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  • Marie Lu


I have to admit, this was a novel I picked up from the bookshop very quickly and I wasn’t really sure what it would be like. I was even tempted to change it, but I looked on goodreads and found no bad reviews, so I thought I would give it a try, and I am very glad I did!

I thought it would be quite similar to other dystopian books, however it had so many different aspects to it and was surprisingly thought provoking and had a much more emotional side to it than I imagined.

The novel was set in the future where a huge virtual reality game has taken over the world. Millions play it and it has changed the world hugely. For Emika Chen, a teenager who has had a unstable childhood and is struggling to pay for her life, Warcross is all she has. She has huge hacking skills and uses this to her advantage. Bounty hunting, hunting for the games criminals, is something she does regularly to try and win some prize money to live off.

However, her hacking goes too far and she hacks into the opening ceremony of the ‘Warcross championships’ and is suddenly the most talked about person in the world, and is taken to Tokyo to meet her idol, the games creator where she is asked to spy during this years games. Emika is fit for the job as she and the reader knows she has nothing to lose. Her corrupt life in the city to a luxury life in Tokyo is all she ever wanted. However, during her mission to hunt for someone much more powerful than any of her 'bountyhunts', she discovers secrets never crossed hers or the readers minds.

When I looked at the blurb and as I describe the plot, it sounds like a very basic sort of plot with not much emotion in and for younger readers. However, as the book went on, the meaning behind it is much more thought provoking than I expected and the twist is incredibly emotional. It turns out Emika is not doing a hunt like she has before, the things she finds create the book to have an immense about of depth and thought.

The one thing I didn’t like is the colossal explanation of how much luxury she got in Tokyo compared to her life before, which made her so happy. I personally didn’t think this was showing a very good message to young adults (which is the targeted audience for the book) as it gives off that having money and luxury is a good aim to have in life. Most agree that being successful is a very good aim, but the vast description of her luxury when she arrived in Tokyo is not only extremely rare, but also does not necessary make one happy and I thought that showing it did was the message give off.

However, Emika did at the beginning especially do everything for money but by the end her mind was changed. But again, this was when she had received money already and wasn’t worried about it anymore - a lot of her old problems had been solved. This is only my personal opinion and I know that the author was trying to exaggerate the juxtaposition of her two lives, I just thought there could’ve been another aspect to it showing that her old problems were not all solved as quickly as they were in the novel, by the billionaire creator of the games.

Saying that, I really did enjoy the book. It was gripping and insightful and I think it is a real must read for teenagers in the modern world. I especially liked it because it was so realistic, I can really imagine this virtual reality game existing and taking over the world like it did in the novel. The end message of the book was incredibly clever and thought provoking and like Emika, I still don’t know whether the game creators idea (which you will find out when you read the book!) would work. The author creates devils advocate to and for the idea, and not only can I imagine it really happening, but also working out whether it is genius or dangerous.

Overall, I really recommend the book despite my personal view of the vast comparison with poor to rich which linked with how content she was. The entire book, but especially the end twist, really made me think long after I had finished it. I definitely recommend it to ages 12-18.

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