Warcross- Marie Lu

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Marie Lu (2017)

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.

(via Goodreads)

 

I want to start off by saying that it pains me to see that I have not done one of these (book talks/reviews) in almost a month! A lot of that has to do with me trying to figure out how I want to present these from now on, but that is for another time and place- for now, I will continue with what I have been doing so far.

I have to say, going into this book, I had a lot of expectations. Not only did I know that it is a favorite among the book blogging community in general, but when I picked it up for the first time, it reminded me very much of Ready Player One. I loved that book (Ready Player One) so I was skeptical about whether Marie Lu could do something similar, and still make it her own (while also holding my attention). I didn’t intend to like Ready Player One to start with, so I was unsure how to feel when approaching this one.

Starting out, Warcross and Ready Player One had a lot of similarities. They both starred a “hard on their luck” kid with virtually no family, living in the ghetto of their respective worlds. They both lived in a world where a virtual reality game dominated daily life, so much so that reality and game blended into a new kind of normal. They both use run down, outdated equipment to access this game but are super smart/skilled in this game but have no real means of showing off on the grand scale. It took me about a quarter of the way through Warcross to finally start feeling like this was it’s own story. And when that happened, the story itself really took off.

Characters: I am really intrigued by Zero. I kinda knew for a while who it would end up being (at least I had my guesses), but I am completely at a loss for words as to his motive. I get the whole good vs. evil idea, but (without giving too much away) why does Zero stay hidden/anonymous? If I were him, I would have gone about my plan a way different way, perhaps a bit more direct? I don’t want to give away too much so I will leave it at that, but I would really love to chat with you guys about what you think of Zero and his motives.

I am also extremely curious about Emika’s mother. For the beginning half of the book, I was under the impression that she was dead (maybe I missed some context clues or something) but when it was revealed that she simply just left the family, it automatically makes me think that she will have a bigger role sometime later on in the series. I cannot possibly see a way in which they mention that she is still alive and just you know, around, and not reach out to Emika in some way. I mean it’s classic, the struggle between an estranged mother and daughter. Adds a bit of drama that has nothing to do with the game.

As for Hideo, I am really disappointed with how Marie Lu had this character develop through the book. I was completely on board the whole story, until the very end. To me, while I can see the reasoning and what may lead to his ending, I still don’t think it fits what we have already established for this character. I don’t think the ending fits his development arc. But that is just a personal opinion. I am interested to see how he continues to struggle in the next installment of the series.

Finally, there is a character at the very end who is in custody and being interrogated by authorities. I will refrain from giving away that character’s identity, but I am extremely curious what happens to them. The last thing said about them was that they were being interrogated, nothing more. So I am curious to see if they come up again in the next book, and what exactly their part is in the rest of the series.

But what about Emika? Well, she’s your typical main character! I didn’t hate her, but I didn’t exactly love her either. I can relate to the fact that she was super private and didn’t exactly know how to participate on a team, but she wasn’t really my favorite character, though I do love the parts with her and Hideo.

Setting: I wasn’t super impressed by the concept of the game, especially when I already have Ernest Cline’s virtual world fresh in my mind. To me, his world was much more believable as the virtual world we just might see in the near future, as opposed to Marie Lu’s. I felt like I didn’t know much about the actual game of Warcross before the championship games, and even then, I didn’t really understand the whole concept behind it. I am hoping that more of that world gets hashed out and brought to light in the next book in the series.

All in all, I didn’t hate this book, but I definitely did not LOVE it like I wanted to. I could definitely seeing wanting to own the whole series at some point. It did keep me interested throughout, and generally, is an interesting story , not to mention the cover art on Warcross is just beautiful. I don’t think it will be in my top books of the year, but it is way too early to tell.

 

What did you guys think of Warcross (I know most of you have read it)? Lets chat in the comments :]

 

 

on deck book On Deck: 

The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore  childrens book

Aggravated Momentum by Didi Oviatt (eARC)  adult book

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Library (plus) Book Haul

Hey y’all! So I have been trying to be good about not buying anymore books (at least for a little while). I am already a subscriber to Book of the Month, so in the very least, I get one new (hardcover) book a month, which, if you ask my bookshelf, is more than I need. Instead, I have been utilizing my library to read as many of the suggestions you guys have, as I can. You may (or may not) know that I am actually a children’s librarian here on Long Island. I love my job, and it makes obtaining new books super easy.

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I highly suggest that if you do not have an updated library card, you should change that. And take a quick trip down to your local library. Most, whether they have large collections or not, are now part of an inter-library system, which allows you to request virtually any book you like, and have it sent to your library to borrow (FOR FREE). It has certainly saved me a few bucks as of late, and also prevented me from purchasing a book that I eventually just did not like all that much.

So, for today I am bringing you my most recent Library Haul. I have not done a book haul yet on this blog, and since I have a huge pile of “new” books on my desk, I thought I would share them with you!

 

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Ok, first up is The Leaving by Tara Altebrando. This is actually just a book I picked up browsing through my library’s YA section. I have mentioned that I tend to read on a schedule- one children’s novel, followed by a YA novel, followed by an adult fiction (and repeat). When I reach my adult fiction, I tend to browse my library’s collection, and select one children’s and one YA to have in the wings for when I restart my cycle. This has been on my desk since before I read Turtles All the Way Down (you can read my review/discussion post with that link). I keep looking at it and wanting to return it, but then I read the back and get interested again. So I am hoping to finally get to this soon.

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Everyone on here seems to mention When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon an awful lot. I have seen mixed (ish) reviews, but mostly ones that say it is light and a quick read, which I could totally use more of in my life right now. It has a completely different perspective than what I am used to so I am even more excited to crack it open, and give it a try.

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Again, this is another one that everyone seems to be raving about. Warcross by Marie Lu, to me, seems like a YA version of Ready Player One, which I loved quite a bit this year. I am anxious to see what this has in store, and to eventually explore Marie Lu’s other books.

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Ahhhh! Does it matter that I have not read The Martian by Andy Weir first? I imagine it does not, since I don’t believe the characters intersect (I have the same question about Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman- can I read that first, if I have not read Practical Magic?) so I grabbed it off the new shelf immediately. Again, this is outside my typical realm of interest reading, but it seems to be super popular among bloggers, and not too technical where I would fall asleep (one of the reasons I won’t read Dan Brown or the Jurassic Park books). I am absolutely kicking myself right now for not adding this to my Book Of the Month for November… so if I like it, I may be adding it in the future- I do like to own books that I enjoy.

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I preordered this as soon as I heard about it. I did however request the audiobook version from the library because, why wouldn’t you LISTEN to a book written by Tom Hanks when he reads it to you? However, this may be placed back on my TBR for a little bit. I am under the impression that someone is getting me the audiobook for Christmas this year, so I can probably attack something else in the meantime.

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Now, I did NOT get this from the library (hence the plus in the title of this post). My brother’s girlfriend works for Simon and Schuster, and I suppose for the holiday, they allowed their employees to order up to 4 books for no charge. Being that I am the huge book collector that I am, she thought of me, and allowed me to use up one of her free orders for myself! I selected All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, because regardless of whether I end up liking it or not, it was was a Pulitzer Prize winner, and it might be nice to have it on my shelf in the future.

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That certainly does not look as bad as it does on my desk, but they are kept company by my unread BOTM selections like Little Fires Everywhere, The Child, Rules of Magic and the Identicals (among a dozen others who have moved from the desk to my bookshelf without being read).

I am actually thinking about going off schedule in order to get some of these library books read. I am currently in the middle of my YA selection, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han, which means adult fiction is up next. I was going to start Rules of Magic, but maybe I will knock out a few of these other YA books first (I always read these so much faster than my adult fiction).

What do you guys think? Have you read any of these? Do you have any suggestions (about what to read first, or whether I can read Artemis or Rules of Magic without reading the Martian or Practical Magic first)?

Lets chat in the comments!