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.
Oh my gosh. I can’t even begin to describe how this book made me feel! First let’s start with: I want to give it 4.5stars and seriously considered 5, but also 4. We’ll get to that dilemma in a bit!
Next up – I want to live in this world. I mean if anyone reads this and *doesn’t* want those glasses I will be amazed. And it is casually inclusive in such a great way. Asher is in a wheelchair, and it isn’t the first thing you learn, in fact it’s almost an aside when you learn it. And he’s team captain and gets to lead this team doing awesome stuff in VR. Love. Then there’s the mentioned side relationships (of which there are few which I really like). So yeah. Can this reality hurry up and get here? I also like that it’s really not perfect, there’s obviously still crime in a big way, but it also gives us the chance for Emika to gain all her skills.
Talking of her skills – I like that so much of it is shown as well as told or even sometimes instead of. She’s 18 and tough but not fearless, she has flaws.
I loved the team dynamics, in fact I wish we’d seen more of the team. It’s hard to write competition or sport well and not have it work out a little dull. This is so far from that! It was edge of my seat action in places! I don’t game either, and I still felt immersed into this wonderful world.
Then we come to Hideo. Here I become a tiny bit more conflicted. He’s a great character – charismatic and driven, a little sexy and brooding. But inventing this awesome system at 11-14 seems so unlikely. I get that he had help etc but it’s not simple stuff. Hmm.
Finally – Zero’s identity (which I guessed) and the twist (which I totally did NOT omg). I loved the former but the twist left me a little stunned. And the book ended so suddenly! It felt close to the end not part way through a series. So it felt like someone had removed the last 3 chapters or so. This was my major quibble with the book really. However I did absolutely love it, and look forward to how Marie Lu will twist what I expect of the “ending” into a whole book (or more, not sure how long the series is!)