Review: Warcross (Warcross, #1) by Marie Lu

10:14 PM

Warcross by Marie Lu | Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5)

“It is hard to describe loss to someone who has never experienced it, impossible to explain all the ways it changes you. But for those who have, not a single word is needed.”

First thing first: Marie Lu is one of my all-time favourite YA writers. To say that I was excited for Warcross, the start to her latest series, would be an understatement. And I know what you're thinking: Jessica, you've only given Warcross a three and a half star rating! Which is true--and I am disappointed in myself for it, too. Because there were a lot of things about the book that I adored.

Behind that adoration, there was a lot to it that just wasn't my cup of tea. This may solely be because I only just recently hopped on the Ready Player One train and the similarities between the two are pretty to the point. I should correct that: there are a lot of things that tie the two together but ultimately they are entirely different stories just with a similar vibe and groundwork. That still could contribute to my lower-than-expected rating.

The truth is, Warcross is a good book. But, is it Marie Lu's finest release to date? No. Not in my eyes. There were some parts of Warcross that made me waver in my attention for around 40% of the book. Which is very, very, very uncommon for me when it comes to Lu's fantastic prose. While it certainly had its unique qualities to it and a high-stakes concept, I often found myself comparing it to other works that I've read or seen in the past and found it far too easy to catch onto who the big bads were and weren't.

(Did anyone else see the two massive twists at the end? Maybe not (INSERT CHARACTER)'s actions and ambitions for the future but, like, the fact that they were being worked against... and who was working against them? It was obvious to me.) 

But we're not going to focus on the negatives. Because while I struggled from time-to-time with it, the positives far outweighed the negatives... just not enough to give this installment a higher rating than what I assigned it.

Onto the good...

  • DIVERSITY. This has to be the number one statement when it comes down to the positives. No explanation needed. What is needed is for the rest of the YA community to get on board and continue making progress in diversify the publishing world. 
  • All of the characters are charming and mysterious. How else can I explain it? The ones that we see the most of, too, were ambitious, witty and so very complex. I absolutely adored Emika as the one who's eyes we see through--from her backstory (heartbreaking) and the days that follow all the way to the present, she is written so richly and I am smitten. The side characters had minimal time to shine but I have high hopes for their development as the books continue on. There's so many paths, so many connections, the story can take.
  • Hideo is also interesting. He felt a little one dimensional at times, but as the story goes on and we get more of a feel of him, he becomes more than just the young man who created Warcross. 
  • I think I am starting to have a weakness for it--but the concept behind Warcross is super interesting and I'd love to know more. Virtual reality can be hit or miss. And although the novel takes place during a tournament (broadcast like a reality series across the world) we barely see the game played. I'm actually okay with it, because it gives a little more wiggle worm. The story has a nice backdrop--the game. We're moreso along for the ride Emika is on--doing her bounty hunter business and slipping into a new and unexpected life. 
  • Action towards the end. I don't necessarily mean full blown action but there is a lot of suspense as we reach the final quarter of the book and I totally dig it! In fact, it saved a lot of the book because I was so on the edge... even when I kind of expected the twists and revelations that followed.
  • Cliffhanger. Honestly? I dig it. Even though I guessed what was coming, I think that Marie Lu ended Warcross where she did was incredibly smart and keeps the story flowing. It really hooks readers in and is surely going to hold us there until the second installment hits the shelves. 
Ultimately, it had its flaws--but for the most part, Warcross was a fun read with a whole lot of heart-pounding twists and turns and a certain edge that cannot be explained. I really enjoyed it once it got into its grove and cannot wait until its sequel is in my hands. 

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