Author: Marie Lu
Published: September 12, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
I am so mad right now. I’ve ruined myself.
For some reason, I went into Warcross thinking that it’s a standalone, BUT IT’S NOT‼️ And now it has ended in a cliffhanger and I can’t binge-read the series because the second book doesn’t come out until September 😤.
🍃 Deep breaths, Belle.
Honestly, I brought this upon myself because I kept thinking to myself that the book seemed so predictable and would need a good plot twist to spice it up. Little did I know that I DID NOT WANT THIS PLOT TWIST.
Breathe in, breathe out. 🍃
Anyways, let’s see what I thought about the book until the last twenty pages.
Warcross follows teenage hacker, Emika Chen, as she is removed from her poor New York neighborhood and placed in Tokyo after famed video game creator and businessman, Hideo Tanaka, enlists her to track down a criminal who poses a threat to his world-renowned virtual reality game, Warcross. In my 24 read-a-thon, I explained that I picked this book up because it embodied everything I like in a science fiction book:
virtual reality, Asian protagonists, 🎶rooomance🎶, and e s p i o n a g e.
Those aspects of the book didn’t disappoint me. The technology in this book was very reminiscent of the Oasis in Ready Player One, but Warcross takes it a step further. The same “NeuroLink” glasses that are used to immerse someone into a virtual reality are worn as individuals go through their everyday lives in order to augment the world around them. It makes for fantastical descriptions of Tokyo where people have held nothing back in altering their appearances while mythical creatures tail them and colorful store displays have evolved to grab your attention. The way the actual Warcross game is played though reminds me of the Hunger Games, except less fatal.
I love how the whole Warcross gaming community felt like a nod to real life eSports—the best players were treated like professional athletes and even had sponsors and fans. It’s exciting to think about how that world can easily become a reality.
Asides from the Asian protagonist, Warcross includes characters who are of various races, sexual orientations, and differently abled. It’s always nice to read a book with representation like this even when their differences aren’t central to the plot or devices to move the story along.
Some parts of the story, however, took some time to grow on me. The romance felt forced and random at first, but by the end of the book, I was completely invested in the relationship.
I will add that the romance was a major part of the story while the sci-fi and hacker threat stuff seemed to be almost secondary to it at sometimes.
It also took me some time to warm up to Emika and the first person point of view—the exposition reminded me of the cliché narration in the beginning of those cringey cheesy high school comedies. As more of Emika’s past was revealed though, I came to admire her resilience and her ability to continuously do the right thing when the world had treated her so badly.
THAT THIS BOOK IS A SERIES.
THAT I’M A FOOL.
Warcross is a solid YA science fiction book for readers who don’t mind when romance is central to the plot. There’s plenty of things to be excited about in this book—the futuristic setting, gamer culture, and diverse cast—as long as you keep in mind that THIS BOOK IS A SERIES.