by Marie Lu

Paperback, 2018

Call number



Speak (2018), Edition: Reprint, 416 pages


Romance. Young Adult Fiction. Young Adult Literature. HTML:From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu�when a game called Warcross takes the world by storm, one girl hacks her way into its dangerous depths. 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 Warcross players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty-hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. 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. Convinced she�s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game�s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year�s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika�s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she�s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire. In this sci-fi thriller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu conjures an immersive, exhilarating world where choosing who to trust may be the biggest gamble of all.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member titania86
Ten years ago, Warcross took the world by storm and became a way of life for many. As time went on, the game and its hardware became more sleak, more expensive, and even more immersive than ever before. This game can be entirely in the virtual world with the mind or overlaying the real world in
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enhanced reality. Emika Chen struggles in this world with very little money after her father died, leaving her with mountains of debt. She dropped out of school and turned to hacking and bounty hunting for those playing and gambling on Warcross illegally. When her latest target was stolen out from under her, desperation takes hold and she successfully exploits a weakness in the code and steals a very expensive item while an official player of the opening game of the international Warcross Championships. This maneuver puts her in the game in front of millions of people and she expects to be arrested. Instead, she's recruited as an undercover player to discover who has been hacking into the game.

I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, the world feels realistic and Emika is a main character to root for. Warcross is an interesting concept that would be hugely popular as we see in real life with games like Ingress and Pokemon Go. Enhanced reality would make a huge splash if it could be done in a realistic way, which is vaguely figured out in the book by using the power of the brain to visualize the virtual world. Like the real world, impoverished people don't have easy access to this popculture movement monetarily and also having available time to play the game. They are essentially removed from a huge part of this society. Emika copes well with poverty, but the need for money to survive and keep a roof over her head takes up her whole life and ultimately what pushed her to steal ingame, setting everything else in motion. I wanted her to succeed when it seemed like the whole world was working against her.

Where the novel falls apart for me is in the gameplay and Hideo Tanaka. Regular MMORPG roles are as follows: tank to take damage and protect others from taking damage, healer to keep the group alive, and damage dealing (or DPS) to kill the monsters or opponents with powerful attacks. There are other roles as well, but these are the main ones that make a group successful. Warcross plays lip service to these roles, but then doesn't have these roles act like they should at all. Another team is known for being versatile, but there were no examples of their team following their chosen role. Emika's class was an architect, which didn't really make sense especially when she carried tools on her belt (including an unwieldy chainsaw for some bizarre reason) that she never used. Then, Hideo is an awful character from the beginning, cold and emotionless. Later, he out of nowhere admits his love for her which commences a relationship built on absolutely nothing beyond him being a genius and rich. By the end of the novel, I didn't care about their relationship which was pretty central to the whole thing.

Warcross had a lot going for it, but the stilted romance and nonsensical gaming roles that are central to the novel made everything fall apart for me. I could predict exactly what would happen by about half way through the novel so nothing was remotely surprising. I most likely won't be continuing with this series, but I could be convinced to give the second one a try since it was a fast read.
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LibraryThing member VioletBramble
I can't remember why I bought this book about a video game - I'm not into gaming and actually I've never really played a video game. Maybe it was a book bullet here or at Litsy? Maybe because I really like the cover design? Whatever it was that made me buy this book I'm happy for that influence. I
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enjoyed this book; the action moves quickly, the characters, for the most part, act like normal people and the gaming sequences move quickly and aren't slowed down with tons of technical jargon.
Emika Chen, a teenage orphan and computer hacker makes a living as a bounty hunter. Or, at least she tries to make a living at bounty hunting. She's on the verge of being evicted from her apartment. The story is set in a future where most people spend their time in VR games or betting on VR games. Emika logs into the opening ceremony of the Warcross Championship games. She attempts a hack that will get her closer to the action. The hack glitches and she shows up in the stadium, visible to everyone. She is summoned to Tokyo to speak with Hideo Tanaka, billionaire and Warcross creator. He asks her to become a wild card player in the game to discover the identity of someone, probably an insider or player, that has been hacking into the game. She accepts his offer. Despite her history of experience dealing with those who deal on the Dark Web, Emika finds herself in more danger than she bargained for.
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LibraryThing member Tiffy_Reads
Omg this book.
LibraryThing member deslivres5
Loved Emika's backstories and could easily envision the futuristic NYC and Tokyo created in Warcross. Only part which seemed far-fetched to me was how quickly the romance starting happening: I could understand the idol-worship side, but not the other.
LibraryThing member mamzel
Thrilling story of a young woman who is hired to learn who is trying to kill the owner/creator of a huge VR world. A highly anticipated team competition of the game Warcross is overshadowed by the threat of violence and hacking. Emika Chen is very talented at hacking computers and works as a bounty
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hunter earning money by tracking down hackers. She is hired by Hideo Tanaka, a young billionaire who sets up the Warcross Championships where teams of players compete in virtual worlds. Emika has to find who is threatening Hideo and the VR system.
The action scenes are thrilling and imaginative as new arenas and combat situations are explored.
I would recommend this book to gamers, especially lady gamers (like me).
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LibraryThing member ethel55
Immersive is the word I keep seeing on the back of the book blurbs and reviews, and it's a pretty apt description of how you feel reading this. This seems to be set just far enough into the future to make it sci-fi, but not so far that kids aren't still referencing Harry Potter, Mario Kart or Sega.
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Emika Chen is a perfect heroine for this story. Her own life is on the skids, life in New York looks dicey as she continues to hope bounty jobs will pay off her back rent. She's alone, gutsy and has an incredible mind for gaming. Warcross is a world wide phenomenon, accessed by glasses whose technology is created the same young man who made the game, Hideo Tanaka. It's not hard to suspend disbelief and watch as the entire world becomes riveted on (and bets on) the Warcross championship. Lu does what she does best, and creates such great visualizations via words about the real world and the game world they are playing in with avatars.
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LibraryThing member Jessika.C
Maybe I'm really grasping at straws but I feel like this is Marie Lu's best book yet. *coughs then whispers*: I still haven't finished The Young Elites trilogy...ooops. But it's how my brain works for some reason. I didn't finish the Prodigy trilogy until a few months leading up to the release of
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the first book for Young Elites so...

Warcross follows Emika Chen, 18 year old bounty hunter, brilliant hacker, orphan, Potterhead and Warcross enthusiast. From the age of 11, an interview with then 13 year old Hideo Tanaka changed Emika's life forever. Since then she's admired the rich billionaire from afar even though her life since her father's death has been a hard one. After missing out on five bounties in a row, short on cash, she does a thing that glitches her into the most important Warcross game of the year earning her the attention of the creator whom she's basically fangirled over for years. When he offers a job to hunt down another hacker that wants to take down the virtual world he's created with a crazy high amount of money Emika finds herself immersed officially and now legally into a game that has influenced her life in more ways than one. Set in a futuristic Tokyo where, if you have the goggles or lenses to view the virtual reality, there are billboards on buildings playing ads to your specific interests, the name and level of WC on the tops of everyone's heads, and cute robots that learn your specific tastes in order to cater to you your favorite foods. God I loved this book.

It could be that I've been influenced by the binge I've been on watching a ton of anime shows but it almost played out like an anime in my head. I was reminded of Sword Art Online, .hack, Log Horizon, but what was nice that even though they all have the same RPG driven story they all have such an originality that kept me engaged. Warcross took Emika to crazy places that I would never have thought about (I'm such a n00b) so I tend to forget about the darknet. She wasn't a special snowflake that just knew how to hack overnight it took time and practice to get to where she was at. When she entered the Warcross Wild Card draft to enter a roster Emi wasn't the best player on the team, she still had to train just as hard and diligently as the seasoned players. Almost all the side characters held my attention no matter how small. Ash was a great captain and despite his IRL circumstance in a wheelchair he still gets a firecracker like Hammie to really like him. Roshan is the best, I would be honored to have him on my gaming team. Hideo is the typical you don't realize how much of a bae he is until he opens up about his past, and we get more than one shirtless scene *evil laughter*. Plus Lu created such a relatable villain to the point that when his intentions are revealed you are left in a grey area confused on what side you would be on. In the end, there was not a single character I actively disliked.
This book has such great elements it blows my mind how much I liked it. I'm not a potterhead but it had nice nods for the fangirls. It also caters to Mario Kart enthusiasts (I mean "Link edition" I would LOVE to play as Sheik and use a blue shell on Ganondorf haha). I'm a forever n00b because I never get too deep into a single video game, I just learn how to win then drop it. I don't like RPG games but I do like watching them and have an appreciation for the game tournaments. Reading this book was just fun in general. Also is Ash's brother's name a nod to Prodigy's Day? I mean, Marie Lu used the same freaking name unless I already forgot :P

Now one thing that really made me connect this story to anime is because of the romantic aspect of it all. I may be doing some spoiling but in anime, especially the romance genre it starts out with the main characters meeting each other in an unconventional circumstance or something that makes it seem like the two don't like each other. Then slowly as time goes by you catch glimpses of one or the other or even both sometimes making googly eyes at each other until something makes the cold and condescending one open up about his feelings making the girl dream and fantasize about kissing his problems away. Now normally I wouldn't mind this because I am a sucker for romantic animes but when you're reading page after page about how deep Emika is getting into what she's doing for Hideo it's kind of annoying how many blinders she put on herself. And also I'm getting tired of this one little thing I've been noticing more and more frequently: I've been saying this for a while butif there's no body then it's usually because the presumed deceased family member is not dead. Sasuke was kidnapped but never found there has to be a reason he keeps being brought up. But good on Lu for not bringing him up for almost half the book letting me enjoy a little suspense as to the identity of Zero. I almost thought it was Ken or Hideo himself lol. But I also wasn't too keen on the romance either. I mean, if I met Joe Keery I would totally declare my love for him within weeks but for him to reciprocate and have me meet his parents that soon? HA. I know why Emika was in wuv with Hideo but I never got a sense as to why he liked her so much. I like figuring out what the ending of a story is going to be before getting there but once the trace of a trope is found I can easily lose interest but luckily this story kept me engaged especially with the growth Emika showed from being a loner that doesn't take orders into a girl who becomes a team player.
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LibraryThing member cecilywolfe
I did not see that twist at the end coming - what an incredible story! I can't wait for book two!
LibraryThing member amandacb
This is one of my favorite books! It felt like an updated version of the movie HACKERS (I'm probably dating myself here). Love, love, love the characterization of Emika and the whole world-building. A supreme effort from Lu and I cannot wait until the next book, as this one definitely leaves you on
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a cliff-hanger.
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LibraryThing member acargile
If you like computer games, read on! This novel is a 2018 Lone Star selection.

Warcross is a computer game that has swept the world. There is a tournament that is much like the Olympics where competitors from around the world earn a place. Emika Chen is a bounty hunter who hunts down people who
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gamble on the game illegally. Being a bounty hunter is competitive; if someone calls in the criminal first, you don’t get the money. You have to be fast and good. Emika is down to her last bit of money, and she and her roommate are about to be evicted. In desperation, Emika accidentally glitches herself into the opening games of the Warcross Championships.

Emika becomes famous and her life immediately changes. She should be arrested for hacking in; but instead, the creator Hideo Tanaka asks her to come to Tokyo and be a spy to increase security for the game. She finds out her debts have been paid and she can now be in the elite world of Warcross. She’s placed with a team she’s admired before and quickly discovers that there’s a lot more going on than anyone realizes and it’s dangerous.

Marie Lu wrote the Legend trilogy. Warcross is book one of a duology. There are a lot of details and clues, so stay on your toes as you read. If you like video games, you will love this world where video games seem to rule. I thought it was a very good novel. I like Legend better, but I liked this nonetheless.
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LibraryThing member nbmars
In this future world, Hideo Tanaka, 21, invented the game of Warcross when he was only thirteen. Now, global surveys show that 90 percent of people aged 12-30 play on a regular basis. The official Warcross Championships attract more than 200 million viewers, and Hideo is very, very rich.

One of the
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Warcross fans is Emika (“Emi”) Chen, an 18-year-old "bounty hunter" in New York City. Bounty hunters chase petty criminals in return for monetary rewards from the NYPD. There is fierce competition among hunters, so Emi isn't always successful. But Emi needs money badly; she is behind on her rent and can barely afford to eat. She decides to take a chance to get rich quick during the Warcross Championships; she hacks into a game to steal a valuable game piece for resale. But she doesn’t anticipate that she will actually insert herself into the game, with the whole world watching.

Thus she comes to the notice of Hideo himself who tries to contact her, but she avoids the outside world at first. She fears for her future - will she go to jail? But Hideo only wants to offer her a job. He has been plagued by someone messing with the Warcross code, and thinks Emi just may be talented enough to help him find the culprit. He has her enter the “wild card” draft for extra players, and Asher Wing, the team leader from whom she stole, selects her; he too knows talent when he sees it.

Emi trains for the games with Asher’s team, and, operating sub rosa on Hideo's behalf, she simultaneously investigates a bad guy Hideo calls “Zero.” Meeting with Hideo for periodic progress reports, she gets to know Hideo, gradually breaking down the walls he keeps around him and his private life.

But as Emi comes closer to finding Zero, we encounter a number of twists and turns in the plot. Suddenly Emi, so adept in "alternate" worlds, doesn’t know what is real anymore, nor what is true. The book ends with the promise that the story will continue.

Discussion: While I am not into gaming at all, Lu manages to make the games impressively appealing and understandable, situating much of the action and tension effectively inside them. The ethical issue that stymies Emi is one that will be recognizable to those who follow politics today: can you take a chance passing rules and laws that may sound good in theory, but in the wrong hands might give too much power to people with evil intent?

Evaluation: The twists weren’t so opaque that most readers won’t guess them, but that doesn’t detract much from the story’s overall appeal. The characters are interesting, well-written and multi-dimensional, and of course there is romance as well, in case gaming isn’t enough to hold your attention. My only complaint is one common to (mostly young adult) novels with physical encounters - what is with the male character always “growling” when the female “bites” him? I could see it in vampire novels, but …. Maybe my own experience is just too limited….

Nevertheless, I look forward to the next “installment” in the series!
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LibraryThing member amabilialifestyle
If you fancy being transported into a fictional world within a fictional world, this book is for you. If you like a main character who can really show others who’s boss just by being her smart self, this book is for you. In fact, if you enjoy something as general as amazing, super descriptive and
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creative writing, then this book is most definitely for you.
Warcross was written for you, my dear fellow book lover, as it was made for me.
It follows Emika Chen - rainbow-colored-hair, all around super chick – around a futuristically situated world where a virtual reality game, the one-and-only famed “Warcross”, becomes more of a reality for some than real life actually is. She’s a bounty hunter, a hacker, and most importantly a teenager trying to make ends meet after her father dies with massive amounts of debt leftover to pay.
Warcross, to her, was a way of life. Without it she wouldn’t get paid and probably would be rotting away on a street corner. That’s why when she accidentally glitches herself into the next Warcross championship, life as she knows it… will never be the same after Hideo Tanaka (aka Warcross creator, aka genius, aka most times annoying, aka predictable love interest but overall a puppy who cooks and takes care of his parents, also, he is a liar and that makes him real but so infuriating) calls her as a wildcard in the next games. She is suddenly thrown into a darker world, with the promise of the light at the end of the tunnel being just beyond her reach (also 10 million dollars which made me go on a mental rant because c'mon Hideo, why?! stop bribing people with money already, geez).
I went into this book as blindly as you can get. Seriously, I didn’t even read the description. At first, I thought this would be a slightly-twisted version of Ready Player One because when it started mentioning glasses and virtual stuff I was all like… !!!. Turns out I wasn’t close. The two books touch on some similar technology but they cannot be compared in the slightest, story-wise. This is a YA, pure YA.
The thing I loved about this book was the immense detail Marie Lu used to describe the world. I have no knowledge whatsoever in coding and programming, even less with VR, but it made me want to understand Emika and the decisions she had to make throughout the story. This book was like a pure shot of adrenaline, all set in an alternate world where technology rules. Even though in reality, I’m not a huge fan of unnecessary tech but that’s beside the point. There are also lots of quotable quotes (??) in this book that I want to reuse.
The ending though!! I have to say that my senses have been honed down to a sharp point when it comes to guessing endings and plot twists (because I’ve read so much, in so many genres) but man… this ending caught me off guard.
Half-completely (hey I guessed Sasuke would make a comeback and he did, I just never imagined him ACTUALLY BEING ZERO and wanting to murder his brother).
I don’t want to spoil anything else so I won’t say anything else about it. Just, wow. That ending.
Also, major cliffhanger so beware.
Anyways, this is great for when you’re in the mood of something not quite like any other books in YA but still want that teenager-y feel to the story. I found myself falling in love with the idea of the game, not so much with the characters (though Emika was pretty great, she just seemed to be conveniently placed throughout). Also, be prepared to fangirl over the Phoenix Riders because they’re absolutely amazing and the diversity is insane. I give this a whopping 5 stars.
Great job you genius Marie Lu. Now give me the sequel, pretty please.
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LibraryThing member BillieBook
It's a good, high-energy quick read and Emika is an awesome protagonist, but it feels cobbled together from a lot of other things—The Hunger Games, Ready Player One and even the Wachowskis' Speed Racer movie (and probably a zillion things I'm too old or uncool to recognize)—and never quite
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comes into its own. The "twist" at the end was so obvious that I was disappointed when it happened. However, all that being said, there is a scene at the very end of Emika wrestling with her internal conflict that made me excited to read the second book. Marie Lu has a talent for writing compelling characters who do the wrong things for the right reasons and making readers understand an empathize with their choices. She has left Emika facing a dilemma where either choice she makes is going to have some long-reaching negative repercussions and that, that is the story I'm looking forward to reading.
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LibraryThing member lispylibrarian
Warcross is everything. If you're a Marie Lu fan, there is no surprise that this book grabs you by the heart early and never let's go. It changes the way you think of the world and what good and evil really are.

Emika Chen is a broke bounty hunter with $13 in her bank account with $8000 in credit
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card debt and three days away from being evicted from her apartment in New York. One day she glitches herself into the game, Warcross, and is thrown into a (real and gaming) world of both virtual and real reality where anything is possible. Her coding, bounty hunting, and Warcoss skills are put to the test when she is hired by the creator of the game, and my new book boyfriend, Hideo Tanaka, to help him stop a security problem. But her search goes in a different direction as she gets farther in.

I've never been so obsessed with the ideas in this book as I have any other. If the future has any similarity to Warcross' reality, I can't wait to see it.

I wish I could hug Marie Lu and tell her what a genius she is. This book is truly genius and can change the world. 💛
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LibraryThing member ewyatt
Amica Chen is struggling, working as a bounty hunter in NYC to try to get enough to make ends meet. When the billionaire creator of Warcross, the virtual reality game that everyone in the world plays, wipes out her debts and whisks her to Tokyo for a job, things get even more complicated. Amica is
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a great hacker and a frequent visitor to the Dark World, the underground beneath Warcross. Amica is looking for zero, a hacker who seems set on trying to destroy the annual Warcross games. Hideo and Amica develop a relationship.
The action and intrigue are compelling, but I did see the end (at least zero's identity) coming.
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LibraryThing member tartanlibrary
When a game called Warcross takes the world by storm, one girl hacks her way into its dangerous depths. For the fans of Ready Player One.
LibraryThing member watersgendry
4.5/5 stars.

Loved the world-building, especially as someone who has watched and played a lot of video games. The lines that blur between reality and augmented reality are fast becoming something similar to the world of Warcross, and this only heightened the realistic feel of the novel.

The pacing of
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the story was also appreciated, I read this book over the course of a few hours on a plane, and I never once was bored! The main cast of characters is diverse in a way that never feels forced, just an honest reflection of the way the world is. I look forward to reading the next book!
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LibraryThing member ChelleBearss
I’m not sure why I kept putting off reading this one. I chose it for Pop Sugar Prompt 42, A cyberpunk book, and it’s the second last one I need to finish to end the challenge. I’m almost glad that I kept putting it off as now I only have to wait two months until the sequel is released! This
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is one of those books that I wish I could finish and pick up the next one right away! 4🌟
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LibraryThing member kmartin802
Emika Chen is eighteen and a bounty hunter who tracks down Warcross players who bet illegally. She lost her beloved father when she was eleven and spent time in foster care. Now she is barely making a living and is within days of being evicted. She is an excellent hacker. While watching the
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beginnings of the current Warcross Tournament, she glitches in and becomes visible to all.

Fearing that she'll be arrested for disrupting the game, she is surprised when the game's creator Hideo Tanaka chooses to hire her instead. Someone is trying to sabotage the current tournament and Hideo wants her to find him and stop him.

Emika finds herself in Tokyo, a member of one of the sixteen teams chosen to play the current tournament, and falling in love with Tanaka who has been her idol since he first popped on the scene as the game's creator when he was thirteen. She also finds herself in danger as the mysterious villain Zero doesn't want his plans disrupted.

This book is filled with future technology and a game that is a world wide sensation. I loved the worldbuilding. I also loved Emika who is bright and capable. I wasn't at all prepared for the twist at the end or the cliffhanger ending. I can't wait to read the sequel to find out how things all work out.
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LibraryThing member LibrarianRyan
Emika has been dealt a rough hand in life. On her own at 18, in debt, criminal record, etc. Each day is just a numbers game as she hacks her way to finding bounties that have become too much for the local police to handle. But this is not the world as we know it. This is the future. Many people
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live in Warcross, a gaming, social media life experience. It is to the characters generations what the cell phone was to mine. It is a way of life, but when you have been banned from computer use… well, life is complicated. In an effort to survive by theft, Emika hacks her way into the biggest digital sporting event in the world. And gets caught. You would think this makes her a convict, and instead it makes her a celebrity. She gets to meet the young founder of the Warcross, and to play in the annual Warcross Games celebration. This is just the start of a wild and crazy novel with a cliffhanger ending that will leave you screaming NOOOOOOOO. MUST HAVE NEXT BOOK!

This book is part Ready Player One, with a similar world, but very different execution and story line. It’s also part Hackers (the young Angelina Jolie movie). Plus a little Speed Racer. If that sounds like a wild and crazy mix, then you are correct. It is a joyride. Yes, it has a romance that sometimes overshadows the bigger plot, but really it’s Baymax and Big Hero 6 to the rescue. Adventure, danger, and broken hearts await, but what a ride.
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LibraryThing member HeatherLINC
Wow! What a thrilling, action-packed book "Warcross" turned out to be. From the gorgeous front cover, right to the last page, I was hooked. Marie Lu did a fabulous job of creating a virtual world that connected gamers from across the globe to Tokyo to watch and compete in Warcross, a computer game
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that has everyone in raptures. Boy, were those games an adrenaline rush. I was on the edge of my seat when Emika and her team mates were playing.

I loved Emika; she was fantastic. She was a clever bounty hunter, an expert computer coder and a skilled hacker, AND she had rainbow coloured hair, a sleeve of tattoos and an electric scooter - what more could you want in a female protagonist? Also, she wasn't your typical geeky, awkward girl. Instead she was confident, independent and able to think on her feet. The secondary characters were also great, especially her team mates and Hideo, Emika's love interest and creator of Warcross.

The plot was gripping and a real roller-coaster ride with a number of twists and turns along the way to keep this reader guessing. Although, I knew who Zero was fairly early on, my goodness, I DID NOT see the end at all, and now I have to wait until mid to late 2018 to find out what happens next. A terrific Year 8 Literature Circles contender.
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LibraryThing member Dariah
I enjoyed the first two thirds of this book very much! It is well written, and I liked the main characters instantly. The end, though, was a complete surprise to me, and regrettably I did not like this twist in the plot. Nevertheless, I am curious how the story will evolve in the second volume. And
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one is always free to imagine alternative endings...
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LibraryThing member lindamamak
A young girl is able to enter into the Warcross games after she shows rare talents for beating the game. If you loved Ready Player One you will like this
LibraryThing member jmchshannon
The hype is real, folks. Warcross really is as good as its rabid publicity campaign makes it out to be. The story is fantastic. Our heroine, Emika, kicks ass. The world-building is excellent, with a Ready Player One vibe that is exciting and fresh. It is as engaging a story as you will ever read
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and worth every second spent reading. The only problem is that it is over too soon, and you are left waiting for the next book.

In Emika, Ms. Lu creates a character behind whom girls of all ages can rally and from whom they can take inspiration. She is fiercely independent, capable, and hard-working. She does what she has to do to survive but maintains a code of ethics while doing so. Plus, she is brilliant and is not afraid to show it. She knows what her strengths are and plays to them through her work as a bounty hunter. Lastly, do I have to mention the fact that she is a hacker/coder? It is as if Ms. Lu took every single frustrating behavior and habit women tend to adopt in order to survive in a male-dominated society and used that to create the perfect female role model, for that is what Emika is.

Don’t get me wrong. Emika is not perfect. She admits to flouting the law at times (see the glitch that drew international fame to her doorstep), and in spite of her efforts, she is barely surviving. She is quick to judge, quick to jump to conclusions, and inclined to work hard by herself rather than work smart with the help of others. Yet, the fact that she is not perfect only enhances her attraction as a role model as she reminds us to take the good with the bad, that life is not a fairy tale, and that all the hard work in the world may not mean easy living. What she does tell us is that it is only when we give up do we lose.

As fabulous as Emika is, with her mad gaming skills and eager bravado, it is the game of Warcross itself that makes the book come alive. The story takes place just far enough in the future to accommodate the newer VR technology which makes playing Warcross believable, but it remains current enough in everything else to create a world in which all readers will feel comfortable. Moreover, Ms. Lu excels at capturing not just the feel of the Warcross Championships but also the games themselves. Her descriptions make it easy to understand exactly what is happening at any given time, no matter how chaotic the scene. She provides a great example of effective scene building that allows readers to be right alongside Emika during the action.

The only disappointment I felt with Warcross is that I was able to predict the big secret well in advance, but I suspect that Ms. Lu made it an obvious choice for a reason. After all, once you understand and know all of the key players in the drama, it changes the dynamic of the group as well as the individual characters’ motivations. Such is the case here. In fact, the dynamic changes in such a way that the idea of bad and good gets turned on its head with no easy answers. Ultimately, Emika must decide for herself which side she wants to take and her reasons for doing so.

Warcross is an impressive story with plenty of girl power to attract even the most jaded of feminists. There is a slight romance story included alongside the action, but it does not detract from the overarching mystery or general adrenaline rush of the story. And what an adrenaline rush it is! Warcross is one of those novels you read quickly the first time because you cannot wait to know what happens but then go back and read it again more slowly to pick up all of the nuggets of insight or just writerly goodness Ms. Lu leaves for you. Plus, reading it multiple times is about the only way to make the wait for the second book more palatable.
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LibraryThing member purpledog
Warcross is totally in the vain of Ready Player One. In this book a new video has sweep the world and millions of people play everyday. Yet, there is a whole dark world lurking underneath where people bet on Warcross games illegally. This is how Emika Chen makes here living. She is a bounty hunter
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and she tracks down people who owe money on illegal betting and is paid a cash reward for every person she captures. But bounty hunting is hard work with little reward and now Emika desperately needs money.

Emika is also a brilliant hacker and on impulse she hacks a Warcross game and trouble soon comes knocking on her door. Maybe even more than a she can handle.

This is a good start to a YA Sci-Fi series. IF you liked REady Player One you will enjoy this one.
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Nebraska Golden Sower Award (Nominee — 2020)
Utah Beehive Book Award (Nominee — Young Adult — 2019)
Kentucky Bluegrass Award (Nominee — Grades 9-12 — 2019)
Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award (Nominee — Young Adult — 2019)
Buckeye Children's & Teen Book Award (Nominee — Teen — 2018)
Thumbs Up! Award (Top Ten — 2018)
Grand Canyon Reader Award (Nominee — Teen — 2020)
Arkansas Teen Book Award (Honor Book — 2019)
Colorado Blue Spruce Award (Nominee — 2020)
Blue Hen Book Award (Nominee — 2020)
NCSLMA Battle of the Books (High School — 2020)
Virginia Readers' Choice (Nominee — High School — 2020)
Westchester Fiction Award (Winner — 2018)
Volunteer State Book Award (Nominee — Middle School — 2020)
Iowa High School Book Award (Nominee — 2020)
Evergreen Teen Book Award (Nominee — High School — 2020)
Rhode Island Teen Book Award (Nominee — 2019)
Sakura Medal (High School — 2020)
International Thriller Writers Award (Nominee — Young Adult Novel — 2019)
Dragon Award (Finalist — 2018)
Best Fiction for Young Adults (Selection — 2018)
Read Aloud Indiana Book Award (High School — 2020)
Nerdy Book Award (Young Adult Literature — 2017)


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