Book Review: Warcross (Warcross #1) by Marie Lu
Rating: 5 Stars
Published September 12th 2017 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Summary: 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.
Review: This book is so fun! It's like Sword Art Online meets Quidditch meets Hunger Games. Emika is a great character with a past and motivation that make sense, and a fair amount of personal growth throughout the story. I found myself cheering for her and thinking fiercely at this book "GO EMIKA, GO!!" There are a lot of supporting characters, but Lu does a good job of giving them each a distinct, unique presence so I didn't get them all jumbled up in my head. I loved the Warcross games competition, the spectacle of it all reminded me of Hunger Games, while the game itself reminded me more of Quidditch from the Potterverse. The digital technology of the neurolink reminds me of Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale. It's almost speculative fiction more than sci-fi because it's like it could be the next step for Google Glass, or something Apple will come out with soon.
There was a point in the book where I felt extreme anxiety, fluttery lovey/lust excitement, and then extreme frustration in the span of about half an hour. You know it's a great book when it takes you on an emotional roller coaster and makes you grumpy at anyone who interrupts you because you just HAVE TO know what happens next!
Also - HOLY PLOT TWIST, BATMAN! I thought about 3/4 of the way through I had the ending figured out, and then BAM. Think you're so smart, do you? Nope. You know nothing, Jon Snow.
I listened to an audiobook version of this book as narrated by Nancy Wu. Let me tell you something - Nancy Wu is an amazing narrator. There are characters who are from all over the world and she gives them each their unique voice, making a good attempt at mimicking various different accents. She reads with great feeling and inflection that really made the characters feel real.