This is a spoiler-free review. I will not be giving away any major plot details beyond the premise of the book.
Warcross by Marie Lu is a young adult science fiction novel that’s set in a future where virtual realities are as common as the internet, including a game called Warcross that has spawned an annual international tournament that just about everybody watches. When eighteen-year-old Emika Chen hacks her way into the tournaments opening ceremony, she expects to be arrested for her crime. Instead, the game’s creator, Hideo Tanaka, hires her to go undercover as a competitor in the games to catch a mysterious hacker who is messing around with Warcross.
I loved this book. It was set in such a fantastic, imaginative world. There were all of these hints at a cool, technologically advanced future but Marie Lu didn’t ruin it by going into too much detail. The only thing she went into was the virtual reality because it’s such an important part of the story. Everything else was subtle, but there was enough if it that I could visualise this incredible world. The idea of this virtual reality and the game that is Warcross was so intriguing which is why I decided to read this book in the first place – and it lived up to my expectations. Exceeded them, even. Marie Lu’s writing was so gripping. She made me feel like I was in this world and it was easy to loose myself as she unfolded her story.
Another thing that made me fall in love with this book was the main character. Emika is a likeable character from the beginning. Apart from being strong, intelligent, and independent, she also has a big heart. We learn early on how much she loved her now deceased father. When we meet her at the beginning of the novel, she’s struggling to find a job because she has a four-month juvie sentence on her record. But we soon find out that she ended up there because she had attempted to right a wrong that had been imposed upon her best friend. It was clear while reading this book that Emika is a well-developed character. She just flew off the page, and I found it easy to care about her. The only bad thing I have to say about this books is that Emika’s the only character that I was invested in. There are many other characters in the book that are interesting, but I just didn’t care about any of them – only Emika.
The plot of the book was juicy and exciting. There was a balance between this big mystery – who is this hacker and what is he up to – and the actual Warcross games, and the blossoming romance between Emika and a character I won’t name because this is a spoiler-free review. The pacing was balanced – the story rose and fell in all of the right places. The action sequences were fast and exciting, and there were jaw-dropping revelations towards the end that nearly had me throwing the book across my bedroom.
The final pages of the book set up the story for the next one in the series, and now I’m just sad that I have to wait a year for it. I highly recommend you read this book. I had so much fun with it. I loved Emika and her story. I loved the descriptions of this amazing world that Marie Lu built. If you like futuristic, sci-fi stories then this is definitely for you. And if that’s not something you usually read then I still think you should try Warcross because you might find yourself surprised.
MY RATING: 9/10
READ IF YOU ENJOYED:
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
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