Warcross by Marie Lu
Publication date: September 12, 2017
Genre: Science fiction, adventure
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.
Will the Warcross empire crumble before Emika can catch the anonymous hacker?
Emika Chen is not having the best of days. She lives in a run-down New York apartment, which she is struggling to pay rent for – let alone pay off her deceased father’s debt. As a teenage bounty hunter in New York City, Emika is constantly competing against other bounty hunters to catch criminals for the NYPD. Recently, Emika has not been very successful. Desperate, Emika decides to hack into Warcross, a virtual reality game that has taken over the world, in an attempt to steal powerups that can earn her money. Emika’s hack into the game reveals a glitch with the game’s system, ultimately revealing Emika’s avatar to the world. Instead of being contacted by the police, Emika receives a call from the games creator, young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, and is jetted off to Tokyo – where the international Warcross Championships are held.
After proving herself as a skilful hacker and bounty hunter, Emika is hired by Hideo to help him find errors in Warcross. The promise of having her debt paid for and a handsome payment thereafter is more than enough incentive for Emika. She joins her teammates and competes against other players in the annual game, while also hunting another hacker. As Emika becomes more involved in the games, she also becomes closer to Hideo, who has a troubling past that he has yet to terms with.
Warcross was one of my favourite books of 2017: virtual reality, Tokyo, high stakes and bounty hunters, do I need to continue? One of my favourite aspects of Warcross is the diversity of the characters, many of whom are from different backgrounds, are of different race and are LGBTQ. Marie Lu has created a fast-paced inclusive world where all gamers can play Warcross regardless of disability (Emika’s team captain is in a wheelchair). I was addicted to this book from the opening chapter and I can say with certainty that this book will appeal to a wide audience. I would recommend this book for readers 15+.