Review: Warcross by Marie Lu

Warcross (Warcross #1)
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons BYR
Publication Date: September 12, 2017
Pages: 353
Format: Hardcover/Own

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 Warcross 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.

Review: I enjoyed this, though not as much as I was hoping to. I definitely feel like this was a bit of a change from the Marie Lu books I'm used to and it was super cool. I really loved the virtual reality gaming aspect of it. Its a fun subject for a book and not as widely used as other topics. There was also an incredible amount of diversity in this book! Warcross is a game that has players all over the world. From different races, to disability representation (one of our characters is in a wheelchair), we got a lot more diversity than can be seen in a lot of other books. I loved seeing it! I also loved that the story took place in Tokyo! So many books I read are based in the US, so it was a lot of fun reading a story taking place in Tokyo! I also love the vivid description of all the different Warcross worlds! So many different worlds, all awesome described! 

So I generally liked Emika. She has a really cool name for one, and she also has rainbow hair! I know its mentioned over and over again but I just think its so cool! It genuinely sounds really pretty. I also loved that she has tattoos! I really love tattoos, despite not having any myself yet. So I loved that our main character had some. Rainbow hair and tattoos? Definitely sounds like a fun girl to me. Lol. Emika is struggling to get by in the beginning trying to get bounties from finding criminals. But she ends up hacking into the Warcross opening games from home and actually glitching herself in them. This leads to her being brought to Tokyo to meet Hideo Tanaka, the creator of the game. She thought for sure she was going to be in huge trouble, but instead he hires her to find a threat and play as a wildcard in the games. Definitely not what Emika thought was going to happen when she glitched into the opening ceremonies. I liked that Emika was determined. She worked pretty hard to stay ahead of other bounty hunters trying to figure out who was trying to hack the Warcross games and why. She didn't give up, despite many things happening, until she got answers and got what she was hired to do done. 

I also really liked Emika's team, the Phoenix Riders. Their captain, Asher was in a wheelchair. But he seemed cool. He definitely acted like a captain, but was cool. I also liked Hammie and Roshan. They definitely seemed friendly enough. I really liked that Hammie tried helping out Emika and offering to talk when she needed. I also loved how the Phoenix Riders rallied around Emika once they learned a bit of what was going to happen in the final game. They were all willing to help Emika. And I have a feeling we will see the Phoenix Riders be very involved in Wildcard. I'm very excited about that! 

Now, on to what made the book not as good as I was hoping. The big thing for me was that it was predictable. It was incredibly predictable that Emika was going to have a thing with Hideo from the moment she mentioned anything about him not involving Warcross or the bounty. And she mentions a good amount of things about him, his body, his lips. It was very obvious early on they'd have some type of relationship thing going on. I also found the winner of the Warcross games predictable. Clearly with the fact Emika had to stay in the games as long as she could to find out who was working with the hacker Zero, her team would keep moving on. Like how much more obvious could we make that??? And while I wasn't completely expecting him to show up how he did, I was expecting Hideo's missing brother Sasuke to show up after learning about him. It seemed like the story about his disappearance was put in there for a reason. So I clearly saw him coming into the story in some way shape or form. All this predictability really took something away from the story for me. Also, I just didn't like Hideo. Not a lot of reason except I just didn't feel a connection with him. 

The other issue I had was it took some time to get a lot of interesting things happening. We get a small thing in the beginning with Emika glitching into the ceremonies. Then another small thing when she finds Zero hacked into the ceremony with the teams choosing the wildcards, but that was about it for the first half of the book. The rest was background, training, thinking about Hideo. It took time for the story to get really going and that also kinda brought it down. Like it took me a while to make my way through the first 150-200 pages, but then flew through the last 150 pages. 

However, are the bad things outweighing the good? No. The ending was definitely interesting. I just can't believe Hideo seriously thinks his new algorithm in his technology is a good idea. I mean I get where his whole premise for it comes from, but what he's trying to take away from people.. It's just wrong. One person does not get the right to do that to billions of people. The ending definitely set up for what should be an awesome book in Wildcard. I'll be picking up Wildcard when it comes out to see the conclusion to this story. I have a feeling will be better paced action wise compared to Warcross. 

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