Warcross (book 1) by Marie Lu (book review).

Warcross is an immersive computer game that millions of people around the globe log into every day. Emika Chen is a bounty hunter who hunts down those who break the law in Warcross. She finds them in the real world when the police don’t have the time to do it themselves. Emika Chen isn’t the world’s best bounty hunter and finds herself on the breadline when she needs to make a lot of money very quickly to make sure she and her roommate aren’t kicked out of their bedsit. She sees a chance to make some money during the opening ceremony of the yearly International Warcross Championships and accidentally glitches herself into said opening ceremony in front of millions of viewers. But instead of being thrown in jail, she is offered a job hunting down someone who keeps hacking into Warcross. But what at first seems like a simple online bounty hunt turns into something much darker and more dangerous than Emika expected.

I read this book only a couple of months after ‘Ready Player One’ and found that, to begin with, there were a lot of parallels between these two books. It seemed that people played this online immersive computer game to get away from a world that seems to be a lot darker than our own. People use goggles to be able to see what is happening in this online world, but in Warcross there is no full body suit that is needed as well because their goggles actually work alongside the human brain. After the first few chapters, ‘Warcross’ definitely starts to become its own book which I was glad of.

I’m not sure if I’m the only person who didn’t really enjoy the budding romance between Hideo and Emika. I just found it a little insta-love for my liking and it just felt a little bit creepy the further along we got. I felt that Hideo was taking advantage of his position of power and knowing that Emika had always hero-worshipped him. I really didn’t enjoy the scenes between the two of them at all.

I felt that the plotting and pacing of this book were excellent, although I did guess a couple of the twists before they were made clear. This might just be because I’ve been reading a few thrillers and so my brain is always trying to find the twist at the moment. The one major twist I really didn’t see coming at all, but having looked back at the book it really was there for all to see.

I enjoyed the fact that there were so many diverse characters but that those character traits weren’t focused on so strongly that those were their only traits. For example, one of the team leaders is in a wheelchair, but we only really remember that when he has to bang on the different participants doors using his chair, otherwise it’s just not really mentioned. Another couple of characters are probably gay but, again, this is just brushed over, it’s not the be all and end all of these particular characters. I really liked this light hand with diversity rather than shoving it down the reader’s throat.

This is book one in a new series of an unknown number of books which I didn’t realise when I went into the book. Now knowing that there are more books to come (well, at least one more), I for one want to know what happens with Zero, Hideo, and everyone else.

Sarah Bruch

January 2018

(pub: Penguin, 2017. 353 page hardback. Price: £12.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-24132-142-3)

check out website: www.penguin.co.uk/


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