Book Review: Warcross by Marie Lu

Book: Warcross by Marie Lu

Published September 2017 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books For Young Readers|353 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: Warcross #1

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. 

The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down Warcross players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. 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 instead 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. With no time to lose, 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.

I really liked Warcross!  I liked Emika, and the world she lived in.

Emika is a great character, and she really is a girl just trying to survive.  It’s obvious Warcross means a lot to her, and it’s a pretty important part of her life.  A glitch really changed everything for her, and as it would turn out, things do not go the way she though they would.

Emika’s world was interesting, she does struggle.  But one of the things that kept me from truly loving Warcross was that the world (and Warcross) wasn’t explained very well.  I wasn’t quite clear what Warcross was or how it was played.  Obviously, it’s virtual reality, but it didn’t make a lot of sense to me.  Maybe I wasn’t reading the book well enough, or maybe it didn’t make a lot of sense because I’m not a gamer.  I did like the descriptions when Emika and her team was actually going up against another team, and I thought that was well done.

Maybe I just wish that it translated to the rest of the book.

Worldbuilding aside, I did like Emika’s team as well.  Something about them reminded of the group of people we see in Six Of Crows.  It might be an odd comparison, and I’m not at all sure why these two reminded me of each other, but I’m just going to go with it.  I do wish we knew more about them.  Emika is not at all concerned about what’s going on with them, so because she doesn’t know a lot about them, we don’t know a lot about them.  I wish we did, but hopefully that will change in the next book.

Warcross was entertaining and fun and I feel like I went through it pretty fast.  I did understand some of the motivations behind certain characters, especially Hideo.  And he especially had this really interesting balance of good and bad, so I am curious to see how his story plays out.  Him, more than anyone else.  As interesting as he is, part of me doesn’t like him.

I can’t wait to read the sequel to see where things go!

4 stars.  I really liked Warcross, and I thought Emika and the impact Warcross had on both her and the world was interesting.  It’s entertaining and fun, and an especially great book for people who like video games and technology.  I didn’t love it, but it was still a fun read.

Book Review: Ink And Ashes by Valynne Maetani

Ink And Ashes CoverBook: Ink And Ashes by Valynne Maetani

Published May 2015 by Tu Books|368 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary/Mystery

Blog Graphic-What It's About

Claire Takata has never known much about her father, who passed away when she was a little girl. But on the anniversary of his death, not long before her seventeenth birthday, she finds a mysterious letter from her deceased father, addressed to her stepfather. Claire never even knew that they had met.

Claire knows she should let it go, but she can’t shake the feeling that something’s been kept from her. In search of answers, Claire combs through anything that will give her information about her father…until she discovers he was a member of the yakuza, the Japanese mafia. The discovery opens a door that should have been left closed.

So begins the race to outrun his legacy as the secrets of her father’s past threaten Claire’s friends and family, newfound love, and ultimately her life. Ink and Ashes, winner of Tu Books’ New Visions Award, is a heart-stopping debut mystery that will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the very last page.

Blog Graphic- What I Thought

I thought Ink And Ashes was really interesting, but I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would.

I like the mystery, and how connected things were between her step-dad and her dad.  I get why she called him her dad, because he’s the only father she’s ever known.  But at the same time, it was a little weird calling her step-dad dad, when she’s trying to figure out the mystery that is her biological dad.  And I get why her mom didn’t want to talk about Claire’s dad, but still, it’s her dad, and I think it might have been good for her and her brothers to know more about him.

I did keep getting confused about who was who- there were her two brothers, her best friend, and two other guys who were definitely friends, and possibly neighbors but I couldn’t figure that out.  Her best friend Forrest was the only one who I separate from the other 4, who weren’t distinguished enough from each other for me to remember who was who.  And…there was a thing with Forrest that I knew was going to happen by the end of the book, so it wasn’t too surprising when it happened.  Plus, I spent the entire book waiting for it to happen.

Everyone was super-protective of her for no reason.  I get the protectiveness of Claire, and I think if they were just protective, I wouldn’t have minded it so much, but they seemed to go overboard with it, in my opinion.

She is pretty resourceful and not too bad as an investigator, but overall, Claire wasn’t as memorable or as interesting as I had hoped.  That being said, I was really surprised by the ending, and didn’t see it coming, so at least it surprised me in that sense.  Some of it, I felt like Claire should have figured out, but no such luck.  At times, things seemed a little too convenient, and that made it hard to get into the mystery of who her biological dad was.

It also moved at a slow pace, and I was waiting for something more interesting to happen, because there’s not a lot of action.  Especially when it feels like you’re being told what happened, instead of seeing what happened.

Blog Graphic- My Rating

2 stars.  There were a couple of things I liked, but overall, the book fell flat for me.