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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.
Audiobook Received for Review in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I’m not normally into sci-fi books like this, but there was something about this book that was calling me. I would like to say that the fact that I enjoyed Marie Lu’s last series was the main reason that I got this book, but let’s be real, that eye-catching cover probably had more to do with it. This book is a little bit longer than I normally like my books to be (especially if they aren’t contemporary books) so I ended up saving this one for last when it came to listening to my audiobooks. Right away, I really fell in love with Emika. There’s just something about a normal girl in a high-tech and advanced world who is just doing her best trying to get by in life. Her mother abandoned her as a child and her father passed away a few years ago, leaving her in a mountain of gambling debt. Emika has a dead-end job but she makes ends meet (barely) by using her hacker skills to be an online bounty hunter, hunting those who bet on Warcross illegally.
Emika is actually a really talented hacker and when she accidentally glitches herself into the opening International Warcross Championship, suddenly all eyes are on her. Something a hacker definitely does not want. Within days, all her debts are paid off by Hideo Tanaka, the young billionaire creator of Warcross and he not only invites Emika to Toyko to comete in the tournament, but he also offers a hefty salary (think millions). Emika quickly realizes that Hideo wants her for her hacker skills and he enlists her to help him track down someone who has been hacking into Warcross and causing trouble. Everyone is a suspect at the Warcross Championship and Emika must try to find who is responsible while at the same time trying to win and maybe make friends and alliances, something a loner like her struggles with.
Meanwhile, her one-on-one meetings with Hideo (trying to find the hacker) are getting less and less professional and more personal. I really enjoyed this part of the story and seeing them go from people who don’t really trust each other to friends to perhaps more. Hideo was quite the charmer and it was easy to see why Emika was so smitten with him and him with her as well. Of course, this is a Marie Lu book which should right away let you know that her romances are not normal. They are messy and complicated and they don’t always necessarily end in happily-ever-afters. I was able to guess some of the ending but there were still other parts that managed to surprise me, in a good way. I was kind of hoping this would be a stand-alone book but with an ending like that, I’m excited that we will get to see more of these worlds and more of these complicated characters. If sci-fi books and video games aren’t your cup of tea (mine either) don’t worry, there’s still plenty in this book to love. After reading her last series, I’m more than a little worried as to how this series will end and I’m just hoping this one won’t hurt as much. On an audiobook note, the narration was fan-freaking-tastic! Nancy Wu did such a top-notch job with her performance and it made me enjoy this book that much more. Highly recommend the audiobook!
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