Review: Warcross by Marie Lu

WarcrossWarcross by Marie Lu
Series: Warcross #1
Published by: Putnam Juvenile on September 12, 2017
Genre: Gaming, Science Fiction, Technology, Virtual Reality
Pages: 416
Source: BookExpo America
Book Details
Rating: ★★★★½

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.

Warcross was FANTASTIC! It was the first book I read from BookExpo 2017 and it was everything I hoped it would be. It had already gotten a lot of hype so I was very pleased that it didn’t disappoint.

Things I LOVED

  • The main character. She was such a badass! But I also loved how she was very principled.
  • The setting (Tokyo). We actually don’t see a ton of Tokyo since so much of the book is in virtual reality, but the bits we did see were still interesting.
  • REALLY cool futuristic virtual reality gaming. I particularly loved Marie Lu’s interpretation of the dark web.
  • The romance. This romance definitely won’t be for everyone since it is kind of insta-lovey, but I really enjoyed it. I think I just really loved both characters and saw the chemistry, so it worked for me.

What I wasn’t crazy about

Much of the coding/tech stuff really didn’t make sense. It felt like it was just made up without a strong understanding of coding. The coding visualization reminded me of interfaces in movies that show you how many firewalls the other guy has broken through, or a Rubik’s Cube that spins round and round as one person hacks another. That just isn’t how it works. Or another example, in Warcross someone can encrypt all their data but then Emika can stumble across one unencrypted file—that doesn’t really make sense. The opposite might be true though.

I mostly tried to just ignore that and let it slide because the rest of the book was incredible. I suppose all the funky interfaces and visualization makes for a more interesting book for someone who isn’t actually a coder.

If you like Warcross, check out…

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  1. Ah! I can’t wait for this one. I’m glad to hear you liked it. It makes me even more excited. You’re right about the coding…someone like me wouldn’t think anything of it because I know zero about how it’s done or isn’t done. But I definitely see how it could annoy someone who knows/works with coding.

    Great review!

    1. The way coding is portrayed is pretty interesting, it’s just sometimes hard to shut off the part of my brain that says, “that doesn’t really make sense.” 😀 I do try though!

      I hope you love the book!

  2. I’ve been seeing so many positive reviews for this one. I’m not sure if it’s my typical type of read but I may have to add it to my TBR list. I’m glad to see that you enjoyed it even though the tech parts threw things off a little for you. Great review!

    Julie @ Happily Ever Chapter recently posted: Monthly Review
  3. I never finished the Legend trilogy, but Warcross looked so interesting because of series like Sword Art Online. I’d like to see Marie Lu’s take on virtual reality gaming, but I’m sad to hear that the coding didn’t make much sense (even though I probably couldn’t really understand it myself). I hope I enjoy Warcross as much as you when it comes out because I love Tokyo as a setting :)) I really enjoyed the review! Something about bullet points just makes everything easy to read.

    1. I actually never finished the Legend trilogy either. I LOVED the first book but then never got around to #2 or #3. Sometimes they just slip through the cracks…

      I hope you love the book!

      (And yes, I like bullet points too. 🙂 Quick reading for the win!)

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