Title: Warcross (Warcross #1)
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: Penguin (September 2017)
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.Marie Lu is one of those authors whose books I have collected simply based on her excellent reputation for exciting storytelling. I read Legend a while back, did a reread of it at the start of this year and then jumped right into Warcross.
I absolutely loved everything about this book. There are so many geek culture references and the whole idea of Warcross, a VR MMO that the novel revolved around, is so plausible. I would love to play it. It reminds me a little of Overwatch, with players being allocated specific roles and facing off against another team of real players.
There is solid world-building in between epic action scenes. I didn't feel that anything about the world in Warcross was glossed over and enjoyed that it also wasn't too far removed from our own.
Emika is a decent enough character, though she does fall into some YA trope territory. I admit that she was more of a vehicle for the story than the reason I wanted to keep reading. But that's 100% ok as this is not a character-driven novel.
There is a smattering of romance, which actually does play a role in the story, but to tell you more would give important things away. ;)
This is even better than Divergent, although not a Dystopian, and shares a similar feel in the latter parts of the novel. So if you found the former lacking, give Warcross a try.
As an added incentive, the hardcover version in SA stores at the moment is totally worth owning and sports a stunning cover under the dustjacket.