Published: September 12th 2017 by G. P Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
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.
I was extremely hesitant to buy a copy of this book purely because I haven’t liked any of Marie Lu’s previous works. I saw this in the bookshop quite a few times before deciding to buy it on a whim. I’d heard great things about it, so I thought I would give her another chance to blow me away. I am so glad I did because I absolutely LOVED this book! I can FINALLY say that there is a Marie Lu book out there that I like!
I would like to start off with the world building – it was rich, descriptive and definitely could have been something from the future – the near future at that. I constantly found myself wishing that someone would invent Video Tanaka’s Glasses already so that I could have some fun with them as well! I was completely drawn into the technology of the world and they way in which is was set up to be a part of the real world when you are wearing the glasses. The points system to level up was fun and even the bad aspects of Warcross made it all that much more realistic! I was a huge fan of the world that Lu built, around some technology that we already know, but was taken about 1,000 steps further.
I loved Emika as a character. She was definitely rough around the edges, as befitting the kind of life that she had, but she wasn’t apologetic about it. She was still a good person, despite having had a hard start and she stayed true to herself throughout the book. She would rather help people, than have them help her and that definitely hindered her in some aspects, but I loved watching her personality grow and change around the other characters and the way in which she was at the end with her other team mates. Her inner fangirling over meeting her hero (Hideo) was definitely relatable to me as a reader. I enjoyed watching their relationship grow as they got to know each other and the way in which the dynamic changed at the end.
I also enjoyed getting to know Hideo over the period of the book. We don’t find out a lot about him at the beginning because he is a very private character, but as he opens up toward Emika, we get to know him better – his past and the reason behind Warcross. I liked him throughout the book and often felt sorry for him and what he went through as a child. However, at the end of the book when everything was revealed, I felt torn about him as a character. I have so many questions about his past and what actually happened (if you have read the book, you will understand what I mean) rather than what he has created his memory to be… or recreated in this case.
This plot kept me completely hooked throughout the book. Between the legit Warcross games, to the hacking that was going on in between, going to the Dark World and meeting Zero, I couldn’t put this book down. The plot was fast paced and there was never really a moment where I felt bored or like I wanted to go an do something else. I constantly wanted to know what was going to happen next.
I had figured out who Zero was before Emika did an after a certain memory from Hideo and I was glad to see that I was right. Having said that, I now have SO MANY QUESTIONS about their past, what really happened, where he has been etc. that I just need the second book already. This book has definitely left me wanting more and I cannot wait for the next instalment!
Whilst I figured out who Zero was, I didn’t understand why he was doing what he was doing… until the very end. By the end of the book, I felt played like a fool and spat out on the other side… in a good way! The ending shocked me completely and I am so torn about how to feel. On the one hand, I understand based on other things that happened why the ending happened that did, but on the other side, it is so inherently wrong, that it is unforgivable! Especially with the questions I have about Hideo’s past and what truly happened, I am so excited to continue this series!
All in all, I absolutely loved this book! The world building was strong and the characters and plot line bounced off that strong world. I felt played as a reader and I loved every second of it! I cannot wait for the next instalment. I gave this book 5/5 stars!
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