The book Warcross by Marie Lu takes readers from today’s modern technology to something just around the corner; glasses that project a virtual reality around you. With this technology, the world has evolved to become dependent on the game simulated, Warcross, and along with it also comes dangerous black markets and competitions.
Warcross is about a bounty hunter who, in order to pay off debts in futuristic New York, catches others seeking to hack and steal from the virtual reality around them. When she accidentally hacks her way into a worldwide competition, Emika Chen suddenly finds herself in Tokyo and hired to attempt to prevent another hacker from ruining the global phenomenon.
The writing of the book is playful and action based. While it doesn’t stand up against various other books I’ve read, the writing is a refreshing change from more serious tones that writers tend to delve into when writing a book around computer science and hacking. Instead, it focuses more on the description and investigation of a world where your life can be a video game. Everything in the story is beautifully vivid and full of color.
The game of Warcross not only places the characters into the game but also the readers. It is designed to be something along the lines of Temple Run and other classic phone video games. The goal of the game is to steal a crystal from the other team’s captain in a generated world. If your avatar dies, it is respawned in a random location on the map. Although it is has a classic video game style, it has its own elements such as a team of five, each with their own abilities to work towards the goal.
The characters, for the most part, are just as colorful as the world they live in. Emika Chen, the main character, is quite literally so with a sleeve of colorful tattoos and rainbow hair. She’s a survivor; creative, brave, and an expert hacker. The other characters are just as diverse as you would hope when they are participating in a global competition from all over the world. The only character I had any issue with was Hideo Tanaka, the mysterious creator of the game with a dark past, who seemed a little too withdrawn from being relatable.
Still, the plot was driven well by the necessity to find the reasoning behind someone hacking the games and later preventing their final move. Although the plot was good, I kept wanted to delve into the world of video games and virtual reality and learn about it more than I wanted to learn about the plot itself. Luckily, much of the plot revolves around this new virtual reality world. The story, in the end, explores how far technology can go before it turns from being just part of everyday life to life itself; as well as who you can trust.
As most books do, this book ends in a cliff-hanging revelation, and I’m definitely looking forward to the sequel.