Warcross by Marie Lu
Rating: 3/5 stars
Page Count: 402
Publication Date: September 12, 2017
Date Reviewed: May 6, 2018
Warcross is an immersive virtual and augmented reality world that has taken the world by storm. Emika Chen is a bounty hunter who is just trying to get by the best she can when she hacks into the Warcross championships and accidentally glitches herself into the game. As you can imagine, this causes quite a stir and earns Emika an invitation to Tokyo to participate in the games, and more importantly, earns her the job of catching a villain intent on wreaking havoc on Warcross.
I wanted to like this book so badly but unfortunately there were too many plot holes and jumps to conclusions that ended up making this book just okay. Although the beginning was strong, I found myself quickly losing interest in the book and trying to finish the book for the sake of finishing.
Lu does a great job at creating a fun, colorful and active online Warcross world, however, I never feel like we get to see the extent of the world or the dependency on the Neurolink. I also felt the technical aspects of Warcross were never properly flushed out and there were a lot of holes in the rules that governed the Warcross world.
Similar to the only other Marie Lu book I have read called Legend, I was not a fan of the first-person POV narrative. More often than not the language was choppy and not particularly well-written. I also found it annoying that at several points in the book, Emika seems to discover the “evil plots” of the villains in mere seconds, connecting dots that were never revealed to the reader. The love story also seemed very unbelievable and too much like insta-love for me to buy into the relationship.
Emika is a great POC protagonist who has to take charge of her own destiny and ultimately stands up for things that she believes in until the end. I really liked the set up with her as a bounty hunter struggling to survive day by day.
I also loved that Lu included lots of POC and included Asher, noting he was disabled.
The world-building within Warcross was fun with lots of nods to classic video game culture (which I could really appreciate). Lu creatively thought of challenges and effectively painted the reader pictures of each round. The Dark World particularly stood out to me as being well-crafted.
Overall: Lu is a wonderful person but this book didn’t do it for me. I am rounding up to 3 stars because the ending did surprise me, which I respect. Clearly I am in the minority, but maybe I am comparing this book subconsciously to Ready Player One, which is phenomenal!
The second book in the Warcross series, Wildcard, is scheduled to release in mid-September. Despite the flaws of the first book, I will probably read the sequel to figure out where Lu takes the story and see if it gets any better.
Have you read Warcross or any of Marie Lu’s other books? Let me know what you thought in the comments!