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Warcross #1


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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.

366 pages, Kindle Edition

First published September 12, 2017

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About the author

Marie Lu

47 books134k followers
[Note: Many apologies, but I'm woefully bad at checking my Goodreads emails! If you'd like to send a note/msg, please catch me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Marie_Lu . Thanks!]

I write young adult novels, and have a special love for dystopian books. Ironically, I was born in 1984. Before becoming a full-time writer, I was an Art Director at a video game company. Now I shuffle around at home and talk to myself a lot. :)

I graduated from the University of Southern California in '06 and currently live in LA, where I spend my time stuck on the freeways.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 17,890 reviews
Profile Image for Natalie Monroe.
595 reviews3,585 followers
January 11, 2021
3.5 stars

Cynical Natalie:

Nice Natalie: For the record, I'm not comfortable being here. Marie Lu is one of our favorite authors! Remember when we met her and acted like complete dorks, but she was still really nice?

Cynical Natalie: How many times do I have to tell you? Separate the person from the art. Marie Lu is a lovely person, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to rip into her brain baby's ass and yank its innards from its throat.

Nice Natalie: Must you be so vulgar?

Cynical Natalie: Yes. Besides, you can't deny feeling thoroughly underwhelmed by Warcross.

Nice Natalie: Thoroughly is a bit of an overstatement. We did like the tournaments and the rules surrounding it. They were creative.

Cynical Natalie: Wish she'd put some of that creativity towards the romance. It's bland as fuck and twice as squicky when you see it's eerily similar to Fifty Shades of Grey. Hot billionaire falls in love with a girl lower on the social/wealth rung for no apparent reason, pays all her bills, then flies her out to Tokyo on a private jet.

Nice Natalie: That's unfair! You can't lump all billionaire romances together with Fifty Shades.

Cynical Natalie: I can and I will. Books aren't written in a vacuum. She should have realized Hideo and Emika resembled Christian and Ana.

Nice Natalie: Emika isn't anything like Ana, nor Hideo like Christian. She's spirited and clever and stubborn—

Cynical Natalie: God, I hate the description "stubborn." Bella Swan and every TSTL Paranormal Romance heroine after her pulverized that word to watery soup. It's not even an insult anymore. It's a compliment dressed like a nightmare.

If you ask me, Emika is June 2.0. Her criminal record, the one that haunts her permanent record, making her *gasp* morally grey, is the result of her defending the weak. Her soul is vanilla through and through. Why couldn't she have gotten it by doing something selfish but also sympathetic, like hacking bank accounts to pay the bills after her dad died?

Nice Natalie: Just because you're going through an antihero phase doesn't make good characters bad.

Cynical Natalie: Hey, I love Wonder Woman just as much as you, and she's as pure-hearted as they come. To prove, I'll tag a gif:

What I don't like are boring characters. One-note caricatures.

Plus, Emika's relationship with her dad is tragically one-dimensional. In Six of Crows, Kaz Brekker shares a nuanced, layered relationship with his decreased brother. Jordie had been wrongfully swindled, but part of the blame lay in his greed, and Kaz recognizes that. He's able to see his brother as a victim and the protector who abandoned him, no matter how unwillingly.

Emika and her father's relationship could've been something like that. Rage for him dying, for the debts, for leaving her alone and penniless. Love for the memories, for inspiring her rainbow-colored hair, for never forgetting to ask about her day. Instead we get a flat I-miss-him narrative. I could forgive it in her debut novel. Not now.

Nice Natalie: Must you hold up Six of Crows as the bar for everything?

Cynical Natalie: Do we love Taylor Swift?

Nice Natalie: It's not all bad. There's good diversity representation. Asher—handsome, sought after Asher—uses a wheelchair. Don't forget the other PoC from a range of different cultures and countries. Hideo, the love interest, is Asian, too.

Cynical Natalie: Thank you for bringing Hideo, I almost forgot. Why did he fall for Emika? The gal I get—he's her idol and made all her dreams come true. Him, ehhh.

Nice Natalie: What's not to like about her? She speaks her mind and is a brilliant hacker.

Cynical Natalie: Yes. Because there's no way Hideo has come across an independent, sassy woman once in his course as CEO of a multi-billion dollar company.

Nice Natalie: Do you not have a romantic bone in your body?

Cynical Natalie: Not in my body, no. But I do have a pretty nice collection in my basement.

Before you get all moony-eyed, remember we guessed all the twists, including one that was so soap-opera-ish, I still can't believe Lu included it.

Nice Natalie: Just because we know how a story is going to end, it doesn't spoil the journey. We were really happy when we spotted all those Easter eggs from her previous books: a Warcross team named Windwalkers; Asher's big brother is called Daniel Wing; and the merit system in Japan, where you earn points for doing something small like watering a plant, mimics that of Antarctica from Legend's dystopian setting. Warcross is like a distant prequel. Lu confirmed it on her Twitter, too.

Cynical Natalie: Big deal.

Nice Natalie: It is a big deal. That earns half a star at least.

Cynical Natalie: Oh no, you don't. We're going to be objective. Two stars and that's because I'm happy Taylor Swift's Reputation is coming out in two weeks.

Nice Natalie: Two stars are for books we hate!

Cynical Natalie: No, one star is for books we hate. But since you insist, one star.

Nice Natalie: No!

Cynical Natalie: 0.5. Do I hear a bid for 0.5?

Nice Natalie: At least make it a solid four.

Cynical Natalie: In your glitter-powdered dreams. Two, take it or leave it.

Nice Natalie: THREE. And an extra 0.5 because we really do love you, Marie. I'm sorry I can't do more.

Cynical Natalie: I'm not. Now where's my Taylor t-shirt? I got Tumblr shit to reblog.

Other Nice Natalie/Cynical Natalie brawls reviews:
The Fault in Our Stars
Dreams of Gods & Monsters
If I Stay
A Girl Like You
The Martian
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Catching Fire
All The Rage
An Ember In The Ashes
Harry Potter & the Cursed Child
The Hammer of Thor
The Ship of the Dead
The Last Namsara
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,990 reviews298k followers
September 12, 2017
Imagine wandering through the most realistic virtual Paris ever, or lounging in a full simulation of Hawaii’s beaches. Imagine flying through a fantasy world of dragons and elves. Anything.

Tokyo. Virtual reality. Spies. Do I really need to say anymore?

Oh okay, I guess I'll say some more. Aside from a few kinks that will probably be ironed out by the final publication, Warcross is a thrilling sea of action and exciting sci-fi possibility. It presents a world that, given our current technology, doesn't seem that implausible at all, and in this world, Lu introduces a plot full of secrets and lies, friends and enemies, and the promise of even better things to come.

Emika Chen is a college dropout, hacker and bounty hunter in New York City. Ever since her beloved father died, she struggles to keep a roof over her head by catching the petty criminals who the police put out rewards for. Then one day she gets desperate and takes a risky opportunity to earn some quick cash - by hacking into the live Warcross opening ceremony on the Neurolink. Unfortunately, or fortunately, she gets caught.

Warcross is a virtual reality combat game created by young billionaire, Hideo Tanaka. Almost everyone plays around the world, and the live championships are watched by all. Teams compete in virtual arenas to steal the opposing team's artifact. When Emika hacks into Warcross, she thinks she's in big trouble, so it comes as a huge surprise when Hideo offers her an undercover job as a player (and a spy) in the game.

It is a very visual book, full of stunning world descriptions as the players find themselves in new and exciting arenas. But as well as this, Lu knows her audience well, and she infuses everything with bloodthirsty action and competition, somewhere halfway between The Hunger Games and a good ol' game of Quidditch.

Of course, Emika's digging into the dangerous underbelly of the hacker world will reveal some dark truths and cause her ever more problems. I predicted one thing that would happen, but never foresaw the other big reveal. And my predictions were not really disappointing - they just made me even more eager to know what happens next.

Warcross is also a beautifully diverse book. Emika is Chinese-American, Hideo is Japanese, the captain of Emika's Warcross team is in a wheelchair, and Roshan and Tremaine are gay. The international appeal of the game gives Lu the opportunity to include people of all colours and backgrounds - an opportunity she does not pass up.

I feel like the few rough patches will be fixed in the final version, but maybe I'll have to pick up a library copy to find out. There were a couple of things towards the end that felt poorly-explained. Such as and But these were not big issues.

The ending sets the book up for what looks to be a fantastic sequel. I even think there is room for Lu to explore some Death Note-esque moral ambiguity if she's feeling adventurous, which I really hope she is. I can't wait.

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Profile Image for Jesse (JesseTheReader).
468 reviews176k followers
September 12, 2020
I wish I would have read this sooner! I loved how visually stunning the world was and how cinematic the writing was. It was so easy to picture in my head and it was an overall well paced story. I will say that nothing really surprised me while reading it. It was kind of easy to decipher the mystery aspect of the book, but it was still a really enjoyable read.

(I also can't believe I didn't know it took place in Japan! I would've bumped it to the top of my tbr asap had I known!)
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews157k followers
May 12, 2021

Psst. A new video is up - all about the bad books I've read this year!

Now that you know that this one is on it, check out the Worst Books of 2019 video to see what other ones made the cut!
The Actual Review
Before I begin, just letting you know that I got my copy from Uppercase - a lovely monthly book subscription box.
All I could think about the whole time was - OMG Marie Lu touched MY book!!
Everything's science fiction until someone makes it science fact.
Emika Chen - bounty hunter, hacker, programmer, liar - is about to lose everything.

In typical YA fashion, her parents are nowhere to be found (dead father and abandoned by her mother), she's scarily good at many, many things and she's just desperate enough to risk all she has left.
It is hard to describe loss to someone who has never experienced it, impossible to explain all the ways it changes you. But for those who have, not a single word is needed.
Emika is about to be kicked out of her apartment and so decides to hack into Warcross - a virtual reality game that uses dreams to make the game as realistic as possible.
Why would anyone give up the perfect fantasy reality just because they have to give up their freedom? What’s the point of freedom if you’re just living in a miserable reality?
She's already incredibly good at the game (despite her low ranking) and knows that the various "power-ups" have real-world value.

During the annual Warcross games, she notices a power-up worth enough cash to tempt anyone and so hacks herself into the game.

Only it goes wrong.

Her invisible hack suddenly broadcasts her location to the millions of people watching the games.

Much to her surprise, instead of being arrested, the game's creator (Hideo) offers her a job - to find an elusive player bent on wreaking havoc on the Warcross games.

He's absurdly young considering the empire he's created, and Emika may just be feeling a little bit of something for him.
“Maybe they think I'm a danger to you."
He smiles as he reaches me. "And are you?"
"I try to restrain myself," I answer, returning his smile.
She quickly signs up, relocates to Tokyo and infiltrates one of the Warcross teams...only to learn that things are far more sinister than she ever imagined...

But if one thing's for certain, Emika is not a quitter. She will follow this through...to the very end.
But I've never been good at following instructions. I'm a bounty hunter. And if my bounty's still out there somewhere, I have to finish this.
This one was good...just not as stunning as I expected.

So many people recommended this one and while I enjoyed it...it felt just a bit cookie-cutter.

Mysterious-unknown girl is super good at a very obscure skill set that just-so-happens to be exactly what rich-and-gorgeous boy wants.

She is immediately attracted, and so is he, but they both cannot help but wonder if the other will betray them.

Drama and intrigue surround them from all sides - no one is to be trusted but trust she must in order to survive.

Essentially, my eyes hurt from rolling so much.

Again, it's not horrible, it just didn't feel particularly new or engaging. It was just felt like something I've read before (and not in a good way).

Audiobook Comments
Read by Nancy Wu and wow, she was impressive. Fabulous!

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Profile Image for Sabaa Tahir.
Author 23 books32.2k followers
April 26, 2017
I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH. You will love it too. It is beautiful and smart and Emika is a funny, flawed, *awesome* heroine. And Hideo, omg, SO MANY FEELINGS. The setting in this book are exploding with radness--the conversations, the technology, the intricacies of the world. I knew from both the LEGEND series and TYE that Marie Lu was a master worldbuilder, but this clinches it.

I read this book FAST, and it totally got me out of a reading slump. The ending was satisfying , but I have no idea how I will survive until Book 2, I really don't. Highly, highly recommend!
Profile Image for Emma Giordano.
316 reviews115k followers
August 13, 2018

Warcross is absolutely one of my favorite books of the year. It's thrilling, it's engaging, and the twists in this novel are still driving me wild. I loved absolutely everything about this novel. Hoping to film a glowing review for my YouTube channel soon!!

I received a free copy of this book from Penguin Teen at Book Expo 2017. I had no obligation to review this book and all opinions are my own.
Profile Image for emma.
1,866 reviews54.3k followers
February 15, 2022
I have a really important question.


Like, everything I say is really important, and therefore every question I ask is really important, but this is especially so. It is integral to my understanding of the world around me, and also books and also Goodreads.

Is there a single person who gave this book over 3 stars and has read Ready Player One?

Seriously. This book is a C-, young adult, romance-y, boring, poorly-built version of Ready Player One. With better diversity.

I was always worried about this book literally just straight up being Ready Player One. Just kidding that is completely a lie. I was always super full-on hoping this book was going to be an absolute imitation of that one, because that book is amazing and I miss it all the time and I would like every book I read to be just like it please and thanks.

What I should have been worried about, and am now furious over (if furious means “just vaguely disappointed because I have hated so many books I’ve been excited for that an overwhelming numbness has taken over what used to be the anger factory that is my emotions”), is that this book would be a lesser, watered-down, poorly done version of that book.

I will back up for a moment.

Warcross takes place in the future. (How quaint.) There’s an augmented reality gaming type deal (wish I could tell you more) called Warcross (surprise! Title!). Everybody is super into it. To play, you wear a pair of glasses that overlay the interface into your actual brain.

If this sounds at all familiar, you have probably encountered the synopsis of a lil book called Ready Player One at some point or another.

Specifically, Warcross (book not game) is about this gal named Emika, who is a bounty hunter in New York City. This should be cool, and is instead something we hear about for roughly 5 pages. To compare, we hear exponentially more about Emika’s ramen stash (she tells us how many boxes she has seemingly upwards of one thousand times), her urine-scented hovel of an apartment building, and her rainbow hair.


There’s that comforting burn of anger! You guys. We’re doing it.

Okay. So on top of being a bounty hunter, rainbow-haired, AND ramen-possessing (what a jack of all trades), Emika is also totally amazing at all things computer-related. She hacks! (We have no idea what goes into hacking beyond the oft-used description, I pulled up a window and typed a few lines of code, but sure!) She is really good at Warcross! (We only get one actual scene of an actual game of Warcross, but yeah, okay!) She can try to steal an expensive power-up from an internationally-broadcast game watched by hundreds of millions of people and instead just broadcast her image to all of them! (I don’t get why this is impressive rather than a somewhat sloppy and definitely ill-advised attempt at theft, but sounds good!)

Emika is so talented and brilliant and rainbow-haired that she is hired by Hideo, the young, dashing, unbelievably boring creator of Warcross. Now, she’s a bounty hunter who is also a hacker who is also playing in the international tournament of an augmented reality game! Doesn’t that sound interesting?

Don’t get excited. It is not interesting.

Unless your idea of interesting is the two most boring people in the mapped universe falling gushily in love with each other, except worse. Because Emika constantly has to sneak in order to squeeze in more of these gazing-into-each-other’s-Warcross-lens-wearing-eyes moments.

It is stressful to read about. It is also a constant reminder that she is physically exiting what could be an interesting plotline in favor of horrific, cavity-inducing romance over and over. And over. And over. And over again.

I really do not even understand what Warcross is. It’s called a game a lot, but it seems like it might be a version of reality wherein gaming is an option? I don’t know how often the characters of this book are in-game versus in life. I don’t know what the in-life body looks like while the brain is in-game. I thought that Emika was physically traveling to all these places, but at one point towards the end it’s just like, “The screen faded to black and I was back in my hotel room,” and I was all, WAIT WAS SHE IN HER HOTEL ROOM THE WHOLE TIME?

I have no answers. Because the world-building in this book is terrible.

Even if I give the author the benefit of the doubt and say she was trying to seamlessly weave in the world-building (admirable!), there is still no excuse for this. Warcross is so confusing that it hurts my brain. Not because it is a really complicated world, but because it is NEVER EXPLAINED. I don’t get how I could like this setting, because I don’t know what it is.

Which leads me back to the question that started this review. HAVE YOU GUYS NOT READ READY PLAYER ONE? If you had, there is no way you would be so heavy into this game. (IS IT A GAME.) It is millennia behind the description and comprehensibility and interesting-ness of the sometimes-game of that book. (SEE? I KNOW IT’S A SOMETIMES-GAME.)

So we’ve covered the crap world-building. We’ve covered the awful romance, although I could scream about that for 8 more pages and am merely rescuing you from the fate of hearing me read about it. What else, what else.

Ah, yes! This book is so boring that it makes watching paint dry seem like a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon. It makes BBC miniseries focusing on the vie quotidienne of the 19th century seem concerningly wild. It makes Hideo seem like a pre-engagement Prince Harry. Like, back when he used to be naked all the time, and in Las Vegas and stuff.

This book is non-online clickbait. It pulls you in with the talk of virtual reality, and gaming, and the future, and sci-fi, and bounty hunters, and all that fun stuff, and then it spends the entirety of its 368 pages finding new creative ways to beat all of that with rocks and spears and sharp things until it is so dry your eyes will stream silent tears.

For example. Even though this book allegedly takes place over the course of a massive, huge-deal, très competitive Warcross tournament that is so blindingly entertaining that hundreds of millions of people tune in for what is cumulatively dozens of hours of watching other people play video games, WE ONLY TRULY SEE ONE ACTUAL TYPICAL GAME.

This is the best scene in the book, by far, yes, but it is roughly 20 pages of what I thought all 368 would be. This scene doesn’t even come until, like, the halfway point. And from there until the end, it’s all boring, nondescriptive insertions of Emika doing stuff that is not as cool as Warcross, and romance. And more romance. And more romance.

Also the “big reveals” of this book are either a) revealed in the very beginning (I was actually like, There’s no way, she’ll find out it’s someone else, it’s way too early - but nope) or dropped like huge bombs and then completely left there.

You guys! This book is so bad.

That being said, I’ll almost definitely read the next one.

Bottom line: Just...just do yourself a favor and read Ready Player One instead.


Have I been pranked?

Did someone give me a different book called Warcross? Have all of you pretended to love this one? Is there an included supplementary text on the world that I missed out on? Does my version somehow contain a mega-expanded first half and a minimized second?

I have a sneaking suspicion that the answer to all of these questions is no.

And if so...this book was Not Great.

Review to come

currently-reading updates


tbr review

I want this so badly that I've been daydreaming about illegally downloading it.

Profile Image for Emily (Books with Emily Fox).
551 reviews60.4k followers
March 14, 2018
DNF at 50% - audiobook

Pretty much from the beginning, I wasn’t too thrilled about this book. The main character is just so bland.

Poor orphan girl who becomes the chosen one for a talent that feels like she got overnight. We're never told how she actually got great at hacking. She basically unfocuses her eyes and things stand out to her... Maybe I'm bitter because I was never able to do that with the Garfield book I had!
But *gaps* she has a record!! For doing a nice thing… Does it mean she's not like other girls?
Let's be real, giving her rainbow hair won’t hide how bland she is.

But the last drop for me was when the romance that started. I get it, he's her idol that makes sense but he has no reason to be into her. When the interactions started being cringy I just decided to DNF the whole thing.

Life's too short for cringy YA romance book with a predictable plot. It had potential but... no. Just no.
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,480 reviews79k followers
November 17, 2017
Think. You can solve this. This will not be your life. You are not destined to stay here forever. You are not your father.

This is easily the most brilliant, exciting, and action packed novel I've read in 2017. If I wasn't a responsible adult, I would have blown through this in a single sitting. I'll admit, I had seen talk of Warcross filling my feed here for well over six months prior to it's release date, but was a bit skeptical. Reading the blurb gave me a feeling of "been there, done that more times than I can count", but I was so intrigued by the consistently high ratings that my curiosity stayed piqued. After attending the Goodreads Summit in October and several friends gushing over it being their favorite book of the year, I knew it was time to pick it up and see what all the fuss is about. I am so delighted that I listened to the experts, because this was truly a favorite read of mine for many reasons.

Warcross was pretty simple: two teams battled each other, one trying to take the other team's Artifact (a shiny gem) without losing their own. What made it spectacular were the virtual worlds the battles were set in, each one so realistic that putting on your glasses was like dropping you right into that place.

What can I say that hasn't already been said? I feel like once you know the basic gist of the story you've got what you need going into it. I actually picked this up without reading the summary again (the last time I did was probably 3 months ago) and I love the open perspective it gave me. I had no preconceived notions, no expectations or spoiler-filled thoughts; I simply dove in and hung on for the ride. And what a ride it was! The descriptions, atmosphere, and setting in this book were so intricate in details that I felt as though I were watching a movie in my head rather than reading words on a page. The colors, artistic backgrounds, and global experiences were truly that; experiences. I found my breath catching multiple times, and most were not during the high octane action scenes. I could truly picture this book being turned into a hollywood blockbuster film; my only concern is that we do not have the technology yet to do the story the justice it so richly deserves.

If I could solve these problems, then I could control something. And if I could control something, I could forgive myself for the one problem that I could never have solved, the one person I could never have saved. Everyone has a different way of escaping the dark stillness of their mind. This, I learned, was mine.

Marie Lu is at the top of her game here; she knows how to write characters who are divinely flawed, ones that stir a sense of camaraderie, hope, and consistency, and then manages to break your heart and piece it back together by the end of the book. The subtle, yet natural inclusion of diversity here is stellar; the characters are completely different but the realistic sense reminded me of how Leigh Bardugo created her gang of lovable nuggets in Six of Crows (Squad Goals). We have representation of multiple races, LGBT, and disabilities that make for a well crafted group whom rely on each other for different strengths and weaknesses. I can't express how much this touched my heart, as I feel like it is STILL so difficult to find this type of essential diverseness in current fiction.

There's not much else to add, although I had a few jaw-dropping moments near the end. There are a few big twists, one of which I suspected and one that completely blew my mind, but the story in it's entirety is worthy of all five stars regardless of your deduction skills. This is the type of thrilling science fiction/dystopian that is effortlessly enjoyed by all, regardless of age, race, gender, etc. This is a fantastic entry to a new world that I look forward to visiting again; the ending was left beautifully ready for the sequel and I'll be keeping my fingers crossed that it lives up to the hype. And that it has a more appealing cover.
Profile Image for Brittney ~ Reverie and Ink.
261 reviews4,944 followers
August 8, 2017
Oh man. Marie Lu KILLED it. This was phenomenal, and easily one of my favorite books of 2017.

I don't even want to say much about the plot (hah if you know me, I normally like to go into books blind anyway). I'll just say this - Emika is a kick ass heroine struggling to survive in a world where digital reigns. But she does something unexpected, which leads to a domino of events that land her in a crazy cool situation with the maker of Warcross.

Thats it. That's all you get.

Hah okay but seriously... I am not a huge sci fi/futuristic/dystopian (not sure if this is actually dystopian though) fan. I'm a fantasy reader, point blank period. However, I LOVED Ready Player One, mostly because I played World of Warcraft for years when I was in college (heyo to my gamer friends.) And if you've read Ready Player One, you know its the perfect balance between fun references to crazy intense plot line, and it appeals to an audience beyond the themes it references. It was a freaking great story.

The same can be said about this.

Right now, my husband is actually reading my ARC of this and loving it. Like when we read Ready Player One together, he's constantly nudging me and freaking out because Marie Lu knows her stuff. (Oh my gosh there's a certain reference to WoW that had me actually screaming.)

But even if you have no gamer knowledge or you're intimidated by books like this - trust me, don't pre judge it. The story is damn fun and full of feels. Marie Lu has a way of sucking you into her characters, and her writing is so easy to follow. Not to mention, this is one of the coolest worlds I've read about, and Emika is so thoroughly developed in the beginning of the book that you're instantly drawn to her and rooting for her hardcore.

You guys, I enjoyed EVERY. SINGLE. PAGE. The whole book is so well written and holy crap, I think I jumped out of my bed a few times. Oh man. I wish I could say more, but there are some FUN plot twists. I guessed a few, but oh Marie Lu got me in the end. But try not to go in with expectations. Just get pulled along with the plot and have fun.

AND HOLY CRAP SLDFKJ:SLKFDJ BOOK TWO AHHHH I NEED IT NOWWWW. That set up... ermergershalkdjfal;skdfj.


Initial pre-review:

If you like Ready Player one, read this book.
If you didn't like Ready Player one, read this book.
If you read only fantasy(like me), trust me, take a break from it and read this book.
If you liked this book, read Ready Player one (once the trauma wears down.) And then come off the high of RP1 and read this book.

Basically read this book.

What the hell am I supposed to do now???


Review to come.

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757 reviews2,348 followers
August 11, 2018
its been 6 days since i read this and im still trying to coherently write a review,,,,, but thats not possible so i'll just scream that THIS WAS REALLY FUCKING GOOD AND I TAKE BACK EVERY BAD THING I EVER SAID ABOUT NOT HIDEOUS HIDEO AND EMIKA'S RAINBOW HAIR. i fucking love them and also what the absolute FUCK was this ending. marie lu pulled a painful plot twist and i dont FUCKING WANT IT.

just some other side screaming: i predicted the identity of zero!!!!! it was pretty obvious to me but bitch I WAS STILL SHOOK WHEN IT WAS REVEALED. i cant wait for the next book because this ending was fucking hell.

giving this book another try after dnfing it the first time. I don't really give second chances to books I've DNFed, so this book should consider itself lucky.
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,535 reviews9,937 followers
October 6, 2017

I love Marie Lu, but I had a hard time with this book in the beginning. I felt like I wasn't really going to get into this book. I have to say it took almost until the end to really enjoy it. I'm not sure if it was my mood, that I wasn't really ready for a gaming book or what. Either way, I did enjoy it after I kept going.

What I want to know now, is that ending? What is going to happen in the next book? I mean who do you trust now?

It was pretty obvious to me right up front who the hacker in Warcross was that wanted to take out the creator, Hideo Tanka.

Emika Chen is a bounty hunter and a hacker. She hacked into the Warcross game and everyone saw her. Ooops. You put on these like sunglasses and get into the game and she jumped right into a tournament and stopped the game. Well, things obviously change after that because Hideo has sent for her.

Hideo pays off Emika's debts and hires her to find out who is hacking into this game. There is a killer among us. He puts her in the game as a player and it's all go from there.

So the supposed assassin came as no surprise but the things he said did. . . . Now I have to wait until the next freaking book to find out if it's all real or just another game . . . .

. . . .

Happy Reading!

Mel ♥

MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List
Profile Image for Simona B.
898 reviews3,008 followers
October 23, 2017
4.5 and all my love.

“... but tonight, I can join in with everyone else, put on my glasses, and watch magic happen.”

Do you remember Antarctica in Champion? How that world worked? Since the moment I read that, I've hoped Marie Lu would take that concept and expand it somehow. And then she did. So I mean it literally when I say that Warcross made my dreams come true.

Warcross might not be the best book you'll ever read. It might not be the most profound, or the most complex, or the most clever. But it sure stands a good chance of being the most entertaining, exciting, engaging and thrilling. It made my body release so much adrenaline I don't know how my heart didn't stop. I love the concept and how it was staged, I loved the atmosphere, I loved the camaraderie, the team chemistry, the choice to highlight the sense of community Warcross, just like all sports, creates among people all over the world, people from different places and ethnicities and backgrounds yet brought together by something as simple as a game, as simple as the fun they have watching or playing it. It's beautiful. It's one of the most beautiful things in the world, feeling part of a group of people who share their love for something joyful and healthy like sports and games. I am beyond glad Marie Lu chose to represent it.

•But Warcross isn't just a master of entertainment. Its characters are delicious, well-written, not particularly shaded but just enough to be convincing and compelling. I think this is Marie Lu's secret: she keeps things simple (mind you, I didn't say too simple) but she does everything with such good taste, such sense of measure, a touch peculiar to her that is worth, with its neatness and tastefulness, all the tortuosity in the world. This is true intelligence, if you ask me.

•In addition, as she did to a higher degree in The Young Elites, Marie Lu doesn't resist crafting her characters with her trademark blend of light and darkness. I loved , and I love it all the more it's not as if I don't see his reasons; on the contrary, I can see them all too well. When I least expected it, when I had started to believe it was all about the game, this book raised the stakes and led me even to question myself, to wonder what I would have done in his shoes. It was a plot-twist that surprised me as much as it pleased me.

➽ Well, let's see, how can I put this... I need the sequel now. I worship Marie Lu. If the conclusion proves to be better than The Midnight Star, then this series (duology, I believe?) might even become my favourite of Marie Lu's works.
Profile Image for Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥.
546 reviews34.7k followers
August 27, 2019
”Everything’s science fiction until someone makes it science fact,” Hideo says.

Well, okay, after taking a closer look at my friend’s reviews I guess it’s time for another unpopular opinion from me. I really wanted to love this and I suppose in some ways I even did, if I’m entirely honest I wasn’t as blown away by the book as everyone else seems to be though. >_<

After reading “The Young Elites” Marie Lu became one of my favourite authors and I really love and appreciate that series but “Warcross” just didn’t do it for me. Maybe it was because I read “Ready Player One” before I picked up her book or maybe I’ve become just too good at anticipating plot twists? *lol* Either way I wasn’t really surprised by the things that happened and even though it was a lot of fun to guess and wonder about what would happen next, there was something missing while I read the book.

”But sometimes, you find yourself standing in exactly the right position, wielding exactly the right weapon to hit back. So I hit. I hit fast and hard and furious. I hit with nothing but the language whispered between circuits and wire, the language that can bring people to their knees.
And in spite of everything, I’d do it all over again.”

I liked the characters but for some reason I didn’t connect to them. I loved that Lu had so much diversity in this book but felt unhappy about the fact that it wasn’t explored, it was rather some sort of side note in the main plot and didn’t get any room. I enjoyed the idea of pop culture references but when I read about them they were always rendered anonymous. Like for instance there would be the mention of a lost city under water as one of the worlds they fight in. Why not call it Atlantis? Why not call the beverages they drink by name? Wouldn’t it have been easier to say they drink idk Cherry Coke instead of a “soft drink with ….”?

”Every other team is going to underestimate you. They’ll say I’ve lost my touch, that I picked you just for the news coverage it’ll get the Riders. But we know better than that, don’t we? I don’t waste my time on players with no potential. You’re a weapon in disguise – and I intend to keep it that way until our first game.”

But then again, maybe this was the reason why so many people liked it more than “Ready Player One”!? I mean the pop culture references in RPO are aplenty and always called by name and I know for fact that there are a lot of people who didn’t like this. *lol* Still, I could smell some of the plot twist from miles away and therefore wasn’t as shocked as I should have been when they were eventually revealed.

”You’re more dangerous than I thought,” Hideo muses, admiring my handiwork.
I offer him a smile. “I promise I’ll be nice to you.”
This time, I manage to coax a laugh from him. “Should I be even more concerned?” he says to me.

As for the characters: I liked Emika, but I loved Asher and Roshan. Unfortunately they didn’t get all too much page time and the book mainly focused on the hunt for Zero and - let’s be blunt here - on the romance between Emika and Hideo. Which was okay, but didn’t really wow me. I guess I’ve just seen this trope way too often. Clever, righteous and poor girl falls in love with a young, rich and reserved billionaire and reveals the different “shades” of his personality. Rings a bell, mhmm? *lol* ;-P

”It is hard to describe loss to someone who has never experienced it, impossible to explain all the ways it changes you. But for those who have, not a single word is needed.”

But Hideo is the way he is for a reason and everything is revealed throughout the book. Well, not everything but enough to get a grasp on his personality and to see how he became the person he is now. Who apparently is a guy that has no sexual desires whatsoever. *LOL* Seriously, Craig and I had a good laugh about the fact that there is so much sexual tension between Emi and Hideo and that it always ends up with nothing because they both seem to have a knack of bringing up serious topics in the most inappropriate times. XD

And this, my friends was another thing I just couldn’t ignore. Yes, this is a YA book and yes there is bound to be some romance, but come on Marie Lu!!! This was so unrealistic! If you don’t want them to “have a fun time” on page (I’m being conscious of my young readers here. ;-P) then just go for a fade out and pick up the storyline after, or don’t even let them get all too close. *lol* The bathtub scene? I know no teen that would have stopped when things got THAT steamy!!! (Then again maybe I don’t know enough teens. *lol*)

Anyway, we’re not talking about appropriate behaviour and mindfulness here, were talking about teenage hormones that get the better of you, no matter how innocent and sweet you are! *LOL* Because in every teens life there comes a moment like that and it always makes the difference between before and after. ;-) Hormones override logic… well at least most of the time. XD I’m not saying they would have gone all the way, but my reasonable brain tells me that there are a lot of other ways to get to know another person and they don’t have to end blacked out. Or like in the book’s case, end completely abruptly because the MCs suddenly have an important thought that needs to be discussed immediately. XD

Anyway, let’s get back to the storyline and the ending. As I already mentioned I expected many of the things that happened and there were only two things that actually surprised me.



I really enjoyed this buddy read with Mr. Babygreys! and we had a lot of fun guessing and trying to figure out what would happen next. If I would have read the book on my own I probably wouldn’t have had as much fun though. I think my main problem was that I would have liked for things to be more fleshed out. No matter if it was the characters, the references or the world building. I just wanted to get a real grip on this story and this unfortunately didn’t happen. =S

So, this ultimately leaves me with 3,5 stars and the genuine hope that Marie Lu will knock my socks off with book two! ;-)

And here I go for another buddy read with the ever awesome Mr. Babygrey! ;-P

It’s time I start reading the library books from my huge book haul last week and since my heart stopped beating when I found “Warcross” in one of the shelves I decided to read it first! XD

I really liked “Ready Player One” and everyone keeps telling me that “Warcross” is even better so my expectations are really high. It’s Marie Lu though! So what could possibly go wrong, right? *lol*

Let’s find out and talk about it later. ;-)
Profile Image for emi.
453 reviews1,088 followers
September 18, 2017
This was a 3-star book for me up until the last 15 pages and just wow.

But in other news, for the first time in two months I FINISHED A BOOK!!!!

Also the main character is named Emika Emi and I wanna know who let her have that name? It's mine. She can't have it.

Anyways, Me, Emi, and not the Emi in the book have actually finished a book. I actually remembered how to read!!! I'm just as surprised as you are.

I had my problems with it, obviously. I wanted to give it 3 stars for most of my read. But that might have to do with the fact for the two months I've been in this horrendous slump, I've spent more time then I probably should admit watching a group of dudes who suck at video games play video games. I'm not used to finding enjoyment if people playing video games well. If that makes sense?

Also Ready Player One exists and my brain really latched onto that mentality.

I might write a review. I might not. Who knows? Do people even miss my reviews? It's been two months.
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.5k followers
June 18, 2018
this was everything i wish ‘ready player one’ could have been. it wasnt convoluted with high-tech coding jargon or bogged down with gaming references - this was a fun story about a girl who unexpectedly finds herself entered in a global gaming competition. and i really enjoyed this, even though i couldnt care less about gaming. marie lu has an effortless style of writing that makes it so easy to inhale her stories and this was no exception. some components were a bit predictable, but overall this was a fun and enjoyable read! very much looking forward to 'wildcard' later this year!

4 stars
Profile Image for ELLIAS (elliasreads).
489 reviews39k followers
September 20, 2017

Holy shit that was so, so good. I literally cannot right now because the last 15% of the book deeessttroooooooyyed me, NNNNNNGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHH.

I finished this when the trailer for Ready Player One dropped and I'M JUST SO MUCH MORE EXCITED.

Virtual reality world, bounty hunters, badass heroine, game-changing twists....seriously. What more can I want??!

This book was such a delicious and exploding piece of treasure. It was colorful, beautifully written, full of non stop action--it grabs you viciously by the neck and pulls you all in without any regrets. The representation in this book was just as b e a u t i f u l. I just wish maybe we could have had a little bit more of character development from them though.

I freaking LOVE this book, so MUCH.

I honestly can't wait for a reread again because I know I couldn't read fast enough to absorb in all the greatness from the pages....
It just didn't work through a one time read.

I want and need m o r e.

TBH, before starting Warcross, I thought this book was going to be a standalone.

I am SO GLAD that it isn't because, whew, Marie Lu, thank you. Thank you for one of the best books I've had the greatest pleasure of reading this year. Thanks for that thrilling ride. Thanks for all the fun...

because now, it's all 'go big or go home'. So bring us home mami. Bring us to highest level you can. I'm so fucking ready.

Bring it all in, baby.


Twitter | Bookstagram | Youtube |
Profile Image for emily.
254 reviews2,189 followers
December 28, 2018
i wish i could just copy + paste the emotions i'm feeling right now so i could accurately convey my love for this book



honestly it's been a while since a book has made me feel so ♥‿♥ and i don't know if i'm ready to talk about warcross yet..... but right now i'm not even capable of doing anything but stare at my wall and think about this book anyways so i might as well be semi-productive and write my review while doing that

if you don't care about my unnecessarily long in-depth analysis of every single thing i felt while reading this work of art, here are some things that might convince you to pick up warcross:

ready player one but set in tokyo [!!!!!!!] and also more diverse
◈ the main character has 1) rainbow hair 2) a criminal record and 3) an intense love for harry potter
◈ have i mentioned that she's a skateboarding bounty hunter and hacker
◈ your favorite: a squad that would die for each other and also *cries* team dynamics
◈ there's a dragon at one point
◈ also gigantic fighting roboters???
◈ shall i go on

basically it's everything that my nerd heart ever desired and more

description ©
Every locked door has a key.
Every problem has a solution.

i wish i could've recorded a Memory of me reading warcross so i could cherish it forever but it would solely consist of me lying on the floor constantly sobbing and clutching this book to my chest dramatically

shoutout to marie lu for creating such amazing characters, i found myself falling in love with everyone and everyTHING* in this book (*wikki my baby robot can i adopt you)

back when i read legend i remember not caring about the characters and suddenly i deeply care for EVERY SINGLE PERSON like what why how did this happen i don't want to get emotionally attached to all of them??? pls stop
can i just have even more team dynamics in the sequel i love those

honestly in the mere 350 pages i managed to get attached to all of them [especially asher........ ASHER 💕💘💖💗💓💞 ALSO ROSHAN!!!! thank you] and i could talk about them forever, but i'm going to restrain myself because i don't have any fangirl fuel left at the moment, i'm exhausted from loving this book to bits and pieces

first of all, ??????????, second of all, ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿

Some people say that Warcross is just a stupid game. Others say it's a revolution. But for me and millions of others, it's the only foolproof way to forget our troubles."

i just love everything about this world. plus points: the dark world is basically a fucked-up version of ketterdam, like when can i visit? can i have more? can book 2 pls take place in the dark world for 97% of the time? pls more gamblers, thieves and criminals? PIRATES, maybe? thank you?

a+++, 10/10, beautiful, amazing, action-packed, un-put-downable, easy to read, 5/5 stars, would 1000% recommend, PLEASE READ THIS BOOK!!!! thank you.

now i'm silmultaneously hella excited for warcross #2 and also scared shitless that anything will happen to my favs in the next book, like pls, be kind @ marie lu

description ©

(4.5 stars!)

❥ buddy read with birdmom
Profile Image for may ➹.
494 reviews2,064 followers
June 6, 2020
update: I used up valuable space in my suitcase for other books and brought Warcross to Japan and took pretty photos of it in Tokyo. the pages are slightly heat-warped and it was a completely extra thing to do but do I have any regrets? of course not


so I read this more than half a year ago so there probably is never going to be a full review but someone give me three reasons why I should NOT bring this book on my trip to Tokyo in July just to take pictures of the book in Tokyo
Profile Image for destiny ♡ howling libraries.
1,739 reviews5,281 followers
October 21, 2017
"Do you remember one year when that player - Leeroy something - actually got drafted into the Stormchasers, even though he always just charged in and messed up his entire team's play? My God, he was terrible."

You read that right, my loves: Marie Lu references freaking Leeroy Jenkins in her writing. I mean, how could I give this book anything less than all the stars?

When I first finished this book, I was leaning towards 4.5 stars and couldn't decide if I should round up or down, but once I let the dust settle a little, I realized this book was honestly 99.3% flawlessness.

Emika Chen is a hacker and a bounty hunter, struggling to make ends meet by searching out criminals who manipulate the legalities of the worldwide phenomenon, Warcross: an augmented reality game that something like 90% of the world logs into at least weekly. While Emika is incredibly good at what she does, times are hard, and she's about to be homeless when a misplaced hacking move launches her into a very important Warcross game with the entire world watching, and suddenly, she's being swept up into working for the creator of the game himself to hunt down the biggest Warcross criminal yet.

I loved the world that Marie Lu built in this book, because it's just basically a tweaked version of our own Earth, with a few more technological advancements. The game feels like something that could be an actual possibility over the next few decades, so the suspension of disbelief is really easy to come by when you're reading Warcross. The game itself is magical and incredible, connecting users worldwide in a way that can make them feel as though they're literally in the same room. They can play games, go shopping, or just meander through their daily lives with a little more "fun" than they had before.

Emika is a really fun narrator. First of all, she's a badass hacker without any of the stereotypical "geek girl" cliches that I've grown to expect from most books involving internet culture. She's not a tomboy, she's confident without being arrogant, she has a social life (and the mentions to her dating life are super sex-positive, which I love, because can we just get over the whole slut-shaming-in-YA idea?); Emika is her own person and she's carving out her place in the world. Even when she develops feelings for the love interest in the story, she never becomes some gooey, lovesick mess - she keeps a good head on her shoulders.

There are a slew of side characters in this book, and while most of them don't become tremendously fleshed out, most of them are pretty likable. Hideo is the only character besides Emika who we really learn very much about, but he's an incredibly enjoyable aspect of the story, despite feeling a little blurry and "grey" for most of the book (I constantly found myself second-guessing his motives).

As someone who has been gaming my entire life, including MMO playing, I loved the explanations of how the game worked, the ins and outs of the teams and their missions, the challenges they faced... It was so much fun and felt so authentic! I loved that, during every challenge Emika and her team faced, it was so obvious that Marie is writing from experience.

THE TWIST (no spoilers!) ➳➳
As you know from the plot synopsis, Emika is hired by Hideo to hunt down the mysterious hacker who has been evading Warcross's security measures for some time now. Obviously, being mysterious means the big reveal is a pretty big aspect to the book, so I won't spoil anything, but what I will say is that I had a LOT of feelings about the end of this book, and it is a huge cliffhanger ending, and now I feel like I'm going to basically fret myself half to death while waiting on the release of book #2.

This book is pure amazingness, and I recommend it to any YA reader, but especially a YA reader with a love for video games, because this will be right up your alley and I can almost guarantee that you will enjoy it at least a little bit (but probably a lot).

Thank you SO much to Edelweiss and the people at G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers for approving me for this ARC! All opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

You can find this review (and more) on my blog here!
Profile Image for ;3.
441 reviews885 followers
October 5, 2017
meh. it was all right i guess? wasn't expecting much but is2g the romance and the mention of emika's rainbow hair in nearly every chapter made me physically want to put myself into a chokehold. first person narrative wasn't doing shit for me either.

the extra stars are mainly just kudos for the poc, disability, and minor lgbt rep.

side note: hideo is blander than a sack of flour. which is disappointing because there are barely any asian male love interests in books.


ya'll: are getting arcs for this book like crazy

me: is getting a second helping of baked potatoes

so who's the real winner here
Profile Image for NickReads.
461 reviews1,196 followers
Want to read
March 2, 2019
This is going to be so good, I can sense it.
Profile Image for Kiki.
194 reviews8,528 followers
October 9, 2019
Wow! Huge surprise here! I didn't like this book! Bet nobody saw that coming!

The shittiest plot twist of 2018 is this: that this book was not my cup of stewed lukewarm tea. The biggest gripe I have is that this actually genuinely interested me for about 80 pages, before it devolved into Fifty Shades Of Dull Turgid Heteros and boring fight scene after boring fight scene after boring fight scene. I can't even be bothered to write a long involved GIF-filled snarky review for some butthurt stans to curl their lips at. She's such a bitch! they'll say, as I lie in bed in my cosy flat with crumbs in my hair and Sudocrem on my fucked up pizza face. Honestly, what would be the point? I didn't buy this book, so I can't even lament the money it cost me. I borrowed it, so it's up to the person who spent her hard earned money to wax about the seven! quid! she! wasted!

What I will say is that Marie Lu and I have got to part ways. It was never going to work between us, not after The Young Elites. It was never meant to be. I wish her all the happiness in the world, and it's clear that she is an artist with talent. I'm glad she's done so well. I just hated this book. That's all there is to say, really. Slàinte mhath!
Profile Image for Ashley Nuckles.
190 reviews7,206 followers
January 4, 2018
It’s 4am and I literally just read this in one sitting. I have SO. MANY. THOUGHTS. MY BRAIN IS OVERWHELMED. BUT IN A REALLY REALLY GOOD WAY.
Profile Image for Helen 2.0.
404 reviews910 followers
March 7, 2018
Warcross is everything I wish Ready Player One had been.

It has a great cast of diverse characters who each have a decisive role in the plot.
A thriller-type mystery plotline to keep things interesting.
Romance with plenty of (natural, non-fabricated) drama, just the way I like it.
A dynamic heroine who is true to herself throughout the book. Extra points for the rainbow hair.
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All around, just a great read.
Profile Image for Kaylin (The Re-Read Queen).
425 reviews1,639 followers
July 23, 2018
3.5 Stars

“Everything's science fiction until someone makes it science fact”

I’m going to go ahead and say it: It’s not very original. The idea of an immersive gaming system where you control an avatar and it has real world complications has been done many times. (Examples: #1, #2, #3, #4,#5, and #6 )

What is new is the fun and diverse cast at the forefront of the story. Our main character is a young Asian female with rainbow-colored hair and a sleeve of tattoos who doesn’t tolerate being underestimated. The rest of the cast consists of multiple nationalities and languages, as well as a wheelchair-bound team captain who slays. (Asher was my favorite)

The character’s were fun-- but that doesn’t mean I loved them. Most of them don’t seem fully-developed yet, and this reflects most with our main character who is astoundingly good at everything she does. I am 200% for bad-ass hacker chicks. Please give me more women in STEM fields. But for Emika to be great at physically catching bad-guys in the real world, have top-notch criminal hacking skills (despite dropping out of high school) and kick butt at Warcross felt too much. There’s a scene where someone points out it took her twenty seconds to spot an error it took a team of trained professionals several days to find. Ugh.

The worldbuilding is quite spectacular, and I found the description-heavy narrative really worked at establishing this futuristic Tokyo and NYC. Everything from fashion sense to modern foods are shown without feeling clunky, so it makes my complaint sound even weirder but-- the world is simply too narrow. Why does Henka Games make this one game everyone is obsessed with? The technology is astounding and should have had soooooo much more impact on life itself. At the very least, there are thousands of games to play on our modern consoles, how am I supposed to believe an immersive gaming experience is developed and everyone uses it to play over-grown capture the flag?? (Can you imagine Skyrim with those glasses?)

It’s weird to me that I have so many negatives and I’m still rating this so high, but it’s also not at all weird because that ending. It ties everything together and elevates this from ‘meh’ status to something much better. Yes, the ending’s as good as everyone says. You’ll think you have it all figured out, but you won’t.

The isn't anything ground-breaking. The characters and world are both fun, but underdeveloped. The ending is the bomb.com.

I received an ARC of this through Edelweiss, thanks to G.P. Putnam’s Sons for the opportunity! (especially since I’m so late with this review, I'm a mess Istg)
April 8, 2021
”Everyone has a different way of escaping the dark stillness of their mind”.

¡Pero qué libro tan absolutamente genial! ¿Cómo es que dejé pasar tantos años desde que me lo regalaron en Book Expo America hasta que por fin me digné a leerlo!

En Warcross nos encontramos con la historia de Emika Chen, una chica que ha vivido sola en Nueva York desde que sus padres la dejaron de diferentes maneras. Para sobrevivir, Emika se convirtió en una de las mejores hackers y cazarrecompensas de la ciudad, así que su trabajo es perseguir a las personas que hacen apuestas y compras ilegales en la plataforma de videojuegos de realidad virtual más conocida a nivel mundial: Warcross. Un día, cuando están inaugurando el campeonato anual de Warcross, un evento que es transmitido a cientos de millones de personas en el mundo, Emika decide probar uno de sus nuevos hacks, pero la cosa sale mal y termina revelando su identidad ante todos los espectadores y, evidentemente, llamando la atención de Hideo Tanaka, el CEO de Henka Games y el responsable de desarrollar Warcross. Contra todo pronóstico, Hideo la convoca a su oficina en Tokyo y allí le propone trabajar para él en una misión de lo más peculiar.

No saben lo mucho que amé este libro. Tiene absolutamente todo lo que me gusta: es ciencia ficción, sucede entre Nueva York y Tokyo, la protagonista es tremendamente inteligente, hay un videojuego involucrado, la acción nunca para, las líneas de la moralidad están súper borrosas, el villano es un ser que se mueve por los lugares más oscuros del internet y el protagonista masculino es exactamente mi tipo de persona torturada y que sólo comparte sus sentimientos con alguien que se logra meter en medio de su armadura. ¡Todo es tremendamente top!

Honestamente, creo que Warcross me ha gustado muchísimo más que Ready Player One en su momento. De verdad, adoro el libro de Ernest Cline, pero me abrumaban todas las referencias ochenteras que abundaban en la trama y que yo no entendía en lo más mínimo. En cambio, en Warcross no tenemos esa cantidad de info dump geek y la historia se sostiene sobre sus protagonistas, el mal que están intentando encontrar y la cantidad de peligros, misiones y competencias que hay en medio. Creo que, si te gustan los videojuegos, este es un libro que no te dejará que pares de leer ni un segundo, todo es tan vertiginoso que quieres saber cómo acabará todo. Además, no hay ningún solo momento que se sienta como relleno o un breather, en Warcross todo el tiempo está sucediendo algo y en cada página la protagonista descubre algo nuevo sobre su enemigo, sobre el campeonato y sobre las fuerzas que hay detrás moviéndolo todo.

Otra de mis partes favoritas fue, por supuesto, el romance. ¡Sobre todo porque no me esperaba que hubiera tanto! Y no se confundan, el libro nunca pierde su foco en la ciencia ficción por darle paso al romance, pero me encantó la manera en la que Marie Lu lo hiló todo junto. No es una sorpresa para nadie desde que se lee la sinopsis que el romance aquí es entre Emika Chen y Hideo Tanaka, así que no me griten que es un spoiler. Los amé profundamente, sobre todo porque son personajes que, cada uno a su manera, han aprendido a resguardar muy hondo sus sentimientos, a confiar sólo en un puñado de personas y a resignarse con que quizá estarán solos toda la vida. Pero luego sucede lo que sucede y sus vidas se cruzan y, poco a poco, ambos van rompiendo la coraza que los rodea y entienden que sí que puede haber alguien allí afuera que los vea como son y no huya, sino que se quede para lo bueno, lo difícil y también lo feo.

¿Y qué decirles del final? Fue increíble. Las revelaciones, los secretos del pasado, los planes maestros, todo. Aunque, díganme loca, pero cuando me enteré de cierto plan de cierta persona (Isa siendo vaga porque súper spoiler)… ¡me pareció absolutamente brillante! O sea, sé que muchas personas ven a ese individuo como el nuevo villano de la historia, pero siento que su solución es la que se necesita en la vida real. Si han leído el libro, entenderán de qué estoy hablando, jajaja.

Ahora sólo me queda sacar tiempo para leer el segundo, Wildcard porque me muero por saber qué va a pasar.
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