Ahoy there me mateys! I can’t decide if the problem was me or the book. I borrowed this one from a local library in hardback form and tried multiple times to read it without much success. So it was returned. Fast forward and a local library had an audio copy that was available. I was in the mood for a young adult novel and so thought I would give it another try.
And to be fair, I was highly engrossed in the beginning of the book and especially enjoyed the narration by Nancy Wu. This was despite the romance that was evident within the first couple of pages. I shrugged and decided to go with the flow. I loved the characters and story all the way up through the first warcross match in the book. And then it began to unravel.
I can’t get into too many specifics without spoilers but three things eventually bogged down the story. The romance set-up was fine overall and the banter before the couple gets together was okay. But the declaration of feelings section just felt so juvenile and silly and I quickly wished the romance was out of the book altogether.
Then there be the main character, Emika. I really did like her a lot but had trouble with how she was “one of the best ever hackers” and yet continued to make novice mistakes that seemingly existed only to move the plot forward. She also seemed to always be rushing into things with nary a thought. I don’t mind some impulsiveness but would rather have seen her think her way through problems.
After the first match, the plot began to bore and never brought back the feeling of excitement. I wanted more warcross matches, more time in the game underworld, more showing instead of telling, more development of the team members, and more use of Emika’s actual skills. I wanted less of Emika second guessing everything, way less insta-lust/romance, less angst, and less dropped plot points. The hacking “rules” and lack of game rules in particular left much to be desired. Oh and the plot twist at the end made me grit me teeth in frustration. It used a trope that needs to walk the plank.
So basically I am not excited for the set-up for book two and think I may be abandoning the series and perhaps this author’s work as well. This be the second series of hers that I am disinclined to finish. I think her world-building and characters be very interesting indeed but her plots fail to float me boat. But I be in the minority of this one so bear that in mind. Arrr!
Goodreads has this to say about the novel:
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. When Emika hacks into the game illegally, she’s convinced she’ll be arrested, and 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. 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.
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Previous Log Entries for this Author
legend – book 1 (3 Bells – Young Adult Dystopian)
prodigy – book 2 (3 Bells – Young Adult Dystopian)
champion – book 3 (3 Bells – Young Adult Dystopian)