Lu takes a sharp turn out of the dark fantasy universe of The Young Elites (2014) and into the glittery, high-tech sci-fi world of a futuristic Tokyo. Emika Chen, hacker extraordinaire, has been scraping together a living on the streets of New York, working as a bounty hunter who tracks down people betting illegally on Warcross, an insanely popular virtual reality game. But it's not enough to get by, and a desperate Emi hacks into a Warcross tournament game to scavenge. But she gets more than she bargained for when she's invited to Tokyo by Hideo Tanaka, Warcross' creator. There's something insidious going on behind the scenes of the game, and Hideo needs the help of a hacker-spy. But the world Emi has entered is one of twists and double-crosses, and even her skills might not be enough. Despite some technological deus ex machina, this is an inventive first in a series that showcases Lu's versatility as a storyteller. STEM tie-ins abound, and the thrilling plot turns will have readers happily strapping in for the ride. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Dystopia, dark fantasy, and now a sci-fi thriller—what can't Lu do? Her boatloads of fans can't wait to find out. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Emika Chen, an 18-year-old hacker turned bounty hunter, ekes out a life in New York City by tracking down criminals who are turning illegal profits in the virtual world of Warcross, an immersive game accessed by a "brain–computer interface." Facing eviction, Emi recklessly hacks into the game to steal a valuable power-up. When a glitch exposes her identity to millions of viewers—and Hideo Tanaka, the game's 21-year-old billionaire inventor—Emi is summoned to the Henka Games headquarters in Tokyo. There, Hideo recruits her to find an elusive hacker called Zero, and she enters the high-profile games as a wild-card player. With a keen eye for detail, Lu (the Young Elites series) vividly imagines a future society where gaming is woven into daily life, and easily allows readers to sink into Emi's reality. Readers will enthusiastically follow clever, independent, and empathetic Emi, who is driven both by the memory of her father and a strong sense of morality. Think The Hunger Games meets World of Warcraft, with exactly the sort of massive appeal that crossover suggests. Ages 12–up. Agent: Kristin Nelson, Nelson Literary. (Sept.)
Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly.
School Library Journal Reviews
Gr 8 Up—A highly engaging and incredibly exciting science fiction novel for young adults. Emika Chen is a bounty hunter living in a futuristic New York City. Emika has a juvenile record and spent time in the foster care system after her father died. She is struggling to pay her bills, and is banking on getting enough from the next bounty to settle up with her landlord. In the midst of her troubles, Emika gets involved in Warcross, a virtual reality video game played by nearly everyone. Players put on virtual reality glasses and can play others, build their own worlds, and keep memories there. There is a huge tournament where the best players from around the globe come together as teams to compete for the ultimate prize. When Emika tries stealing a valuable item in the opening ceremony, she glitches into the game and finds immediate fame. With this fame comes a job offer from the young Hideo Tanaka, creator of Warcross. He flies her to Japan on his private jet, and he asks for her help to find someone who is threatening the game. Emika is also a skilled hacker, so she accepts. The teen becomes a key player in the tournament and in Hideo's life, as they develop a romantic relationship. Readers will move effortlessly through Lu's fantastic writing, and they will enjoy getting to know this international cast of characters. The author adeptly weaves together exciting video games scenes, virtual reality, and romance. The great plot twist and cliff-hanger ending clearly leaves room for a sequel. VERDICT An enticing first purchase for YA collections, especially where Lu's other books and science fiction are popular.—Nancy Jo Lambert, Reedy High School, Frisco, TX
Copyright 2017 School Library Journal.
After hacking into the Warcross Championships' opening game to track illegal betting, bounty hunter Emika Chen is asked by the game's creator to go undercover to investigate a security problem, and she uncovers a sinister plot. - (Baker & Taylor)
"When teenage coder Emika Chen hacks her way into the opening tournament of the Warcross Championships, she glitches herself into the game as well as a sinister plot with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire"-- - (Baker & Taylor)
A teen hacker and competitive bounty hunter who tracks down rule breakers of a wildly popular alternate-reality game accidentally glitches herself into a championship tournament, where she becomes an overnight sensation before being recruited as a spy for the game's billionaire developer. By the best-selling author of The Young Elites series. Simultaneous eBook. - (Baker & Taylor)
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. 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.
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. - (Penguin Putnam)