In the book community, many books that are being released are so hyped, it’s getting scary. Everyone is talking about it, everyone is reading it and, worst of it all, everyone is loving it. CAN YOU FEEL THE PRESSURE. I try and stay away from the hype as much as I can, or read the popular books later on, once the hype dies down. The story with Warcross was different. I got lucky enough to read it already and, boy. The hype there was well, well deserved.
A STUNNING WORLD-BUILDING
I remember it pretty clearly: I started reading this book on the train this summer and, after a few pages, the real world around me disappeared, only to leave me with the incredible fictional world Marie Lu painted on the page. In a world where everyone is connected and playing this incredible game called Warcross, a virtual-reality game invented by a young billionaire, filled with fights, incredible worlds, Artifacts, treasures and more. Live championships are watched by the whole world. It’s an event. It’s a way of life. Without info-dumping, Marie Lu slowly takes us from a familiar world to a sci-fi made-up one that’s not quite too hard to believe, with everyone being connected, wearing glasses and experimenting the world in a whole different way every single day. Every description of the world is vivid, taking us one second from New York to Tokyo, to cities where technologies, lights, virtual and reality mix up in such a way you feel like you’re seeing it.
In Warcross, we get to follow Emika, our main character, as she hacks into the Warcross game one day, gets caught and surprisingly offered the possibility to play on a team in the worldwide championships…as a spy undercover. While we discover more of Warcross‘ game, national teams, incredible arenas and action-packed live battles…we also discover that there are so many dark secrets and dangers waiting in-between lines of codes in the game. It’s a crazy fast-paced adventure, one you should get ready for because once you’re in it, you just can’t stop reading it.
GREAT CHARACTERS: THREE-DIMENSIONAL, FUN AND…SECRETIVE
As you know, characters matter a whole lot to me and Emika here did not disappoint. Slowly as the story sets up, we get to know her, her thoughts, her past, her motives, everything that makes her who she is: she felt well-developed enough for me to love her and root for her very quickly, which I loved.
The cast of characters surrounding her was very interesting as well. Hideo, the young billionaire, creator of Warcross, was really well-shaped and three dimensional, I loved how, slowly, we got to uncover a little bit of his secrets as the story went on. The cast of friends and teammates in the Warcross game Emika is playing was also fabulous and oh so, diverse and fun. I only wish we got to spend more time with them and know them a bit more. I really appreciated how naturally diverse it all felt as well. Emika is an American-Chinese protagonist, Hideo is Japanese, Asher is in a wheelchair, Roshan is gay, and there was just so much more. It felt richly built and didn’t felt like it was trying to tick off diversity boxes, which I really appreciated.
Obviously, I can say that there is bit of romance in this story, but it wasn’t too much – nor was it insta-love or something. It was a relationship, slowly built with time, getting to know each other, mutual attraction, then more. It was so complex, so SHIPPABLE yet so HEARTBREAKING as well. Everything I love in a good romance.
TECHNOLOGIES, SECRETS AND COMPLEX VILLAINS
Warcross was a fast-paced read with an amazing cast of characters, yet what I loved the most is, in addition to being super-exciting to read, how much it told us about, well, us. In Tokyo and everywhere else around the world, you’re seeing how important it is to be connected, how, if you’re not, you’re missing out on everything, feeling naked, vulnerable, even. The villains of the story are so interesting to follow as well, showing us that right, wrong, black and white aren’t always where you think they will be. Many secrets in this story are painted in shades of grey. You won’t see them coming – I did not see that plot twist, that ending, coming at all and it had me SCREAMING and mad and everything else you can think of.
In her new book, Marie Lu is taking us into an incredible world and makes us play a game that’s way more dangerous than it seems. With a vivid world-building you can’t quite get rid off once you stop reading, characters you might fall in love with or hate with all of your heart, Warcross certainly deserves the tons of hype it is getting. Whether you’re a sci-fi fan or, like me, a bit of a newbie, this is one book you should NOT miss.
Final rating: 4 drops!
Massive thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for allowing me to read an e-ARC of this book. This did not, in any way, affect my opinion and reading experience.
Do you want to read Warcross? Did you read any other book by Marie Lu? Which ones would you recommend THE MOST?! Share your thoughts in comments!
Marie Lu, Warcross, Published by G.P Putnam’s Sons Books For Young Readers, September 12th, 2017.
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.