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Warcross Book Review

5 stars

Video games are taken to the next level in Warcross–a level with dangerous ramifications for the real world.

Emika Chen, a teenage bounty hunter in futuristic New York City, accidentally hacks herself into the world-famous Warcross game. Her stunt draws the attention of the young Warcross creator and billionaire, Hideo Tanaka. Hideo whisks Emika off to Tokyo and offers her a deal she can’t refuse.

As Emika slips deeper into the dazzling world of Warcross and that of its creator, she slips deeper into the clutches of an adversary just as good, if not better, at hacking than her. Will she be able to keep her head above water enough to save the entire Warcross Empire?

Even though I’m not, nor have ever been, an avid gamer, I still greatly enjoyed Warcross. This book lived up to the expectations I had, having read and loved many of Marie Lu’s other books (primarily The Young Elites and the Legend series). The alternative reality world of Warcross was developed well enough to believe possible without boring the reader with too many technicalities. I was only confused once or twice about how things worked, but they didn’t detract from the plot.

Although Emika and I are very different personality-wise–she’s brave, violent, and technical–it was easy to empathize with her and the choices she made. The stored memories in her network link were an efficient, creative way to delve deeper into the various characters’ minds.

One of the supporting characters felt flat and disappeared after a few chapters, which seemed odd. Even Emika wondering how this character was or what she would think of Emika now would have mitigated some of the oddness surrounding her disappearance off the pages.

I loved the complexities and moral questions raised near the end of the book, which linger in my head like a mint. I’m glad Emika didn’t breezily accept/reject certain courses of actions, but tried to see both sides of the issue. Although my opinion of her didn’t need elevating, the way Emika handled this difficult situation grew my respect for her.

About halfway through, I suspected one of the surprises at the end. But the other one, neatly tucked into the last few pages, completely shocked me! Good job, Marie Lu, shocking a reader who’s read sooo many YA books!

I’m eager to read the final book of the duology, Wildcard, whenever I can get my hands on it. If you’re a fan of Marie Lu, or just enjoy a fast-paced novel with a dash of romance ready to knock you on your feet at the end, then this dose of luxurious chocolate ice cream-of-a-book is for you!

Do you like when books surprise you? What books have shocked you?

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