I bought Marie Lu’s Warcross at the same time as The Last Man. It felt a little bit Ready Player One meets Infomocracy. Basically, it sounded good and fun. And to a large extent it was – it was a good fictional romp. However, it’s not something that we haven’t seen before, and that’s its weakness.
So, the plot. The world is our world, farther into the future. A virtual reality game/world has spread far and wide. It is the annual Warcross tournament, the world wide game that millions play. Our intrepid hero, is a young, down on her luck hacker/bounty hunter. She was orphaned when young and is about to be turfed from her apartment. In a moment of desperation, she tries a hack during the live Warcross tournament and, well, her life swiftly changes. She is now going to be in the Warcross tournament, as a member of a team competing in the tournament but also searching for someone who may be undermining the integrity of the the virtual realm.
AN THEN IT GETS TOTALLY ADORABLE. Because the person who created Warcross is a young man (only a few years older than our intrepid hero Emika Chen). I WON’T SPOIL IT BUT IT’S ADORABLE (mostly).
It’s super easy to love Emika Chen.
Most of the action is propelled along by the nature of the tournament and the mission that Emika is on for Hideo Tanaka (the billionaire creator of Warcross.) There’s not a dull moment, it just nicely rolls along. There’s only a little bit of tension between characters – clearly some when she encounters the people involved in attacking Warcross (or I should say the Neurolink technology that allows Warcross to happen) – and then others between other players in the tournament.
There’s also lots of women! There is Emika herself, who take up the lion share of the plot and action, but also one important supporting character (from her Warcross team) and several of the other Warcross players. On top of that, the characters are from all over the place, it’s diverse and representative of what a worldwide tournament would provide.
I read it in basically a day, it was fast and easy. It’s not super challenging but it’s super delightful. It’s not terribly complex but it’s fun. It’s full of lovely, entertaining, believable characters. It has an interesting and coherent plot. It does also come with a pretty hefty plot twist. This would lead to a pretty rad sequel, so I am kind of hoping there is one. MAKE THIS HAPPEN. READ THE BOOK.