Sci Fi, Sci Fi/Fantasy

Warcross by Marie Lu

The world changed 10 years ago when Hideo Tanaka made virtual reality a part of everyday life (and turned himself into a teenage billionaire). Emika Chen spends most of her time in the virtual reality world of Warcross (as do most people), but instead of leveling up she plays under a null identity bounty hunting for the police and trying to scrape by enough to pay her rent. When her bills (and back bills) pile up Emika decides to hack into the Warcross opening ceremonies, but finds herself in the game for the world to see. However, instead of having her arrested Hideo Tanaka flies her to Tokyo, enters her into the Warcross Championship as a wild card, and offers her a job, tracking down someone who has been trying to hack into and cause problems for Warcross.

Warcross is full of action complete with Warcross team battles (almost reminiscent of the Hunger Games, but only virtual reality deaths and regeneration), trips to the Dark World (an expanded version of today’s dark web), and even some real life close calls. Emika grows close to Hideo, while causing trust issues with her Warcross teammates, keeping secrets and ducking out of team events.

Most of this book read like a typical action/adventure (with a side of romance) novel; endangered lives, out smarting the genius bad guy (with more genius good guys), learn to work with her team, and end up with a billionaire. But as the end approaches readers discover everything may not be as it seems and Lu sets the stage for a sequel that has the potential to be more interesting; where who’s good and who’s evil isn’t cut and dry, calling into question age-old problems of privacy versus security and personal ease/comfort. Much of this world takes place in virtual reality and for many it is an escape from tough lives, what will people be willing to surrender to keep it?

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