Author: Marie Lu
Series: Warcross, #1
Release Date: September 14th 2017
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. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. 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 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. 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.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
My Thoughts On…
Despite the problems she faces in the real world – the eviction notice pinned to her front door, the loss of her bounty to another hunter – Emika can still escape into the virtual reality world of Warcross. In a bid to make some quick cash and pay off the rent on her apartment at least Emi risks hacking into the International Warcross Championships from the shadows of the audience, only to glitch herself into the middle of the spotlight.
The beginning of Warcross throws you right into the middle of the world, it shines a light on Emi’s way of life and what the technology she sees as everyday can really do. Emi is an incredible hacker, and the thrill of hacking the Warcross Championships is one she can’t resist, especially when she knows it will solve all her problems if she can pull it off.
Overnight Emi becomes an internet sensation, everyone knows her name, and she soon finds herself on a private jet to Tokyo where, instead of being prosecuted for hacking the international Championships like she assumes, Emi is offered a job. There is someone else hacking into Warcross, and unlike Emi this hacker has more than making some quick cash on his mind. As Emi tries to balance her cover as a Wild Card in the Championships with her job of hunting down Zero she soon finds she may have agreed to more than she bargained for when she accepted Hideo’s job offer.
Warcross was one of my highly anticipated releases after I read and loved Marie Lu’s Legend trilogy. I was hooked as I followed Emi attempting to track down Zero, as she entered the Dark World and as she picked apart the lives of her fellow team members. There were secrets everywhere but Emi was adapt at carefully revealing them with her hacks. While there were a few twists I saw coming there was one reveal at the end which completely shocked me and made me so excited for the second book in the series.
Emi has never had it easy. Ever since her father died she’s been on her own, and as a hacker and bounty hunter she’s not used to working as part of a team. As one of the Phoenix Rider’s Wild Card picks Emi needs to do her best to keep them in the Championships so she can continue to track down Zero, but unlike the rest of the Warcross players she comes up against Emi has not had unlimited time to practise and perfect the game.
I really loved the dynamic Emi had with her Warcross team. Emi is someone who plays her cards close to her chest, and not knowing which Warcross players are working with Zero means she can’t fully open up to her team, but she needs to trust someone. Asher, Hammie and Roshan all have their own reasons for playing Warcross, for them it is much more than just a game and they are determined to win.
Hideo created a world when he created Warcross, and with it being threatened he’s desperate to find Zero and stop him before he does any damage. After all it’s not just Warcross that will suffer but the people playing it. Like Emi, Hideo is a very private character with a lot going on that he never shows to the world. He’s Emi’s hero, after her dad died it was Hideo’s story about how he created Warcross and the NeuroLink glasses that set Emi on the path to becoming the hacker she is now.
The relationship between Hideo and Emi was really sweet. Both characters were slow to open up to one another; when they first meet Emi is suspicious and Hideo is closed off which makes Emi defensive. The more time they spend with one another, as Emi reports on her process tracking down Zero, the more they open up to one another; Hideo shares his past, and he trusts Emi’s opinions and thoughts in a way he doesn’t with many people. Both characters have a lot of loss in their last, and with the secret of Zero and the danger to Warcross connecting them they can relate to each other in a way others can’t.
What I loved the most about Warcross was the concept behind the setting. The idea of a virtual reality world like the kind Hideo made possible is one I want in real life; the idea of international Championships created for virtual games like Warcross, the idea of black markets opening up like the Dark World, the idea of how technology can advance in so many different ways and open up so many different avenues of possibility, not all of them good. Marie Lu developed the world incredibly well in this book, and despite all the technological explanations behind hacking and Hideo’s inventions I never once felt lost the way I can sometimes when it comes to sci-fi books. The second Emi put on her NeuroLink glasses I was fully immersed in the world of Warcross.
I never saw the ending for this book coming, but I almost feel like I should have known Marie Lu had something epic up her sleeve for Warcross. After all her Legend Trilogy is one of my favourite dystopian series and I’m not normally a fan of the dystopian genre. I loved Warcross, and now the second book in the series is a highly anticipated release of mine.
What did you think of Warcross? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.