Warcross by Marie Lu – Colorful Adventure Set in Japan’s Gaming World

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Book Review: Warcross by Marie Lu– Colorful Adventure Set in Japan’s Gaming World

(This post does contain affiliate links; if you buy anything through these links, I'll receive a small percentage of the sale. Read the disclosure page for details.) 

Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 2017
Series: Warcross, book one
Genre: Fiction; Sci-Fi, YA Fiction
Source: Purchase
Blogger | Goodreads | Wordpress
Rating: ★★★★★

Life on the streets is where Emika Chen is most comfortable. She’s a master hacker who uses her skills to work in the shadows as a bounty hunter. In the world of online gaming, tracking down illegal gamblers is what keeps clothes on Emika’s back. In her world, the headlines are currently following the international Warcross games, a championship virtual series of games that only the most elite play. When, Emika decides to play and hacks into the game, overnight, her anonymity vanishes.

Fearing retribution, Emika prepares to disappear only to receive a job offer from the creator of Warcross. Hideo Tanaka is looking for someone with Emika’s particular set of skills. He believes someone else is breaching the game's security protocols, and it’s up to Emika to discover who… before something goes horribly wrong.

Oh my goodness! This book. What to say, and where to start? These are the important questions as I sit here and ponder answers. Books that use the world of gaming aren’t my cup of tea. I’ve never been a gamer nor do I foresee this changing. As 2017 wound to its close, I wanted to complete reading one or two other novels, and one of those was Warcross. A novel I found immensely entertaining. As I raced through the adventure that is Warcross’ world, I realized once I’d stepped inside its pages this was the kind of colorful world this work of fiction thrived in.
“...beauty can make people forgive a thousand cruelties.” ― Marie LuWarcross
The adventure of the story is one thing, but perhaps as I’ve thought about the book for these past months, it's the characters who've been most present. They’re all, appropriately, shadowed in mysteries because we’re not meant to instantly trust anyone. Lu does a masterful job in her delivery of this emotion. We vacillate between trusting some of the characters, to wondering if that trust is misplaced or if we should trust those we never question. This is particularly true of one specific character, who I suspect we’ll learn more of in book two – whether good or bad.

Speaking of that sequel, can we talk about the fact that I didn’t realize this was part of a duo!! Like there I was, racing towards the end of the novel, believing everything was about to wrap up happily for this type of story. Then, bam! Nothing is resolved, and instead the reader is hit by a cliffhanger and the “big” secretive reveal. Needless to say, I was not happy. Especially since at the time I finished reading, there was no news about the upcoming sequel.

Emika, as a leading character, is fascinating. In fact, though it's her we best get to know, I do wish we'd gotten to know her a bit better. The plot jumps right into the main story cue, which is the Warcross games, and as a result, we don't see Emika in her natural environment as a bounty hunter. It's an idea I felt could have been played with more with the potential to add more to the fabric of the story. Nonetheless, as the first novel by Marie Lu I've ever read, I couldn't have asked for a better expereince. 

Colorful word-building sets up what is, an exciting and dangerous world inside Warcross. Enter if you dare.

Synopsis: 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. - Goodreads

Coming Next from Marie Lu, WILDCARD: Emika Chen barely made it out of the Warcross Championships alive. Now that she knows the truth behind Hideo's new NeuroLink algorithm, she can no longer trust the one person she's always looked up to, who she once thought was on her side.

Determined to put a stop to Hideo's grim plans, Emika and the Phoenix Riders band together, only to find a new threat lurking on the neon-lit streets of Tokyo. Someone's put a bounty on Emika's head, and her sole chance for survival lies with Zero and the Blackcoats, his ruthless crew. But Emika soon learns that Zero isn't all that he seems--and his protection comes at a price.

Caught in a web of betrayal, with the future of free will at risk, just how far will Emika go to take down the man she loves? – Goodreads, September 2018

Amazon | Goodreads


  1. This sounds so good! I've heard some things about Warcross but never actually looked into the synopsis or anything like that, but now I'm going to go check it out!

    1. YAY! Hope you discover a good story if you do decide to look into this one, Hanne; it really took me by surprise, which in this case, I loved. :)


Have a thought? Don't be shy, go ahead and leave one... or two... or three! I reply to every comment. If you're new to the blog, please don't hesitate to introduce yourself and your blog - we love chatting around here!

Feedback and every comment is appreciated and read - I always leave a response; your opinions are respected and I ask that you show mine the same courtesy.

(If you post under “anonymous,” please leave a name. If you don't have a Google account, you can type your name into the Name/URL and if you have no site, just leave "URL" blank.)

If you are still reading my ramblings, thank you for following this little blog and for being one of its supporters. I’ve enjoyed getting to know each of you, friends!

Latest Instagrams

© Finding Wonderland. Design by FCD.