Warcross by Marie Lu
Summary from Netgalley:
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. 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.
ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley for an honest review.
Even though I had a lot of mixed feelings about The Young Elites Trilogy, I was really excited to read this new book by Marie Lu. I am happy to report that I was not disappointed this time. This is a very exciting and fast paced read that was hard to put down. I still can’t decide if I like the cover though. It is interesting, but not sure it is enough to make me pick it up and take a closer look.
I loved Emika almost from the start. Here is a girl who even when things are looking very bleak, keeps going forward and trying to make things better for herself. Yes she makes lots of mistakes, but she keeps going no matter what. She also has a strong moral compass that mostly steers her in the right direction. Her hacking skills are amazing as well. I really liked her memory about how she got into coding, she just started looking at it like a puzzle that needed figuring out. I can get into that. Her relationship with her father was very sweet, but also forced her to grow up quickly. Her experiences and her inability to trust people gets in her way sometimes. I get it, I’m a lone wolf too, but I know when to ask for help. She often pushes away people who can help her and has a hard time being a team player.
The other characters in the book are well done as well. The other players on her team, as well as the others she encounters, are all smart and loyal to their teammates and to the game. I especially liked Hammie, the other girl on Emi’s team. She is a thief in the game, and I love that she can see moves before they happen. She almost seems to know what someone is going to do before they do it. Hideo was an enigma almost from the start, I wanted to like him as much as Emi did, but I always felt there was something off about him.
The plot is amazing. I like the Warcross game, although the rules were hard to follow at times. The whole idea of a virtual reality game becoming so popular is an interesting concept. I also liked the descriptions of the darknet as a virtual world, where the criminals hang out. Some of the other tech mentioned throughout the book is also amazing and just advanced enough to make it believable. Some of it is similar to what we have now, just more advanced. The whole book is very fast paced and hard to put down. The ending was not a total surprise to me, but still not what I was expecting. The next book will be amazing as well.
Overall, a kick-ass plot with characters that you will root for.