Having just finished “Warcross,” Marie Lu’s new YA novel, I am currently in a state of being torn between wanting so badly to live in the future right this second and feeling absolutely terrified that I will eventually have to live in the future.

Let me explain: “Warcross” is about a world in our not-so-distant future where a hyper-realistic virtual reality game (also called Warcross) has become a global phenomenon.

After accidentally glitching herself into the Warcross World Championship games, teenage hacker and bounty hunter Emika Chen is hired by the elusive, reclusive Hideo Tanaka, creator of Warcross, to participate in the championship games to catch an online hacker named Zero.

However, the deeper she dives into uncovering the truth, the more she realizes Zero’s plan could have sinister consequences for the whole world.

“Warcross,” the book, is fun, suspenseful and will make you question everything — just like any good sci-fi novel should.

When I first went into this book, I thought that most of the action would end up centering on Emika’s role as an Architect in the Warcross games.

But, her hunt for Zero really takes center stage. The scenes where Warcross games are played out are my favorites to read; they are so fast-paced and exciting, but I still really enjoyed the mystery and complexity of Emika’s secret assignment.

Emika Chen is a great protagonist. Despite her tough childhood and hardened exterior, she manages to find comfort and passion in Warcross and the online world. She’s smart, witty and unafraid, but still cares for the people around her, making her a heroine I was always rooting for.

Also, she has rainbow hair.

The one thing I wish we could have seen more of in this story is Emika’s interactions with her teammates, because I love all of them. Ash, Hammie and Roshan are so incredibly cool, and their relationships with each other and Emika just made me so happy.

The world that Lu put together for this story totally blew me away. It’s just similar enough to our own world that I didn’t ever feel lost, but the way she shows the potential evolution of technology is super realistic and a little unsettling.

More Information


By Marie Lu

G.P. Putnam’s Books for Young Readers, $18.99

The game of Warcross itself sounds perfectly crazy and fun and makes me want a pair of Hideo Tanaka’s NeuroLink technology glasses so badly.

I won’t spoil the ending, but let me just say that the way Lu uses what-if? factors about technology and the future to portray human nature and moral dilemmas is amazing.

By the end of the story, Lu gets the reader to think about the ethical limits of technology and our brains as well as what it means to be human.

I wasn’t a huge Marie Lu fan previously , having never read “The Young Elites” or gotten into her “Legend” series, but I think I may have just been converted.

Between the intriguing world she creates and the wild cast of characters, as well as the suspenseful fast-paced writing, I’m waiting on the edge of my seat for the next book to come out.

If you enjoy young-adult science fiction and/or video games, I would definitely suggest you read “Warcross” next.

Hanah Shields is a junior at Alamo Heights High School.