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A Book Review of “Warcross” by Marie Lu


Rose is an enthusiastic writer and reader who publishes articles most Thursdays. She enjoys all book genres, especially drama and fantasy.

“Warcross” by Marie Lu

“Warcross” by Marie Lu

What’s the Big Deal?

Since its publication in 2017, the exciting science fiction novel Warcross has attracted attention from authors, magazines, and publishing companies across the US. Leigh Bardugo—whose newest fantasy novel I review here—called the book “A vibrant, action-packed shot of adrenaline.” The book was a New York Times bestseller and won many “Best Young Adult Book of 2017” awards, leaving seasoned author Marie Lu with even more praise under her belt than before. Her other books include the Warcross sequel, Wildcard, the Legend series, and many more.

Plot Summary

Emika Chen is an 18-year-old hacker and bounty hunter. This means she tracks down the criminals the NYPD are too busy to capture, and hopefully, she gets cash for it. This type of lifestyle hasn’t been working out for her as of late, though; she and her roommate are deep in debt, and they’re about to be evicted from their apartment.

The futuristic world Emika lives in is ruled by a virtual-reality game called Warcross. Desperate for cash and left with no other options, Emika hacks into the hugely important world championship of Warcross, but she ends up being discovered. Next thing she knows, she’s on a plane to Tokyo, having been offered a job for her hacking skills.

As soon as she leaves Manhattan, Emika’s life changes. She’s now on the hunt for a mysterious hacker known only as Zero, and in order for her to capture him, she’s drafted into the Warcross world championships. It’s no game, though—make no mistake. The world of Warcross is brutal, and the real world is even worse. Will Emika, a washed-up nobody, be able to save the world? Perhaps. But then again, perhaps not . . .

Quick Facts

  • Author: Marie Lu
  • Pages: 353
  • Genre: Young adult, science fiction
  • Ratings: 4.2/5 Goodreads, 4/5 Common Sense Media
  • Release date: September 17, 2017
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

To Read or Not to Read?

I recommend this book if:

  • You like futuristic fiction, such as the book Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, Caraval by Stephanie Garber, or the fantasy novel A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
  • You’re interested in hacking, virtual reality, video games, or the dark web
  • Badass female characters are your preferred protagonist type
  • You like a bit of romance splashed into your books
  • You’ve had experience with a loss that you may not have dealt with yet
  • You’re looking to get sucked into a book or trying to find something captivating enough to offer a temporary escape from reality

Everything’s science fiction until someone makes it science fact.

— Marie Lu, “Warcross”


  • “A stellar cyberpunk series opener packed with simmering romance and cinematic thrills.” —Kirkus Reviews
  • “This duology starter is filled with inventive world building, top notch characters, and provocative questions about who (if anyone) deserves a redemption arc. Warcross draws readers in with action and gaming, but where it really shines is with the thoughtful meditation on what separates heroes from villains in a world that is anything but black and white.” —Wordpress.com
Marie Lu, the book’s author

Marie Lu, the book’s author

The Takeaway

I don’t usually read science fiction, but Warcross caught my eye because of its enticing cover and even more intriguing summary. It’s very similar to Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One—a fantastic movie and even better book—so if you love one, I’d recommend the other. To me, Warcross wasn’t life-changing, but I found it quite entertaining and worth the time I gave it. With a surprising twist at the end and elements of everything throughout—action, love, grief, etc.—Marie Lu’s Warcross is, I’d say, a success.