Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Warcross (Warcross, #1)

Warcross was a highly anticipated read for me, with it's near- future setting and virtual reality vibe. I'm also a newcomer to Marie Lu's work so I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. This one definitely lived up to the hype. YA science fiction can be hit or miss for me but I'm happy to report that this one turned out great. And I'm ready to read on- I wasn't sure initially if this was a standalone or the beginning of a series, but judging from the ending I think we're going to see more. I sure hope so. 

Emika Chen is a hacker and bounty hunter. She plays a game called Warcross, which is a state of the art virtual reality game that has taken the world by storm, but she not only plays the game, she has hacked it as well. She's broke and is about to lose her apartment when she hacks into the game during the championship opening ceremonies, and by doing so comes to the attention of Hideo Tanaka, the creator of the game. Fearing that she'll be arrested or sued, she's surprised when he offers her a job and flies her to Tokyo.  

There's a reason he wants her services though, and as events play out she realizes there may be more at stake than simply a game. Emika ends up playing in the championships, alongside elite players, and even as she explores the dark undercurrent of virtual reality she also engages in thrilling, high- stakes games in some awesome virtual reality worlds. It's a heady mix of real world and fantasy, with just a smidgen of romance thrown in. The romance itself might have been unnecessary, but it does add a little zing to the proceedings. 

This was fun. I was a little underwhelmed at first as I didn't really buy a teenage hacker/ bounty hunter actually hauling in criminals, as well as navigating the Warcross version of the dark web, but other than that I liked everything here. Emika worked for me other than the initial skepticism, and Hideo mostly worked too as her patron and perhaps more? Emika found him cold and aloof at times, until they got to know each other, but I actually didn't see that. The other thing I really liked was the supporting characters- there are a fair amount of them introduced once Emika gets to Tokyo, but I never felt overwhelmed or like I couldn't keep the people straight. 

Standouts for me were Hammie, the team thief (every player has a role) and Kenn, a confidante of Hideo's, and there are even a few surprises towards the end. I love the idea of enemies coming together to face a common threat, and we get some of that here as well. All in all I think the team dynamics and the actual matches- set in alternate worlds- were some of my favorite parts of this one. Add to that a compelling question about technology and the effects it has on our freedoms, and you have a story that gets better and better as it goes. I had a great time with this, and other than a few reminders that the protagonist is young for what she gets into, I would wholeheartedly recommend this for anyone interested. 

37 comments:

  1. I have read and enjoyed Marie Lu's work. Did you know she used to write video games? The premise reminds me a little of Ready Player One, and I've heard good things. Glad to hear it ended up being a hit for you, too. I do enjoy a story where enemies team up together against a common threat, as well. Fab review, Greg! :)

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    1. I did not know that! And it is a bit like Ready Player One, a little less dystopian but otherwise very similar. I actually think I liked this one better? And that's one of my favorite tropes, when enemies band together, so I enjoyed that aspect a lot!

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  2. I have yet to read this author but I think with all the reviews I'v read for this, I will try something else of her's first before beginning this one. Wonderful review though, glad you did like it!

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    1. I would recommend it, the first two chapters maybe didn't really grab me, but before long I was pretty invested. I'm really curious about her other books now also!

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  3. This is SO hyped that I have to kind of wait a little while to read it or else I get bogged down by expectations but it does sound fun.

    For What It's Worth

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  4. Great review Greg! I was on the fence about reading this or not (I've never loved anything by Marie Lu), but I'm probably going to give this one a go now! I'm thinking of reading it for sci-fi month, we'll see! :)

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    1. I would give it a go! The game worlds/ battles are fun. This would be a great SF month read!!!

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  5. Yay so glad you liked this, Greg! I haven't read anything from Lu either but this one has gotten so much hype here recently that I think this would be a good intro into her work for me. I probably will find it a little unrealistic for a teenager to be a bounty hunter too but I love the idea of enemies joining together to fight a bigger cause. Great review!

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    1. I really did. Yeah the bounty hunter angle is a stretch, and I was the same way- I've heard so much about Lu and was looking for a good book to start with. This worked out great! And enemies coming together is one of my favorites. :)

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  6. I tried on of her other books, but that one was a miss for me, but I never give up on an author after just one try

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    1. I read just a smidge of one of her others, wasn't super impressed, but this one worked for me.

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  7. Oh YAY! I am so glad you enjoyed it, especially since you were looking forward to it. That is kind of the best feeling, yes? I pre-ordered it, so I am pretty excited too. Marie's books have been a bit hit or miss for me (I am still trying to make myself keep reading The Young Elites series, but I liked Legend) but this sounded so good. AND I am glad to know that the beginning is a little iffy, because then I won't be too worried, so thanks for the heads up! Great review :D

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  8. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it! I thought it was fun, and I think you may have liked it even more than I did, lol. I've only read Lu's The Young Elites before Warcross, and in both cases I thought her ideas were very derivative and full of cliches, but there's no denying she can spin an entertaining story.

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

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  9. This one has been in my mind since I saw the ARC in Netgalley! I started reading a book by Lu last year I think? and it was a DNF but she gets awesome reviews so I always wanted to try again. I'm not sure about a YA book about the dark web, though! BUT since you enjoyed it this much I'll keep it in mind!

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  10. as a retired gamer I am really looking forward to this one :D glad you enjoyed it, because it sounds like fun

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  11. I'm so excited for this one! I'm glad it lives up to the hype, I'm going to order it this week when the Stephanie Perkins books comes out. I'm so glad you enjoyed it because I think I'll enjoy it too!!!! :)

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  12. I've been wanting to read Marie Lu since Young Elites came out and this one really caught my attention. There definitely does seem to be some stretching of believability but it still sounds like you enjoyed it. I'll have to look for it at the library.

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  13. The YA sci-fis I've read have been hit or miss for me, too, so I'm glad to hear that this one is solid! I've been seeing Warcross everywhere and have been wondering if it's something I'd enjoy. I loved Ready Player One, so I definitely plan to pick this up.

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  14. I read this one over the summer and LOVED it. I still need to write my review. Darn it, but September has been awful crazy.

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  15. Glad to know this one is worth the wait and hype. The more I read about this one, the more I think it's a book I should give a chance. Thanks for sharing! :)

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  16. I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed this overall. Hammie was one of my favorite characters as well. I thought she was a lot of fun.

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  17. Glad you mostly loved this! I've also never read Marie Lu's books, but she's such a big name now and I think I really too ;) Warcross also looks amazing - and I love how you say the team dynamics are good. That really sounds like something I'd enjoy.

    Amy @ A Magical World Of Words

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  18. Everyone is raving about this book. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. :)

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  19. This is one of my most anticipated books, so I am so glad to hear you enjoyed it so much. It sounds absolutely fantastic! Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review!

    ~ Zoe @ Stories on Stage

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  20. It's good to know that the book starts out a bit slow (and that I'll have to suspend disbelief on a few things). I NEED to read a Marie Lu book, and this is going to be it. I've decided.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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  21. Glad to hear this lived up to the hype. It sounds like an exciting read how you describe it. I haven't read many books yet that deal heavily with virtual reality, so I am curious about that. Good to know the side characters are well done too. Great review! I might pick this up eventually as it sounds good.

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  22. I'm looking forward to this one. I haven't read Lu's last series but I know she writes good books and so this one sounded fun. I need to buy this one as a teenage hacker may not be totally believe but sounds pretty damn interesting doesn't it? Great review for a book I already knew I wanted (but forgot about).

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  23. Well it looks like this has worked out for you! I am still holding off. I am new to her work as well and wonder if this is the best intro or maybe on of her earlier works? I may circle around to this as soon the right mood strikes.

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  24. So glad to hear you enjoyed this one! I haven't read Lu yet but I really like this premise and the cover is pretty. Great review!

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  25. I've seen so many reviews of this book lately! I tend to like books you like so that's an added bonus. I can't remember - you've read Ready Player One right? It sounds a little reminscent of that - am I right or definitely wrong?

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    1. It's everywhere now! I did read Ready Player One, and it is similar, although RPO was more of a dystopian. I mean this one is a tad futuristic too, but not like RPO. And as much as I liked all the references and geek goodness of Ready, I think I liked this one slightly more?

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  26. I'm halfway through with Warcross and it's unbelievable how addictive Lu's writing is! I've liked all her books.

    So I'm happy that you liked it too! :) (It's nice when people like same books right)

    I think Goodreads claimed that there'd be a sequel.

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    1. Ooh, glad you're liking it too! This was my first Marie Lu.

      And I agree. Loved the team she was on can't wait to see what you think when you're done.

      Yay, I would definitely read that sequel!

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  27. I agree, the relationships were all so good here! Lu saying we'll get to see more of the Phoenix Riders in the sequel has me really excited since they took a little bit of a backseat to the mystery in this one. I was less skeptical of the romance, but it dealt in tropes that I actually like, so there's some bias at play there :)

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