Author: Marie Lu
Pages: 353 (Paperback)
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Published: 12th September 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.
This is one of the few books that makes me want to draw. I’m actually really bad at drawing people but from the first time Emika was described, I’ve wanted to draw her. And then, when more characters were introduced I wanted to draw them as well. I just wanted to visualize every little thing.
Warcross also made me forget responsibilities and I just sat in the kitchen until I had finished it. This book had me hooked! But I should probably start at the very beginning.
Marie Lu has always been one of my favourite authors so I had quite the expectations. And I fell in love with the main character, Emika, on page one. There was no turning back for me on this. But the thing is, the first 100 or so pages were quite slow. The reader just follows Emika on her New York life until she gets to Japan and it was just so slow. I actually had to fight my way through these pages. But at least we get a lot of world building and background knowledge through that. I was really confused that it was so slow, because I thought it was a stand alone. I don’t even know why I had that in my mind but it is indeed not a standalone. So yeah, even though it’s pretty hard to go through the chapters in the beginning, it is necessary.
But what comes after is just… I’ll call it a wild ride. Because that is exactly what it is. The pace picks up with every page, it goes up and down and my eyes were glues to the pages. So much was happening! And the world was just incredible. The borders between reality and the virtual world are blurred, things you do in one world can affect the other. The real world is shaped to make the virtual world better and the other way around. It’s fascinating to see this work – or not. Because of course, like everything, it has its sunny and shadowy sides.
There are people just having fun, people who enrich themselves and people who use it for criminal activities. The reader gets glimpses of all sides and all POVs. And that’s what makes it the most amazing. Even though the story is told from one person’s perspective only, you can still get behind other people’s motives and actions and I don’t even know how to describe it. Reading this book was amazing.
And, if you have read anything by Marie Lu, you probably know that she writes these vivid, realistic characters. She writes characters who aren’t exactly morally in the white zone but more of a gray… or black. And these are my favourite characters. And Warcross is full of them. Now that I’m thinking about it, that’s probably why I like it so much.
I love how everything unfurls, how nothing is really sure. I mean, I was pretty sure about one thing and that happened but then like a page later came the biggest plot twist in the existence of plot twists and I was just there staring at the book for a few seconds. I am still not over that. The plot is freakin’ awesome!
And the characters. As I mentioned before, some of the characters are morally ambiguous. But I won’t tell which ones.
Let’s start with Emika. She’s Chinese-American I believe? Please correct me if I am wrong with this! She has rainbow coloured hair and many tattoos. And she is one hell of a badass. She’s not one to give up, even in really bad situations. She is very smart and can find her way out of difficult situations with words as well as with fists. Emika is also brave and just outright amazing. And a skater.
Then there’s Hideo. He is such a sweet person. Thanks to his fame he is very secretive about his personal life. To the public he seems to be charming and clever, the young boss of a huuuuuge company. But he also has way softer sides and scars that cut very deep.
These are actually the two most important characters. But I shouldn’t forget to mention Emika’s Warcross team. They are such a great friendship group. This is how I want my friendships to be written, thank you very much. Everyone has a role, nobody is an outsider really, they stick together, they laugh and cry together. What an amazing bunch of people! And one of them is gay and one is disabled!
And then there’s Zero. The mysterious antagonist nobody knows anything about except that he has skills. And what crazy computer skills he has. Wow.
And that’s about it with important characters.
To be honest, the writing style was okay but at some points it was a bit repetitive. Words or parts of sentences were often used in two nieghbouring sentences which made me stop at some points, wondering if I read the same sentence again until I realized that I hadn’t and it was just the same thing again. Apart from that, the writing harmonized well with the atmosphere and pace of the book.
Summed up, I have to say that this is my favourite Marie Lu book. I still think of it all the time, I just can’t seem to let the story go. It was seriously such an adventure, I wish I could read it again and again and again. And draw all the fanart. Just give me more of this please. Minus points for the slow beginning and the repetitive writing but those were just minor drawbacks.