New Adult Sci-fi Thriller Warcross
Imagine you are broke. You haven’t paid rent in months, and that’s reflected by the eviction notice waiting for you on your apartment door. Now imagine you’re a bounty hunter and you have mad hacker skills. Earning a paycheck should be simple enough then, right? Sure, except that the competition is stiff, and you’ve promised yourself to keep the hacking to a minimum.
So you do what anyone in your position would do: Make a last-chance, desperation-fueled attempt to track down a fugitive to nab a bounty that will pay off your debt and keep a roof over your head.
There’s one glitch to your plan, though: You. You accidentally glitch yourself into a Warcross game that’s being televised around the world.
And by doing so, you’ve outed yourself as a hacker to the maker of the game, the authorities, and everyone else watching (which is like, everyone). Also, you didn’t manage to get the bounty, either.
Emika lives in New York City in a time that doesn’t feel too far away from ours. She should be a freshmen in college, but due to events we don’t learn about until much later in the book, she dropped out of high school and has been focused on surviving.
Emika (called “Emi” by those closest to her) has lost her mother, her father, and any hope for a secure or prosperous future. She’s combining her hacking skills with her job as a bounty hunter to make money wherever she can.
Emika has managed to maintain an almost naive outlook in every situation. She firmly believes that with hard work, smarts, and a plan, everything will turn out just fine. Maybe this outlook is because of her difficult life, not in spite of it. Because she has always been in survival mode—pulling herself through one crisis after another and overcoming overwhelming odds to feed, clothe, and house herself—she naturally expects she’ll make it through yet another harrowing event.
Warcross, the Game
As for the game in which she glitched into, Warcross, it is more than a game. It’s way of life for most everyone on the globe with users in massive numbers, dwarfing anything we’ve ever experienced. As such, there is a world-wide tournament that the entire globe anticipates every year, the Warcross Championships. It’s like the Super Bowl meets World of Warcraft. And the maker of Warcross is Hideo Tanaka.
Emika has been following Hideo’s career and life since he debuted in the gaming world as a revolutionary young developer. Just a few years older than her, Hideo has also taken up residence on a pedestal of perfection in Emika’s mind.
One of (or maybe the) richest people on the planet, Hideo has capitalized on his creation of Warcross. He has been a bright star in the tech world, and most everyone looks to him to set the next trend.
After Emika glitches herself into the opening of the Warcross games, he does the unexpected: he calls her to ask for a meeting. And not any old Skype meeting, either. He flies her to Tokyo and invites her to his headquarters. At the meeting, he presents her with an irresistible offer.
Hideo wants Emika to use her skills as a bounty hunter and a hacker to help him in this year’s Warcross Championships as a player on the inside of the games.
In the process of working together, the two get to know each other. Hideo lets Emika see into his private life, and she is captivated.
All Summed Up
Hideo and Emika work closely together to track down someone who has been sabotaging the games. I can’t say much more than that without spoilers.
There was something missing for me. I think, mostly, it was a lack of character development, and that Emika’s inner monologue felt clunky and not true to her character in spots. Warcross the game was lacking in detail for me as well.
Is this sci-fi, new adult book right for you?
Warcross the game is more of a framework that has spurred on tech integration into something even as simple as walking down the street. If you’re a high-tech enthusiast or a gamer, the utilization of the possibilities surrounding Warcross and its implication to society will leave something to be desired.
But it’s a fun read with a female protagonist who evoked a connection and emotional response in me. While that emotion was often annoyance at her choices, I still felt invested enough in her character and the story to feel annoyed. So that’s something.
If you like tech, sci-fi, female leads, and mysteries, you’ll enjoy this.
There are some romantic situations that are not really suitable for younger preteens. There’s also an intensity related to threat of violence.
Book Two: Wildcard
I’ve started reading Wildcard. I’ll be back to let you know how that goes.