Warcross by Marie Lu

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Tokyo. Online Game. Hacking. COUNT ME IN.

I just came across this book when I was searching for a good book to read after a two-week hiatus from the literary world. I was craving for something that will tune reality out for a bit. And my, oh my, did Warcross did the trick. Magnificently, even.

Let me tell you first that I don’t like reading fiction set in a non-realistic world (except for Harry Potter, of course!). I read, most of the time, to get a temporary break from reality. Ironically, i don’t like reading things if it’s not set in the real world. Like I probably just want to have an alternate reality, something that will distract me from mine but will let me still make me believe that things are possible to come true. Even though I don’t like reading them, I love watching them (The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, Divergent series, etc.). Another thing prolly why i don’t read that much dystopian fiction is because i prefer seeing them, watching the movements, action in its glory, rather than them being described in words. But this might change pretty soon.

I am not a gamer but I do have basic understanding about online and computer games, especially MMORPG games since my brother and a couple of my friends are engaged in these. I can only go so far as Super Mario and Crazy Kart (don’t laugh at me). But Warcross makes me want to tap into it!

Warcross is the first book I’ve read by Marie Lu. And I immediately was like, “Am I living under a rock? Where have I been all this time? Why didn’t I know or heard of her?” It is the first book in the Warcross series. Just my luck that the the first book I encountered is just published this year. Huhu. I need to wait for a year or more to read the next one. Oh the agony!

So much for the side comments, Warcross is about Emika Chen, a bounty hunter, who’s life changed in an instant after hacking into the live opening game of the Warcross Championships to take her chance in making some fast cash. Warcross is a popular virtual reality game that uses NeuroLink lenses to activate. Teams battle in a virtual reality world, designed to view and feel like the real thing, to get the artifact of the opposing team to win. However, her identity got exposed and she became an overnight sensation. And instead of punishing her or turning her to the police force, the young elusive billionaire and the brain behind WarcrossHideo Tanaka – offered her a job she can’t refuse instead. Not with a $10,000,000 bounty price. She is to hack into the Warcross game and take down Zero, the hacker that got into Warcross‘ system and Hideo’s biggest threat.

I love love love the setting! It’s kinda reality but at the same time it’s not. It’s like this world can really happen in the near future. Like everything in it is possible. We have come a long way from the dotcom boom. Online gaming, especially MMORPG games, are increasing in popularity among kids and teens and young adults that e-sports is an internationally recognized sport event already. Also, it’s set in Tokyo! My ultimate goal destination.

I especially love the technology that was illustrated in the book. Warcross is a world with no language barriers as everything will be translated for you real time. How cool is that? But at the same time, I also think that this kind of world is dangerous. NeuroLink is another awesome gadget which is not impossible to be created in the near future with all the crazy technologies being produced right now. This book portrays how technology can consume the worlds in the very near future and how one man can control the world. Literally speaking. And how dreadful that can be if placed in the wrong hands.

Let’s go to the characters. Obviously, there are past traumas which serve as the driving force of the characters – Emika and Hideo. The two main characters are well-described in the story. I just don’t get why Hideo will create and dedicate the whole Warcross and NeuroLink to Sasuke. Maybe we’ll more of his reasons in the next two books. Also, since he is a billionaire and a genius inventor at that, I am finding it hard to believe that he doesn’t know the whereabouts of his missing brother, Sasuke. Like if you’re doing all the things you do for someone missing, isn’t it on top of your priority to find that missing person first since you now have the capacity and means to do so? The other characters are just mentioned in passing. I wanna see more kinda background with Tremaine and Roshan though. Hope to see a bit more of their story in the next books.

And I can’t decide if it’s a good thing or a bad thing, I have this feeling that the story should be seen as complex, but while reading Warcross, everything sounds simple. There are plot twists in the story, scenes you didn’t expect coming. It even teaches you that even when you feel you’re given this great opportunity and is able to get inside the personal space of a person, you’ll realize in the end, you’re just a pawn in the big scheme of things. Just like how Emika discovered that Hideo is, technically, just using her for his plan.

The question lingering in Emika’s head in the end is also my question which I’m hoping to be fulfilled and elaborated in the following books. Who should you support? The sincere guy who can create a world without violence in exchange for your freedom and privacy, or the guy trying to stop it but using illegal and violent means?

Over all, I love the book! It introduced me to dystopian books and I think I’ll ready the previously written ones now. Hoping the sequel books be published soon! And i hope to see this series hit the theaters!

 

P.S. One thing I wonder though is in Goodread’s summary, Warcross’ obsession started ten years ago for the players, but if Hideo released it when he was thirteen and he just turned 21. Were is the two missing years? Is it just a mistake or will the future books span for two years. We’ll see.

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