I picked up Warcross expecting to enjoy the story. I need more gamer, virtual reality type books. And dude, Warcross has the coolest virtual reality world I’ve ever read. It was flipping awesome.
Emika Chen is trying to scrape by as a bounty hunter, but it’s not easy work. Taking a risk, she hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championship, a virtual reality game that has become a way of life for the world. Becoming an overnight sensation, Emika is offered a job by creator of Warcross—and her personal role model—Hideo Tanaka. He needs her to work as a spy on the inside to uncover a security problem. But as she enters the Warcross games and begins to investigate, she uncovers something much bigger than the security of the games.
First things first, the world-building of Warcross was phenomenal. It had a perfect blend of futuristic tech and plausible progression of the world. Not everything was super virtual or crazy unbelievable like some stories (aka Back to the Future). There was just enough to make it seem like it wasn’t that far from the present time. The Warcross game arena was just as incredible.
It was basically a better version of The Hunger Games. Instead of killing each other to the death, it’s like a capture-the-flag version of The Hungers Games mixed with Tron and Ender’s Game. Did someone steal my Christmas list or what? Players don’t die but re-generate, and the possibilities for the arena are endless and unique. I thoroughly enjoyed the gameplay scenes. And because it’s about gamers, I’ve found it’s easy to recommend to kids who don’t normally read.
In addition, I loved that this book mainly takes place in Tokyo and includes Japanese characters. (I expected nothing less from Marie Lu, of course.) I loved reading the little details about Japan or the inclusion of the Japanese language. I hope there is more of that in the second book.
I enjoyed the characters as well. There are a lot of characters in this story, many of them are minor characters but just as well-developed and fun to get to know. Emika Chen, the main character, has a lot of skill and badassery. I liked seeing the story from her point of view. (I also want her rainbow hair…) I knew from the moment they mentioned Hidea Tanaka I was going to be in love, and I was. He was sweet and swoon-worthy and also unexpected. I’d go on, but spoilers. There’s also Zero… but more spoilers.
The conspiracy/mystery/thriller plot was awesome. Yes, this book has gaming and virtual reality and futuristic technology that makes it seem like a science-fiction story. It is, but it’s also bigger than that. And that plot was freaking intense. Once I started reading, I just kept going because I couldn’t put the book down I needed answers. There were a few things that were predictable, but there was also a lot of plot twists that kept the book moving and switching. And I’m so conflicted right now. I need the next book now!
There is just so much about this book I love. If you like conspiracy thrillers, virtual reality games, and a roller coaster of emotional feelings, read Warcross (and then together, we can wait in frustration for book two’s release).