Both of us were really interested in this book when we heard about it. The UK hardcover was definitely very appealing and when a Facebook group we are in was reading it as the book of the month, we knew we had to read it as well. We were a little late to participate in the group read, but finished it not too long ago.
Warcross is the first book of the duology. 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.
Candyce: I love the colors of this cover and it caught my eye before I even knew what the book would be about. As you can see the UK Hardcover is gorgeous. I have never seen a book look like this before. I would almost keep the dust jacket off, just to see the beautiful colors.
Isabelle: I really like the simplicity and colours of this book. There’s not too much going on at first glance but the bog block of letters is more detailed than you realize. The book is so colourful underneath the dustjacket, it’s insane! That might be the sole reason I ordered the hardcover right away haha.
“But sometimes, you find yourself standing in exactly the right position, wielding exactly the right weapon to hit back.”
Candyce: For me this was definitely a unique plot. This book takes gaming to another level, when it’s possible to game with a pair of glasses and see certain things interact with the real world. It takes gaming to another level. Emika hasn’t had the best of luck, but it pretty smart. She knows how to hack and has used that to her advantage during many situations. She has hit a pretty low moment. She needs money and fast. But when she gets caught , she never expects Hideo to offer her a job in Tokyo. Going their changes her life for good for the good and bad. I love how this story developed. I kind of wish we got more time reading about the competiton. Their second round was only mentioned as being done quickly. While this book is unique in certain ways, I knew who Zero was halfway through the book and even though how it ended wasn’t what I was expecting, it wasn’t very new. That being sad it definitely won’t stop me from picking up the next book as soon as it comes out. This book had the right amount of humor and serious moments. Other moments really made you love the characters.
Isabelle: I really enjoyed most of the plot in this book. Marie Lu created an unique world were gaming, Warcross in particular, has become extremely important. I loved Ready Player One, which has a similar world to a certain degree. Loving that book so much, definitely got me more interested in this one. The thing I loved most were actually the games. Warcross is kind of an epic version of capture the flag and I wish there was more of that in the book, I really hope Marie finds a way to write more rounds of that game into the second book. That’s basically all I’m hoping for in the second book haha. It was fun following Emika on this journey, and I appreciated that she wasn’t great at everything she did right away. It took her some training and she wasn’t necessarily the best at all the things. As Candyce said, the identity of Zero became quite obvious after a while, however the ending did have a twist I partially enjoyed haha. I really liked the twist, but not so much the reasoning behind it I guess, I’m not sure if this makes any sense but it’s the best I can do without spoilering anything. This is also a great diversity book, different etnicities, both hetero- and homosexual characters, a character in a wheel chair, yep this book had it all.
“They believe that objects have souls. The more love you put into one, the more beautiful it becomes.”
Candyce: I loved that this book didn’t take place in the typical areas young adult books normally do. Yes, it started off in New York, but soon after we were taken along to Tokyo and inside the game of Warcross. I love how the author described all of these places and even the scenes inside the game. This made it so much easier for me to imagine being there. With technology these days, who knows, we may end up with glasses like this as well. Virtual reality is already a thing, but Warcross takes it just a bit further. Marie Lu created a whole new way of life. I have never read anything like it.
Isabelle: The worldbuilding was spectacular, I loved the Warcross game inside the book a lot, like I said it was probably my favourite thing in the whole novel. I could definitely imagine myself in all these different worlds and I just wish it was a real thing. I also liked that a huge part of the book took place in Tokyo, it was described so well and I would love to go there one day.
“Every locked door has a key. Every problem has a solution.”
Candyce: Emika is an interesting character. I felt bad for her in the beginning. A mother who left her and her dad. And losing her Dad at such a young age and being left with debt. In some ways that made her not trust people and make her think her battles have to be fought alone. So when she heads to Tokyo she’s not sure what to think. Being in a team is new and she’s still not sure how to trust them. I love how she develops during this book. She really starts believing in what she can do. Emika even starts letting people in. Emika wants to fight for what’s right, but has to find her way.
Hideo is a bit of a mysterious character. We know he created everything and has become rather rich and succesful at a young age. He works hard and take notice to Emika. She is instructed to never ask about his family and we don’t find out why until later in the book. He has known tragedy and wants to do anything he can in memory of that. Even though he goes at things in a wrong way. I am curious to see how his thoughts develop in the second book.
I love Emika’s team and how excited they all are. They all have a reason for wanting to participate. Even more so than she realizes in the beginning. They all are interesting and I hope we get to know them better in the second book.
Isabelle: I enjoyed the characters in this book a lot, they were well developed. Emika had a very rough time but she’s still likeable. She learned how to take care of herself and how to solve most of her problems even though that all goes with ups and downs. I enjoyed her interactions with Hideo and with her team a lot.
Hideo was a very interesting character, I loved getting to know him more. You could tell that there was something he wasn’t sharing with anyone and I enjoyed reading about him slowly opening up. I like it a lot when there’s more to a character than meets the eye and that was definitely the case here.
Candyce already mentioned Emika’s team, I liked them but they weren’t as fleshed out as Emika and Hideo. You do get to know them a bit, but I would love to see more of them. They were very enjoyable to read about and I liked how they were like a tightknit family.
This was definitely a fast and fun read! We can’t wait until we can get our hands on the second book. Have you read Warcross? What did you think?