Title: Warcross
Series: Warcross #1
Author: Marie Lu
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Publication: September 12th 2017, Penguin Books
Pages: 368 Pages, Hardback
Source: Thank you to Penguin Books UK for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review! This has in no way affected my view. 
Rating: 5/5 cupcakes
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu - when a game called Warcross takes the world by storm, one girl hacks her way into its dangerous depths.
For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn't just a game - it's a way of life. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. 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 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. 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.
In this sci-fi thriller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu conjures an immersive, exhilarating world where choosing who to trust may be the biggest gamble of all.
This book blew my mind. It's an action-packed, brilliantly written techno-thriller that pulled all the stops. I only had one question whilst reading this book - why didn't I read it sooner? A soon as I started reading this, I knew I was going to love it. I literally have no bad things to say about this book. Everything was perfect. Can Marie Lu please teach me how to write a book? Please?

The first thing I noticed about Warcross that I LOVED was the writing style. I've only read one Marie Lu book before (Batman: Nightwalker) and I enjoyed it so much. I'd also purchased her Young Elites trilogy and her Legend trilogy before I'd even read one of her books, so thank goodness I love the way she writes! There's just something about her writing style that is so easy to fall into. It's captivating, real, and immediately pulled me in.

I also LOVED the characters SO MUCH, which plays an integral part in determining how much I enjoy a book. Emika is an incredible heroine. She's brave, clever, talented and hilarious. She's witty and vulnerable too. I LOVED HER SO MUCH. Emika's personality was as vibrant and brilliant as the technicolour lights of Tokyo City. I love how fleshed out Emika was. She was real. She was all these complex, varying characteristics that made her feel incredibly authentic. I also liked that the author showed us Emika's strength and vulnerability; she didn't just tell us. I appreciated that.

I loved Hideo (mostly) . On the exterior he's a collected, aloof, genius boy-billionaire...but on the inside he's a vulnerable, hurting, sad boy who has been drastically shaped by a traumatic event in his past. I love how Emika chipped away at his hardened exterior with her snarkiness, her skill and her tender vulnerability. 

I really enjoyed familiarising myself with the cast of secondary characters too. Asher, Hammie and Roshan were wonderful supporting characters. I really liked how Emika started opening herself up to them. Emika really gew as a character in that sense. She learned to open up and rely on her team-mates instead of solely relying on herself. I love it when characters ask others for help instead of handling everything by themselves. I loved the evolution of the relationships between Emika and her teammates. 

The relationship between Emika and Hideo was also incredibly well done. In the beginning, Hideo infuriated Emika, despite how much she admired and respected his ambitious, successful endeavours. I loved the slow burn: the small smiles, the subtle compliments, the infuriating comments...I loved how all the elements slowly climaxed to a passionate, exhilarating romance. I loved the subtle comments people made about the two of them that suggested there was chemistry there; the small compliments, and the mentions of Hideo praising Emika in her absence. I was THERE for it. Not only was their sizzling energy between the two, there was care, kindness and vulnerability. I loved how hey shared their darkness with one another and trusted the other to hold them up when they were feeling the weight of curiosity and expectations. I LOVED IT. 

The two other things I LOVED about Warcross was the plot and the world-building. The plot is amazing. We have Emika at the beginning of the book struggling to make ends meet and having to take a job as a bounty hunter. After a failed bounty, she's at her wits end struggling to make ends meet, and decides to hack into the Warcross tournament (the most televised thing in the world at that moment) to make quick money...however, she glitches herself into the game and is viewed by everyone. In a second, she becomes an enigmatic sensation. Terrified of the repercussions, she's about to go into hiding when she receives a phone call from THE Hideo Tanaka: he wants to offer her a job. Impressed by her formidable hacking skills, he hires her to be his bounty hunter. Someone with suspected sinister motives is messing with the Warcross tournament that might cause danger not only confined to the virtual world...but to the real world too.  AH - IT WAS AMAZING. I love a good rags-to-riches story (Emika being swept away to fame and fortune in the dazzling city of Tokyo - YES, PLEASE), especially when it's grouped with hacking, sinister sabotage and an unlikely romance. The plot was SO well-constructed and my attention never deviated once. It was a non-stop, unputdownable, edge-of-my-seat heck of a good time! THE PLOT TWISTS, GUYS, THE PLOT TWISTS. That ending?? My mouth fell open. My heart was pounding. My brain was trying to compute. I was, as the youths of today say, shooketh. 

Then there was the world-building (Marie Lu can do no wrong)!!! It was AMAZING. You know on Snapchat where you point your backward-facing camera to the floor/table/etc and it looks like there's a dinosaur or chicken dancing on your floor (that sounds so weird, but you get me). It's kind of like that (but not actually - it's glamorous and genius and epic). You wear these glasses that is powered by your brain and it allows you to see a virtual reality. You have your own avatar that you can control and accessorise etc. Big cities are decked out in virtual reality accessories. Warcross is the way of life for most people. I LOVED this aspect, as it felt like something that could, in the future, happen. It was so vibrant, unique, an detailed. It was fresh and fun. I adored the spectacular world-building. It added such a rich layer to the novel.

So, as you can tell, I'm a little bit obsessed with Warcross. And rightly so. It's fantastic. Warcross is an electrifying, sizzling, mind-blowing novel that featured a lovable, sassy, brilliantly intelligent main character; a vulnerable, enigmatic love interest; and a vibrant, richly-detailed world. It's fast-paced and exhilarating. It's going to be hard for another book to beat this one this year.

I give it: 5/5 cupcakes!
Cupcake on Twitter Twemoji 11.3Cupcake on Twitter Twemoji 11.3Cupcake on Twitter Twemoji 11.3Cupcake on Twitter Twemoji 11.3Cupcake on Twitter Twemoji 11.3