Warcross (Warcross, #1) – Marie Lu

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Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ 💫

Synopsis:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu—when a game called Warcross takes the world by storm, one girl hacks her way into its dangerous depths.

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.

In this sci-fi thriller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu conjures an immersive, exhilarating world where choosing who to trust may be the biggest gamble of all.

Review:

Welp, that was a let down. I have heard such promising things about Warcross, but unfortunately it fell flat for me. There were some parts that I liked, but I really disliked others. Warcross follows broke, down on her luck, hacker Emika Chen who accidentally hacks her way into the virtual world (Warcross) game championships. Warcross was predictable and a little bland.

Now, forgive me, but I still haven’t read Ready Player One. I’ve seen the movie and the book is on my ever growing TBR list. Based on what I saw in the movie, the Neurolink and Warcross game seemed like straight rip offs of the Oasis and Easter Egg competition from Ready Player One. I knew this before starting Warcross, but I hoped that the story and world would save it. Unfortunately, it didn’t. Speaking of the Warcross game/Neurolink world, I’m still not sure if I fully understand it. Neurolink is basically just a virtual world that you can either just live in or play the Warcross game? The game itself seems like a more complex capture the flag. It was all very hard to visualize. I feel like Lu could have done more world building and scene setting instead of just brushing over it with a few quick sentences. It was all show and very little tell.

The actual Warcross game seemed super cool. I really liked how there were five different roles on each team. Each role had a title, special uniform, and specialty during the game. I was a little disappointed that we only get to see one full game. My favorite chapters were when the Phoenix Riders were in a Warcross game.

The main character in Warcross is Emika Chen. Emika is brilliant hacker . . . or so we’re told. She has a hack for everything and it all seems way too easy. This was one of the other big problems that I had with Warcross. Everything seemed to come way too easily for Emika. She didn’t have to deal with much conflict. Also, I wanted to know more about Emika and her story, especially bounty hunter scenes.

Emika’s love interest is Hideo Tanaka – he’s a young, billionaire, tech genius who created the Neurolink and Warcross game. I know that it’s probably not pronounced this way, but every time I read his name my brain automatically says hideous. This is super unfortunate because he is supposed to be this dreamy, elusive love interest. All I think is hideous lol. It took me out of the story every time I read it.

Now, for the most important part of Warcross . . . 

DID YOU KNOW EMIKA HAS RAINBOW HAIR?!?

I’m not sure if you caught the thousand references to her hair, but Emika has rainbow locks. She doesn’t just bundle her hair . . . she bundles her rainbow hair. It’s not just her hair that flies in the wind . . . it’s her rainbow hair. WE GET IT! It was actually comical how many times Emika’s rainbow hair was mentioned.

The big twist at the end was pretty predictable, but the book does end on a cliffhanger. Even though I wasn’t a big fan of Warcross, I am still going to start Wildcard. We’ll see if it ends up being a DNF or not. . .

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