Book Review: Warcross by Marie Lu


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Title: Warcross

Author: Marie Lu

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Price: Amazon Paperback- $10.99, Kindle- $9.99

Genre: Sci-Fi

Pages: 366

Rating: ★★★★☆

Reviewer: Bella Hammond

*Warning: This book contains descriptions of violence, strong language, drinking, and sexual content.*

Warcross by Marie Lu is a science fiction novel following Emika Chen, a bounty hunter in a world where a virtual reality game dominates reality. Warcross, created by the young Hideo Tanaka, uses the NeuroLink to connect players to the game. During the championships, Emika takes the risk of hacking into the system, accidentally inserting herself into the game and making her famous. To her surprise, Hideo sends her to Tokyo instead of pressing charge, and recruits her as a spy for the championships. Her mission: to find and immobilize the mysterious hacker Zero.

The book is very fast-paced but it also slows down to allow the reader to digest the world more thoroughly. Warcross does a good job of giving exposition without it feeling like a dump truck of information thrown all at once. However, don’t go in expecting an original and breathtaking plot. The main idea is fairly similar to multiple other books (The Eye of Minds, Ready Player One, etc.), but there are certainly aspects that Lu builds upon that adds to the enjoyment of the book. The ending is easily predictable, but the action and characters keep the reader hooked regardless.

The game Warcross is developed as Emika learns more and encourages the urge to be in the game yourself. Additionally, the science behind the inner workings of the NeuroLink aren’t far-fetched and doesn’t distract the reader from the plot.

That being said, any book can have an interesting plot, but if it doesn’t have three-dimensional characters, then it isn’t worth reading. Lu succeeded in some areas, but failed in others. For example, the Warcross Championships bring together people from all over the world, which results in a diverse set of characters. Not everyone speaks English, but Lu uses the advanced technology to reasonably overcome this problem rather than having every character unrealistically speak Emika’s language.

There is an issue that arises with too many characters: you don’t get enough time with each individual person. Lu created these interesting and complicated characters, but seemed to struggle to find a place in the book where she could showcase their personalities to a full. I wanted to learn more about these characters, but I wasn’t given as much time with them as I would have prefered.

Emika also seems like a character who Lu tried to make morally gray and intricate, but failed halfway. Any time she failed or did something “wrong”, it was always for the greater good. She was never selfish and hardly questioned her values. Nevertheless, Emika was interesting to watch as she made life-or-death decisions.

No matter how hard I seem to be bashing this book, I thought it was an excellent read. The characters and plot were beautifully written, with only a few imperfections that can easily be ignored. Warcross is the kind of book you stay up late at night reading, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys science fiction novels.

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