic science fiction world. Virtual reality and video games always makes for a fun and interesting world and Warcross was just that. What I appreciated about it was that it wasn't too overwhelming. Marie showed us instead of telling us what the world was and how it was used. As for the actual game of Warcross I found it pretty interesting. It was like a combination of World of Warcraft and the Pro-Bending from Legend of Korra. We didn't get to see much of actual games but I found them totally cool. The world itself had a fun cyberpunk vibe to it as well. The hackers, the "Dark Word," the virtual reality. It wasn't super inventive but it was interesting. But I think this book only was the barest taste into the world of the series. I'm sure there is more to explore with future books.
And to be honest that is how I felt about the plot of this book, there is much more to explore. I think on the whole the plot of this book was on the more basic side. There was a mystery to the book which was engaging enough but it didn't blow me away. I ended up figuring it out pretty quickly and for most of the book I was just waiting for the why to be revealed not the whole. When it finally did come out I was total interested but that was so much later in the book. And while this was a really fast read, I think that was because it was paced very slowly. It definitely suffered from a bit of first book syndrome for me I think.
As far as the characters go, they were fine but they didn't jump off the page. I had high hopes for the characters because I loved the ones in Marie's last series, The Young Elites, so much. But they are so different. And I shouldn't really fault them for that. They just weren't the kind of characters that I like as much. The main character of Emika was fine. I could definitely sympathize with her in the beginning as she was trying to make money to survive and I liked relationship she had with her father and felt like those moments really humanized her but she just didn't feel as complex as I had hoped. I think this could have benefited from just a little bit more characterization and development.
Same goes for the secondary characters, they could have used more development. They were likable enough but there was a lot of them and I never really felt connected to any of them. Emi's team was nice enough but didn't make a lasting impression. The one exception to this I think was Hideo. A lot of focus was placed on Hideo and who he is as a person and why he is doing what he was doing. That deep dive into his motivation made him an interesting character for sure. But I think some of that may have been to the detriment to the other characters including Emika.
All in all Warcross was an okay read. It had a fantastic science fiction world and engaging plot albeit a bit slow. I wish there had been a little more character development but I think more of that is coming in future books. This one had a bit of first book syndrome but I think on the whole it's going to be a good series.
I give Warcross by Marie Lu 8 out of 10 stars
Have you read Warcross? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks fo stopping by and HAPPY READING!