Book Review: Warcross (Warcross #1) – Marie Lu

Title: Warcross
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication date: September 12th 2017
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction


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 players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing 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.


This is going to be a rant. (and a very unpopular opinion)

This went downhill soooooo fast!! Good beginning but terrible rest of the book. I actually truly feel so insulted by this book in so many ways.

  • The main romance in this book is just such a bad example
  • the technical aspect is so over the top and so wrong that it gets super frustrating and annoying
  • And I’m really disappointed by the Americanized version of Tokyo we get to see in this book.

I’m going to start of by saying a few positive things about this book. Obviously there are still some good things to be said about this book (otherwise I would have given it 1 star). First, the world building is sublime. It’s very detailed and original and I loved every second of that part of the book. The Warcross game is a simple game that is made super cool by adding a futursitic version of the virtual reality we already now in 2017. I also loved the overall concept of the book. We also have a lot of diverse characters, LGBT, many countries participating in the games. So far for the good points.

This book is about Emika, orphan, super smart, super cool (rainbow hair and everything) and a super unrealistic mega brained programmer girl. She has spent some time in jail (for helping out a friend of course, couldn’t have anything that sounds actually bad in a YA book…). The first thing that started bothering me is the technical aspect.
I’m currently in my last year of studying engineering in computer science and electronics and this book annoyed the living hell out of me after a while. Okay, I get it, it’s sci-fi and obviously not really supposed to be realistic. But this was just too much bogus. Was it really necessary to talk about programming like it’s some kind of magic? Like you can actually see code as some sort of magical blocs floating through the air in giant colourful blocks? What kind of drugs was she on? Also, is this kindergarten? It’s bad enough that most girls look at technical things like it’s a weird disseas. This book just confirms that programming needs to look like sexy magic or no girl will ever touch this book. It also lacked so many explanations, how does a pair of glasses connect to someones brain? How does a pair of glasses now that you are curling your toes? With the lenses we get a bit of a halfhearted explanation, but with the glasses we just have to believe that it somehow works…

Next I thought, wow, an American book that is situated in Tokyo for a big part? Cool cool cool! Sadly, Tokyo just felt like an American city and not like an Asian City. We got two names of Asian dishes (sushi and spring rolls) and that was about it. Knowing that this book was actually written by someone born in China makes this even more sad. Is it really necessary? I’m sure the American Youth also wants to read this book if it has some real Asian vibes to it.

The part that annoyed me the absolute most were the characters and the relationship. Talk about unhealthy and bad role models!
Hideo, Mutlibillionaire and handsome (can’t have an ordinary looking nerd of course) wonder child with lots of musceles and intense looking eyeballs. He reminded me so much of Christian Grey (and that’s a bad thing) brooding, overbearing, controlling, childhood trauma… You can just thick all the boxes (except the red room, it’s still a YA of course). There was so much wrong in the relationship between Emika and Hideo

  • She has been obsessed with him since she’s 12 and he’s her boss
  • He makes her important decisions for her without even consulting her and she isn’t even really mad about it. She has no gut at all and just lets him control her.
  • if she gets a bit mad he solves the problem by kissing her. Hard.(doens’t this remind anyone of fifty shades? no? come on!?) Like, she’s wining let me just make her horny.

And why is the guy even dating her? There is absolutely no story about why he loves her! There even is a company rule that says that no one is allowed to ask Hideo about his family. But apparently without even knowing the girl that well he decides to tell her everything… Okay… We only get one explanation:

I wanted to kiss you since I first saw you in that red dress.

So, first she’s just a normal very smart girl with crazy talent (which I still need to rant about, I’m acutally not even sorry). But only when she starts to dress nice he’s really interested? WHERE IS EVERY SELF PROCLAIMED FEMINIST NOW??? BTW, they lie to each other and decide to not tell each other things that could litteraly save the other persons life constantly, talk about a toxic relationship. I really don’t get why they are into each other…

Let’s talk a bit more about wonder child Emika. She’s really not that bright. Okay, she’s just brainless. She makes the most obvious wrong decisions EVER, all day long. She’s like: Oow, I have really important info that can save my boyfriend’s life, maybe I could tell him? Or naaah, it’s just too vague… Come on girl? Where is your super smart programming brain now? I tought logic thinking was your thing?
Other things that bothered me; at one point she looses valuable info, never heard of backing up things on a remote device that’s, maaaaybe.., not connected to the internet? Like, uuum, a oldschool hard drive? No internet, no way to get hacked, right doll? And also let’s not forget that she is able to get back some of her information that she lost, by accessing the left over “ghost code” of the information. What even is ghost code? Is it code in a light gray font instead of black? Why doesn’t she just use her “ghost code hack” on all her other lost files? Use your brain a bit more darling.

It’s a super high-tech world and everyone is 24/7 connected to their phone, but you’re going to make me believe that she never ever again checked in with her roommate she had to leave behind in the beginning of the story? She’s like, I lived with you for a couple of years, now I’m rich and famous and I really don’t want to have anything to do with your sorry poor ass. I’m just assuming this, why else would she completely forget about her the moment she boards a private plane?

Overall I really don’t get why everyone loves this book and is such a fan of the relationship. It’s like I read the wrong and disturbing version of the book and everyone else read the normal healthy version. Why is no one else bothered by this?


  • First off your review was hilarious and I was confused as well from the bit you wrote. I’ll take your word and won’t purchase this book.

    • I’m just confused that so many people love the book! I’m all about healthy romances in books and this relationship was just so bad! Thank you so much for your comment!! ?

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  • I really enjoyed this book, but I do agree with you on a bunch of these things. Basically all of your problems with it are legitimate. I just enjoyed the reading experience so much that it allowed me to look past these. Also — I think she mentioned that her roommate and her were never really close and that’s why she didn’t contact her again. But I haven’t read it in a while so I don’t remember for sure! I’ve definitely had roommates like that, haha. Anyway, I appreciate you being honest in this review even though it’s such an overall well-liked book!

    • First of all: Thank you so much for your amazing comment! ?
      You’re probably completely right! I think this book started off for me as being a really enjoyable book, the only minor issue I had with it was the programming (but only because that’s my life on a daily basis and I’m a complete nerd ?) and after a while all those little frustrations kept adding up until I just couldn’t look past them any more and everything started escalating!! ?
      My love hate relationship with coding completely ruined this book for me! ?

      • Ahah, that makes total sense to me! I don’t know anything about coding, so that wasn’t on my radar at all. But I’ve definitely read books like that, where things that wouldn’t have jumped out to other people drove me up the wall! So I understand completely. 🙂

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