Tuesday, December 5, 2017

REVIEW: Warcross + Giveaway

Ever since I started getting into the book side of geek blogging, I’ve known about Warcross by Marie Lu. I had just finished Ready Player One and Warcross sounded so similar, I was ready for another adventure into a virtual reality game world. After leaving New York Comic Con, where I discovered a bunch of new books, Warcross was still at the top of my list of books I wanted to read as soon as possible. Once I got my hands on a copy, I couldn’t put it down.

After the jump, check out my full review of Marie Lu’s Warcross and stick around to find out how to win your own copy!

Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of Warcross courtesy of Penguin Random House. Opinions are my own.

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.

Warcross follows a hacker and bounty hunter named Emika Chen (Yay for badass female & Chinese representation!) As she enters the world championships of the most popular virtual reality game of all time. She is searching for a rogue hacker who has malicious intent for the game’s creator, Hideo Tanaka (Yay for Japanese representation!) Emika’s adventure not only takes her across the virtual universe but also to the streets of near-futuristic Tokyo (Yay for Tokyo!)

The main selling point of this book is Warcross itself. The game-within-the-book isn’t exactly like the Oasis of Ready Player One or The World of .hack, it’s actually a bit more like Super Smash Bros. It’s a five-on-five ball sport with power-ups set in different battle arenas watched by millions like today’s e-sports. There are other games, including Mario Kart, that are playable on VR glasses that power Warcross, but the titular game is still the main focus. I found all the real world stuff way more interesting than the virtual reality stuff. The Warcross game itself doesn’t sound exciting, I wouldn’t want to play it but that’s just me. Interestingly, Warcross segments are few and far between as the book spends its time elsewhere.

The real world stuff is a lot more intriguing as we see Emika bonding with her team and the game's creator. After Emika hacks her way into the opening ceremony of the Warcross Championships. As a result, she is pushed into the draft to conduct her investigation and winds up the number one draft pick. The catch is that she cannot let her teammates know her true intentions. One of them could be a spy working for the evil hacker. This causes tension as Emika blows off practices and bonding time to gather clues. Of course, the games aren’t as important as her mission, but she needs to stay in the Championships in other to continue investigating. In addition to the book being heavy with Asian representation, the captain of Emika’s team is also in a paralyzed and wheelchair bound. This disability is almost never brought up after the character is introduced - physical abilities are irrelevant on the digital battlefield.

Warcross was not the follow up to Ready Player One that I wanted, but it was still an exciting cyberpunk adventure. The diverse cast gives every reader someone to identify with. The mystery is far from obvious and ends with a surprising twist that will leave you waiting for the next installment. Warcross has action, romance, mystery, and more.

You can click here to order your own copy of Warcross, or enter the giveaway below!