BOOK REVIEW: Warcross by Marie Lu

"It is hard to describe loss to someone who has never experienced it, impossible to explain all the ways it changes you. But for those who have, not a single word is needed."

When I say that I began a long-term relationship with Marie Lu during the pandemic, it is #realtalk y'all. Not in the romantic sense obvi, but in the literary sense. It started with Legend in April 2020 and brings us to the present featuring Warcross. You guys, this book is so. good. It's dystopian science fiction with virtual reality and gaming all rolled into one; and it's done in such a perfect fashion that the entire concept feels 100% feasible. Like I can legit see this happening in the future, and that is equal parts exciting and terrifying. Just saying.

Emika "Emi" Chen is many things: liar, orphan, bounty hunter, college dropout, prodigy, rainbow-haired hacker with daddy issues. Like I said...a lot. The one thing she isn't is a quitter. Take her current sitch, for example. On the verge of being evicted from her home, Emika puts the pedal to the metal to take down an elusive criminal with a major bounty that would save her - at least for the month. And when it doesn't go her way? She decides to veg out on her couch and hack into the annual Warcross Championship event. A move seen around the world; and the very thing that pushes her into her current predicament.

For more than a decade Warcross has been a mainstay in the lives of millions upon millions of users. Though debuted as a virtual reality game, it has become more reality than reality itself, with users entering the world daily to escape their actual lives or turn a profit. For Emika, it's a bit of both, so when she sees an incredibly tempting power-up appear in the annual Warcross Championship, she does what any down-on-her-luck-eviction-facing hacker would do...she tries to anonymously steal it. Emika's plan backfires almost immediately when, instead of stealing the power-up, she hacks her way into the game, thereby exposing her identity to the world, putting herself on billionaire Hideo Tanaka's radar, and transforming her into an overnight celebrity. Random, right?

Though the Warcross Championship is shutdown immediately after Emika's stunt, she is 100% convinced that the next bounty will be for her; so when, instead of being arrested, she's offered something irresistible by Hideo, she is flabbergasted, to say the least. The creator of Warcross, Hideo Tanaka is a tech genius who is young, reserved, rich, and brilliant. He is now also Emika's boss {and love interest}. You see, Emika's hacking move was impressive, to say the least. So impressive, in fact, that Hideo hires her to go undercover as a Wild Card player in the Warcross Championship. Her reward? A possible ten. million. dollars. Oh, and new friendships, a little adventure, and insta-celebrity. Not to mention l-o-v-e. But when Emika's investigation uncovers a plot far more sinister than expected, with consequences that are major to humanity, she needs to rethink where her loyalties lie, and what she needs to do to protect the people.

I went into this book with zero expectations because: 1) the reviews were all over the place {either strongly adored or hard pass}; and 2) I legit loathed the last Lu book I read, The Young Elites. That said, I am so glad I read this one because, le sigh, it was amazing! NGL, I knew the true identity of Zero immediately; but that did not detract my love of the characters and storyline. I will say that I am thrilled that the romance between Hideo and Emika took a backseat to everything else going on because, maybe I'm in the minority here, but I didn't come for a romance. #sorrynotsorry. I did, however, come for incredible characters {Asher and Roshan were personal faves of mine}, bomb world-building, and a virtual thrill ride...the very things I left with. Bravo Lu - bring on Wildcard!

Star Rating: ****1/2



ellie said...

Sounds like a winner! Thanks so much for the review!

Caitlin'nMegan said...

I really enjoyed your review! thanks so much!

Ivy's Closet said...

Wow, it does sound like a thriller too!

R's Rue said...

Thanks for sharing. I hope you’re well. I think of you often.

Sakuranko said...

I remember when I read this one
I was a big fan of Marie Lu after Legend, this book It was ok but was not my favorite of her

Sakuranko said...

Oh very good

R's Rue said...

I hope you had a wonderful Sunday my friend.

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