Friday, 12 January 2018

Review for Warcross by Marie Lu

Warcross by Marie Lu 
Publisher: Penguin
Release: 14th September 2017
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi
Source: Copy received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

"For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn't just a game - it's a way of life. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. 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 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. 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."

After the death of her father, Emika Chen uses her skills as a hacker to work as a bounty hunter for the police tracking down criminals who illegally bet on Warcross, a gaming phenomenon where a virtual world exists next to our own. Struggling to pay off her father’s own gambling debt and faced with an eviction notice, Emika risks everything to hack into the Warcross championship games only to accidentally glitch herself into the game in the process, becoming infamous overnight.

Impressed by her abilities, the games creator enigmatic Hideo Tanaka flies Emika out to Tokyo and employs her to go undercover in the game to track down an anonymous player who has been messing with the games coding.

As Emika delves deeper into the world of Warcross and grows close to its creator, she uncovers dark secrets that could change the world as they know it.

Warcross is a total thrill ride of a read! Gaming is not an area that I’m hugely familiar with, so I wasn’t sure how much I’d enjoy this book, but Marie’s writing totally sweeps you up in this world bringing Warcross to life in a way that is more fun than intimidating to people less familiar with tech. Something that I found so interesting was that a lot of the technology used in this book is currently being developed. I loved exploring futuristic Tokyo and found it fascinating to think that what I was reading could very possibly be in our near future.

Em was a heroine who I immediately connected with, she’s a teenage girl who has been handed a crappy hand of cards in life but instead of sitting around feeling sorry for herself she is very proactive and uses her skills to better her future. She’s resourceful and determined and I found myself rooting for her from start to finish.

There is a side of slow burn romance which I really enjoyed especially as it added to the plot without overshadowing it completely. Hideo is in many ways Em’s mirror image. He’s been through his own heartbreak as a child and has a dark past but as an adult he puts all that energy into his talents and trying to make the world a better place. Emika and Hideo felt like a natural fit and I loved watching the mutual admiration and respect they have for each other develop into something more.

The ending is one that I half guessed, but the part that I didn’t guess literally made my jaw drop and had me muttering “No, no, nope” to myself. This ending perfectly sets up the next book with Marie Lu taking this series in a very interesting direction that has left me with so much to think about. I love when a book totally puts you in a character’s shoes and makes you question what you would do if you were them and that’s exactly the position I’m still in days after finishing Warcross.

Overall Warcross is a fresh and exciting read that looks at virtual worlds, technology and where we could be headed in the future, for better or worse.

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