Warcross by Marie Lu
Genre: YA Fantasy, YA Science Fiction, Action, Gaming
Publication: September 12, 2017 from G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Series: Yes. Warcross #1.
Length: 340 pages
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu—when a game called Warcross takes the world by storm, one girl hacks her way into its dangerous depths.
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.
In this sci-fi thriller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu conjures an immersive, exhilarating world where choosing who to trust may be the biggest gamble of all.
For long time followers of Book Freak Revelations, the knowledge that Marie Lu’s The Legend Trilogy was the first actual set of books that I featured comes as no shock. It was the first series that I personally wanted to champion. When I finished reading Legend, Prodigy, and Champion, I wanted nothing more than to just share with everyone my thoughts and have someone to talk to about how amazing it all was. Figuratively speaking, it was a series that launched a thousand ships for me and my small space of the internet. With the success of that series came my adoration for Marie Lu as one of my auto-buy authors. And with that said, today, I am excited to share with you all my thoughts on her forthcoming book, Warcross.
What basically hooked me up about this book is that the world Marie Lu envisioned for her readers was one that a gamer would describe as nerd heaven. Based on the synopsis alone, everyone would know that Emika Chen‘s story is filled with action, adventure, games, and virtual reality. Warcross, itself, is a game invented by the young billionaire Hideo Tanaka. And I, being an avid gamer myself, knew the moment I first heard about this book that I needed to get my hands on it. With this in mind, I deeply enjoyed every page of this novel, making me wish that I, too, can play and join the International Warcross Tournament and make a team for myself. And to add to that, I felt the urge to play video games right after finishing this book. It was that good.
The world building, as with Marie Lu’s other books, is tremendously vivid, and I enjoyed being in every setting that the story took me to. From the small glimpse of New York, U.S.A. to the aggressively progressive Tokyo, Japan, even to the humbled Dorms for the Warcross Teams, every single location found in this book was evocative, making readers feel the desire to actually be in the story itself. (I felt it from start to finish, I swear!) I personally believe that Marie Lu has great talent when it comes to creating new worlds for her fans and readers, and this has just been further proven with the wonderful places that she took me to in Warcross.
I also adored the subtle addition of romance in Emika’s story. I don’t want to share with everyone as to who her love interest is as it might be considered a spoiler, but in my honest opinion, I believe that this aspect will make readers love the story even more. The romance between Emika and her LI was slow-burn, and sweet, and there were times that I actually felt euphoric just by reading those romantic (could I call it that?) scenes, and albeit this wasn’t the one and only selling point for me, I still adored this aspect and I can’t wait for the developments in the next installment.
Another aspect that I loved was the friendship dynamic between all the Phoenix Rider Team Members, Asher, Hammie, and Roshan. When Emika first came to be a member of this Warcross team, I’ll be honest, I felt like she would have a hard time finding a place in their group since it felt like they were too well-bonded. As with making new friends, it’s hard sometimes to come out of your shell and try to fit in with a group of people. But these three made it very easy for Emi. They were welcoming, and they were all sweet in their own unique ways. I craved more of their story. I personally believe that our girl couldn’t have landed a better team (or family) than with The Phoenix Riders!
And lastly, I grew excited with every plot twist that the author has laid out, ensuring a dynamic reading experience for future Warcross readers. One thing I’ve come to terms with while reading this book was that if you think you have the story all figured out up until the end, you will soon discover that you’ve never been more wrong in your entire life. Marie Lu will prove you wrong with every plot twist that she concocted, and every now and then, I was left breathless knowing how I didn’t see these twists coming. This made me extremely elated, and wanted more.
(By the way, for all of my gamer friends out there, if you’re going to ask me what game and / or movie would I associate Warcross with, I would answer with Horizon Zero Dawn from Guerilla Games, and Big Hero 6 from Disney basically because the aesthetics of all these titles feel graphically similar with one another. Believe me, if you’ve played HZD, and / or watchd BH6 in the past, you would understand this, 100%!)
“Get ready for a reading experience that’s extremely engaging because Warcross, in all it’s colorful glory, is undoubtedly one of Marie Lu’s best books yet. With characters that are passionate and impressively developed, settings that are vividly drawn out, and a plot that feels entirely fresh and unique, readers and gamers alike will definitely have something to look forward to in Warcross. Through her latest novel, readers will certainly find a new favorite author in Marie Lu, if they haven’t already.”
Have you ever played video games before? If so, let me know what’s your favorite game and what platform do you prefer? Also, are YOU excited for Warcross as well? Let me know via the comments section below!
Marie Lu is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Legend trilogy and The Young Elites trilogy. She graduated from the University of Southern California and jumped into the video game industry, working for Disney Interactive Studios as a Flash artist. Now a full-time writer, she spends her spare time reading, drawing, playing Assassin’s Creed, and getting stuck in traffic. She lives in Los Angeles, California (see above: traffic), with one husband, one Chihuahua mix, and two Pembroke Welsh corgis.