Review: Warcross by Marie Lu

Title: Warcross
Author: Marie Lu
Genre: Young Adult Sci-Fi
Publication Date: September 12, 2017
GoodReads

Synopsis:
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.

Review:

I know a lot of people loved this book, but I left it with mixed feelings. I’m going to go with a numbered list just so I can get it all out there.

  1. The Diversity
    I love that Marie Lu continuously puts out books with East Asian characters. I mean, Japan? Yes, please! The characters were of diverse backgrounds, each with a unique voice, and the world was built up really well. It was super realistic (i.e., I could totally see Japan turning into what was imagined in Warcross), and I absolutely went crazy for the cool tech and gaming equipment.
  2. The gaming!
    Again, I loved how immersive the world was. When they were in the game, I could picture the levels and the world so well. I don’t know if my being a gamer helped with this, but I loved the experience and the in-depth descriptions that we were given! I am also loving the number of female gamer characters we’ve been getting in YA recently.
  3. Pulling an SJM
    You know how SJM tends to take her characters’ personalities and flip them like a switch? Marie Lu did that here with a couple of characters, and while I wasn’t surprised (based on the trajectory of the story), I was disappointed. It felt like a cop out with regards to character development. Was that just me? I don’t know.
  4. Predictability
    I knew what was going to happen. That’s not to say it wasn’t still a rich and interesting book, but there was a moment about a third way through where I just thought, “Ah, and this means a + b = c.” And honestly, even then I was still excited, but knowing where it was going took away from my investment in the characters.
  5. Hyped
    That end had me hyped. I really want to read Wildcard now and see where this twist leads us. I’m still picturing an SJM finish, but I hope that Marie Lu manages it better!

As a whole, definitely like the diversity this book brings to the table. Honestly, wouldn’t be surprised if a company picks up Warcross as a game, if only for publicity sake. How cool would that be though?

I’ll definitely be reading Wildcard, but this book on its own left me feeling both excited, but a bit detached.

Plot: 3/5
Characters: 3/5
World Building: 5/5
Writing: 4/5
Pace: 3/5
Overall: 3.5/5
GoodReads Rating: 4:18/5

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