In the first book in the a series Marie Lu takes readers to a world where everyone lives for an online game called WarCross:
WarCross entered the internet gaming scene ten years ago and now it is not just a game it is a way of life for most people. Everyone logs into the game several times a day or never really leaves the game at all. Emika Chen is working as a bounty hunter to make mends meet but the bounty hunting business is a competitive one. Emika is also a computer hacker and she has figured out how to steal some of the most sought after weapons in the games. Emika dares to hack into the WarCross Championships and she succeeds but also accidentally glitches herself into the game. Convinced she is going to be arrested or kicked off of WarCross for life, she is confused when the creator of the Game Hideo Tanaka wants to meet her and ends up offering her a PI job as well. Her task is to uncover the security problem and threat to the Championships and to stop it at all cost, but Emika investigations uncovers an even more sinister plot that could change the world as she knows it.
This is the first book that I have read by Marie Lu and really only the second book that I have read that was really video game/online world based. Overall, I enjoyed this book. I thought that Lu did a good job of setting up the world, characters and the whole world's love aka obsession with WarCross. Once again it is a video game that is more than just a game, it is a way of life for everyone. Even Emika does most of her PI work through War Cross and has a very unique ability to track people using it.
Emika is a fun character, though her age shines through many of the decisions she makes and her ability to be distracted by Hideo. However, I like her intelligence and her ability to think outside the box even within the realm of War Cross. This is probably her greatest asset that she has, she totally see the world differently than other. She also has an amazing ability to process a large amount of information in a short amount of time, also a great quality of a PI who mainly uses computer information.
This book is an interesting mix of many of the popular YA novels out there and takes elements from each. You will find yourself thinking as you read, oh that is very similar to this book and oh I like how she adapted that element to fit here. I do not mean any of this in a negative way, just Lu has found a way to emerge several of the ideas and plots of these books into one place.
The one aspect that I thought took away from the overall interesting story was the relationship between Emika and Hideo. I questions if Lu really needed it in there in order for Emika to complete her job as a PI for Hideo. Truly it served as more of a distraction than anything else, maybe that was deliberate, but I wish that Emika spent more time doing her job or preparing for the games than getting to know Hideo better.
I enjoyed my venture into Warcross especially some of the twists that Lu threw in along the way (though I did see most of them coming), and I look forward to reading the next book in the series.