Hello everyone, and welcome back!
Welp, I’m still in a reading slump (though now for a good reason, since I’ve had a lot more work to do!), but at the very least, I’ve gotten started on my fall TBR. And my next round of second chances reads!
Warcross by Marie Lu
My first Marie Lu read was Legend, and I didn’t hate it, but I was just…unimpressed. It felt like a pretty standard dystopian-by-numbers and a kind of contrived dual-protagonist romance situation? The setting felt like it had some heart to it, but I just couldn’t get into it enough to continue the series.
Warcross was definitely better for me, but not my favourite really? But we’ll get into that.
Warcross is a semi-futuristic sci-fi setting where almost everyone plays a virtual game that’s sort of RPGesque, sort of interactive with real world environments; kind of like an MMORPG and Pokémon Go rolled up together, plus some? Our main character is a master hacker and bounty hunter on hard times who gets noticed by the creator of the game and asked to dive in as a spy, which leads her to some adventures and serious intrigue.
Again in this book, the setting elements, or maybe more worldbuilding elements, were probably some of the strongest aspects, although this skips between New York, Tokyo, and some imaginary environments. The game, its players, and its fans made up for an interesting and timely premise, given that it’s not so far off from the way games are progressing today? (And the way that digital intrigue works is interesting, too.)
The main character, Emika, is pretty likeable, but also feels a lot wish fulfillment? Which is weird to say, since all YA protagonists are remarkable with a lot of plot armor and a pheromone that makes them desirable to everyone, but it just feels kind of…extra in this case. The way she goes from rags to riches through the book, the way she’s good at everything she does, the way she immediately attracts romantic attention, the way she keeps brilliant rainbow hair while living on too-little ramen…well, I mean, she’s a protagonist, but it also did feel like a bit much how quickly she was able to adapt to everything.
Maybe this was a matter of the book not being overly long? It does skim over quite a bit of the games and the game details in the book, so we don’t always get to see Emika’s abilities in the virtual world in action, but more so get told some few amazing things she can do. The novel also doesn’t spend too long providing us with Emika’s abilities before plunging her into the action, which on one hand I don’t mind because I’d rather get right into it, but it does make it difficult to accept all of the things she’s great at.
The plot of this moved quickly, so it wasn’t ever boring, although it definitely felt fairly predictable. Still, in this case, the world and premise were interesting enough (and the protagonist, though a bit too perfect, likeable enough) that I’ll probably continue with this series, although I’m not sure how long it’s planned to be.
So this second chance worked out, mostly? I wouldn’t say I’m not a Marie Lu fan per se, but I think I will most likely pick up her next book, and hopefully it’ll develop further the aspects of this world that I liked.
(And yeah, I’ll be back soon with more second chance reads, since it’s still working pretty well.)
Have you been reading any sci-fi recently? Any favourites or recommendations you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll speak with you again soon!