Narrator: Nancy Wu
Series: Warcross #1
Published by Listening Library on 2017-09-12
Length: 11hr and 46min
Reviewing Audiobook from Audible
Reading Challenges: 2018 Audiobook Challenge, 2018HW
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.
Warcross by Marie Lu is the first in a sci-fi duology about the digital age of gaming. This isn’t the first book of its kind (Ready Player One people!), but it is unique in its own right and written specifically for the YA crowd. It asks some big questions. What happens when life is lived in virtual reality? Can you really trust those you are closest too? Who makes the rules?
The entire story is told from the perspective of Emika Chen. Emika is a teenage hacker known for her skills of finding what you need/want in Warcross. She is fearless which is what makes her a good hacker. But a glitch during the Warcross Championship causes the world to see her. Now Emika is the most wanted person on the planet. The person who finds her though is the last person Emika thought would.
Thinking herself arrested, Emika is surprised by the offer presented to her by Hideo Tanaka, the creator of the games. Hideo needs Emika’s help. Someone has hacked the game and is trying to take it down. He hires Emika to by an insider, a spy during the tournament inside the game. Of course, our hacker accepts the challenge. I like Emika. She is fiesty, questions everything, and is loyal to a fault. Hideo is sweet, humble, and extremely intelligent. He intimidates me for good reason 😉
Everything’s science fiction until someone makes it science fact….
The plot is a fast-paced rollercoaster ride. I listened to the audiobook and binge listened in two days. I was on the edge of my seat, holding my breath at least half of the book! I love the world-building. Marie Lu sets up a dystopia where people are partially living their lives in virtual reality. The characters were glasses 24/7 that put them inside the world of Warcross. At times when Emika is walking through the streets of Tokyo, her experiences remind me of people playing Pokemon Go, no joke! The virtual is in the real and it is hard to distinguish between the two.
For all that I enjoyed Warcross, I was not happy with the secondary characters like Emika’s roommate and her teammates. They are forgettable, not fleshed out, and blend together while reading. At times, I had to rewind the audio recording because I forgot who was speaking to Emika. Not good y’all and not what I’ve come to expect from Lu.
Despite that, I really enjoyed Warcross. The ending y’all! It was not expected. I’m still in shock. Marie Lu has set up an amazing series and I cannot wait to read more! If fast-paced science fiction is your thing, then Warcross should be your next read.