Years ago I went through a YA dystopian phase. (Didn’t we all?) This, of course, means I read Legend back in the day. (Believe it or not, that was six years ago.) I then swiftly forgot about the series, though it came to mind recently when my younger sister told me she was reading it. Then I read Warcross, a surprising new edition to my favorites list. What an action-packed stunner! I forgot Legend long ago, but I have to reread it, as well as Lu’s other series, now.
When Emika Chen attempts to steal a valuable power-up to help pay her rent, she accidentally glitches into the international Warcross opening game. Instead of facing jail, this accident brings Emika to Tokyo as an undercover player in the Warcross competitions, tasked with competing while she looks for the source of an advanced cybersecurity threat.
Warcross has it all: a badass heroin, sci-fi spectacles, well written action sequences, meaningful diverse representation, romance and shocking reveals. I loved every second of it. Where do I start with my praise? It is all amazing!
So I guess I will begin with the action. Warcross, hands down, has some of the best action sequences I’ve ever read. The Warcross games are virtually reality gamer competitions. The game reads like a video games, with environment-driven scenarios thrown in, and character on character fights to make it exciting. There were a few rare moments of slowness in this book, but the speed always jumped up again when Emika played a Warcross game. This lends itself well to the sci-fi nature of this book. The games are spectacular to read. So is reality…high tech, downtown Tokyo is incredible.
The diversity in characters is particularly meaningful in this book. The lead, Emika, as well as her romantic lead, Hideo, are Asian. It has prominent gay characters: Roshan and Tremaine. Best of all, however, is Emika’s team captain Asher. Though he requires the use of a wheelchair, that obviously doesn’t prevent him from being a star player in the competitions.
Emika is my queen, and nothing can sway me otherwise. I came for the good reviews, but stayed for rainbow-haired, bounty-hunter goddess. A book is sometimes only as good as its lead, and Emika is the best.
The overall mystery of the book is the strongest draw. Who is destroying the virtual reality code? And, as their plan is revealed more and more, what is the motive?
I can’t reveal the villain of this book…it’s too good of a spoiler for me to think about revealing it directly…but the grand reveal is great for more than just the shock behind it. At the end of this book, Emika finds herself in the middle of a complicated ethical battle. I don’t want to discuss more…like I said, it is too good for me, the spoiler queen, to share!…but it leaves me excited. I am rarely this excited for a sequel. Marie Lu has a great sci-fi world and a fascinating ethical debate to explore after Warcross. I can’t wait for what comes next.