Happy Valentine’s day! So, when I was planning this post, I was thinking of what book to review for this day. And I’ve decided to review the book with one of the worst romances I’ve seen… Warcross. So enjoy my rage at this book and don’t take this review as seriously because I’ve decided to show a bit of personality with my posts. So if it seems like I absolutely hate Warcross, I don’t, I’ve put in some words to make the post interesting (which I plan on doing from now on).
I’m really bummed that WarCross wasn’t as good as I expected. Being a bit of a gamer myself, I’m always glad when books related to gaming come out. I was super excited to get this book, but once I got to reading it, my excitement was replaced with dread. There is only one word I can use to describe this book, and that is: disappointing. It reminds me of Sonic Forces in a way, except I knew on some level that Sonic Forces wasn’t going to be good. I wanted to enjoy Warcross, but I just couldn’t.
The book follows Emika Chen, a sassy bounty hunter and a hacker who is also in desperate need of a bounty to get some extra cash. Emika has to get cash to pay off her apartment debt, but with her failure to nab a nice bounty, Emika looks elsewhere. She goes into the opening games of WarCross, a very popular game, and tries to hack the game into giving her a rare power up that she can sell for a boatload of cash. Something goes wrong, however, and Emika turns visible in front of everyone so all can see her. Emika immediately starts to freak out, worrying that she’ll have a bounty on her head for hacking into the games, but instead, she receives a phone call from the game’s creator, Hideo Tanaka. He asks her to go undercover and catch a mysterious hacker named Zero, who is trying to interfere with the games.
Let me start with some positives. I’ll give credit where credit is due, the settings in Warcross are amazing. Anytime Emika Chen is playing in the Warcross games, the settings seems almost alive, pulling you into the fictional world and letting you enjoy it. These parts of the book were by far my favorite and every time they ended, I always felt sad, wanting more.
The game settings aren’t the only good part, I’d say all the settings in this book are extremely detailed and wondrously done. Sometimes when Emika goes to certain places, she sees the world in a different and more magical way because of her VR contacts. She can see things like animated banners, huge mythical animals, and the virtual pets of other people. These added effects make the settings even better.
Now for the negatives, get ready cause here we go! For beginners, this book is extremely clichéd. Emika is definitely a Mary Sue. She is perfect in many ways and gets many opportunities of a life time because, to put it plainly, she’s special. It’s like a bad OC took over the whole story. Usually, a Mary Sue is a character that is faultless and very good at whatever they do. Emika fits both of these. Also, a Mary Sue gets with the most popular and amazing character, for example, someone shipping their OC with a main character from a game. Emika fits into this category by falling in love with Hideo and him falling in love with her.
Even Emika’s personality is clichéd. I don’t know how to explain her personality, but it’s definitely a cliché. Also, the whole part about her being a poor bounty hunter? Yup, that’s also a cliché, believe it or not. Emika is an expert hacker, even though she never even finished high school. The story makes you believe that she learnt it from middle school or elementary school, but I never learned about coding in middle or elementary school. Also, in many instances of the story, Emika hacks magically. “At the same time, I tap my fingers subtly against my leg and start downloading info on both him and Max” (pg. 138). I can’t really say much except, that is not how you hack at all.
I could talk about Emika for hours, but I’m going to move on to the other characters. First up, Hideo. Hideo is also a cliché, he is the dark and bruiting type who has family issues. Hideo isn’t even a good cliché. He seems like the dark and bruiting type toward the beginning of the book, but he easily opens up to Emika. Other than Hideo, the rest of the characters only have one or two traits to their name and that’s it. They are so bland that I confused Max for Tramaine.
When I read romance in a book, I want it to be well thought out. Many books don’t need romance so having a lazy, poorly written romance is just unnecessary. That is the main reason why I hate the romance of Emika and Hideo. From the beginning they’re just co-workers. Emika works for Hideo and that’s it. However, in the middle of the book, Hideo and Emika fall in love for no reason. You don’t know when and you don’t know why, but it happens anyway. It’s really unneeded and the only reason it happens is so there can be romantic tension toward the end of the book.
Moving on to the game, Warcross isn’t even that interesting. It’s basically capture the flag but with a few twists like the flags being gems on people’s head. I get that the VR aspect is what draws most people in, but if Hideo’s type of VR was real, it would be a failure. Most VR tech survives because of the amazing games you can play on them. Without those games, VR simply wouldn’t sell as well. And with Hideo’s version of it, you can only play WarCross, or look at realistic scenery. It seems like it would fail to me, not become the most popular thing on the planet.
Now with this being a book about games, I would expect game references. Maybe recent popular games or more obscure games, but nope. The only references here are ones from Mario and Sonic. The team Emika gets placed on for the WarCross championships play Mario kart every night to help them with speed, which is funny because Mario kart won’t help you with speed at all. Since you can see the track ahead of you, there is no need for fast reactions. Emika also gets called Princess
Peach, but the “insult” is so bad that it’s laughable. Let me just say this: Wreck it Ralph had ten times more references than this book did and I’d honestly rather watch that movie that read this book again.
I think I’ve ranted enough, so I’m going to end with this. If you aren’t a gamer, you might enjoy this book. That’s why I think it has such high ratings on Goodreads. Most people aren’t gamers and in turn see this book as pretty good. If you are a gamer, don’t even bother. It just isn’t a good book about video games and you’ll probably hate it more than you enjoy it.
Tremaine is the first one to burst out laughing. “Wow,” he exclaims over the music. “You’re as wild card as they get.” He makes a point to ignore my outstretched hand. “Look, Princess Peach, this isn’t how things work in the championships.”