Every locked door has a key. Every problem has a solution.
— Marie Lu, Warcross
Okay, THAT quote does not appeal to me and doesn’t really show the book the way I saw it (which is usually how I want a quote to be to begin my blog posts), but I didn’t mark any while I was reading the book.
I was too busy enjoying it!
I want to specifically address 3 types of readers right now, before we start talking about the book:
- Those Afraid To Read A Hyped Book Because They Fear Disappointment. Please stop. Get this book if you haven’t already. Start reading it if you haven’t already. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.
- Those Who Feel That This Is A Rip-Off Of “Ready Player One“. I was one of you. Yes, it had elements similar to it but it goes on a different direction. So stop your being a rebel and read this. Aren’t you glad that there’s something remotely similar to one of the greatest geek novel of all time? I am! I’ve been searching for years since I’ve read RPO and haven’t found anything of its caliber. Here you go and you’re welcome.
- Those Who Don’t Want To Read Any Of Marie Lu’s Books Anymore Because You Hated Her Previous Works. I am one of you, people. Trust me. I am numero uno on the list of people who hate Adelina of The Young Elites. I advocate for people to stop reading that series because it’s bad for your health and mental stability. So trust me when I say: Marie Lu managed to salvage her reputation to me, a reader who has already publicly sworn to never pick up a book by her ever again. I’m asking you now to give her a chance. Give this book a chance. It’s worth it.
I was really hesitant (more like against) reading this book. Even reaching for it. You don’t know how deeply I hate Adelina of The Young Elites. I used to be the kind of reader who separated the artist from their work, meaning I’d still read an author’s work despite not liking their previous works. But after reading that cursed book, I started being wary and eventually stopped picking up other works of the authors of books I hated.
So when National Book Store gave away free chapter samplers of Warcross during Pierce Brown’s book signing last August, I didn’t really care. Not until some of my friends took some and started handing them away. I decided to get one just for the sake of using it as a prop for my Bookstagram account.
But the night before the 38th Manila International Book Fair (click here to read my blog post about the event), I picked up the sampler and read it.
Those 3 types of readers that I enumerated at the beginning of this post? I was all three of them.
I didn’t want to read Warcross because I hated Marie Lu’s other works. I didn’t want to read Warcross because it’s so overhyped, I’m surely going to be disappointed. I didn’t want to read Warcross because I was insulted at how blatantly Ready Player One-ish it sounded.
However, the fact that it sounded remotely like RPO made me rethink my decision. So I read the chapter sampler.
I was intrigued.
So when it was time to go book shopping at MIBF, I actually went back to the convention center where it was being held, just to grab a copy of Warcross at the last minute. I was on my way to the car when this nagging feeling crept up to me. I can’t possibly turn away from a book that sounds like one of my favorites! Even if I swore to never read one of that author’s works ever again!
So I got it and I read it and it was great.
- Ready Player One. This is a pro for me because I’ve said it a dozen times now how it’s one of my favorite books of all time. Some may think that me comparing it to one another is unfair but I don’t really care. I must say, though, it may start like RPO and read like it, but it Warcross is definitely a book entirely its own. It had elements of RPO but it isn’t a rip-off, I don’t think. So let’s let go of all our grudges and just enjoy a book for what it is. Also, it reminded me more of Wreck It Ralph (yes, the animated film) and The Matrix (yes, as in the movie starring Keanu Reeves). So if you like those, then you’ll probably like this too.
- Characters. This is a wow moment for me. To admit that a girl protagonist, especially one written by Marie Lu, did not annoy me in any way. I kind of even think that Emika is a badass. She kind of made me wish I was her at times, with the hacker skills and the unlimited credit card she was given. Also, Chinese and Japanese main characters? Yes please!
- Setting. Yes, we were mostly in the virtual world but mostly it was still set in the cities of New York and Japan. I love New York and it’s one of my favorite cities of all time, so I will never get tired of reading anything set in there. But Japan? I want to go to Japan! It sounds wonderful and my favorite cuisines are Japanese. We need more novels set in East and Southeast Asia!
- Writing Style. This is something I can never (and never have) take against Marie Lu. Her ability to write either a fantasy, sci-fi, or contemporary (which I don’t think she ever has?) stories in such a concise and easy-read way is amazing. I’m not a fan of flowery writing styles so her works are easy to read and have all that you need to know and that’s what’s important. I can’t wait for her Batman: Nightwalker book to come out! Also now I’m looking forward to the sequel of Warcross.
- Predictable. I don’t know about you, but I literally called all the shots the author made before they truth was revealed in the end. I was talking to a friend of mine while I was reading this and told her how I saw this and that probably happening and they all did happen in the book! I kid you not. From the love interest, to the truth behind the antagonist’s plots, to the identity of the said antagonist. It didn’t take away my enjoyment of reading the book overall but I still would’ve liked a better “plot twist”.
- Title of the book is misleading. Going into this, I was expecting it to focus on Warcross because, hello, it’s entitled Warcross. It’s a virtual game that 90% of the world either watches or play themselves. Our main character is player in said game. BUT WE RARELY PLAY THE GAME IN THE BOOK! What was the purpose of creating a complicated virtual game, introducing it to us, making up 15 teams and over 60 players, and describing arenas, if we don’t get to read about the game and championship?!
I can’t believe I have to wait for a year or more for the sequel. This is one of the downside of reading a newly published book: the waiting.
I hope this review gave you a little push into picking up Warcross.
Let me know in the comments if you’ve already read it! Doesn’t matter if you enjoyed it the way I did or hated it. I’d still love to hear your thoughts and opinions. 🙂