Tag Archives: Marie Lu

Warcross: A Review

“Everything’s science fiction until someone makes it science fact.”

by Marie Lucover art for Warcross by Marie LuEmika Chen’s life is a constant struggle. Since her father’s death she’s been drowning in deby as she tries to pay off the medical expenses and gambling debts he left behind. Emika is a stellar hacker but thanks to the arrest on her record she can’t get any jobs near a computer. Instead she works as a bounty hunter tracking down petty criminals who do stupid things like gamble on Warcross and hustling to stay ahead of the competition.

Warcross is the one place where Emika can relax. The virtual reality game is a diversion, a competition, and place where Emika can remember what she loves: coding. With an eviction notice hanging over her head it’s also a place where she can take a big risk and hack into the opening game of the Warcross Championship to try and steal an item and erase her debt.

When the hack goes spectacularly wrong Emika thinks she’s heading for a swift arrest and jail. But instead she is whisked to Tokyo where she meets Warcross’s creator–eccentric young millionaire Hideo Tanaka–and is hired to work as a spy and bounty hunter tracking down a hacker who is threatening the Warcross world.

To cover for her real mission Emika is placed in the Wardraft and becomes part of the Championship. Winning the Championship and finding the hacker could change Emika’s life forever. Getting too close to the truth could change the world of Warcross and beyond forever in Warcross (2017) by Marie Lu.

Warcross is the first book in Lu’s Warcross duology.

Lu has once again created a well-realized and fascinating world where virtual reality and augmented reality are plausibly integrated into everyday life. This plot-driven story is fast-paced and full of action as Emika’s investigation brings her into Tokyo as well as the virtual worlds of Warcross and the Dark World typically inhabited by criminals and hackers.

The coding and gameplay aspects of Warcross can feel convenient while more than one twist will leave readers wondering if a few frank conversations between characters could have avoided many of the novel’s main conflicts. The tension of the championship and the urgency of Emika’s investigation to track down the Warcross hacker, known only as Zero, raise the stakes enough to detract from these holes in the plot.

Warcross is filled with distinct characters from a variety of backgrounds ranging from poor Hammie, a champion Thief in Warcross who uses her winnings to support her family to DJ Ren–a champion Warcross player/French DJ sensation–and Phoenix Rider team captain Asher who is American and flies through Warcross games in virtual reality while navigating the real world in a high tech wheelchair. While Emika is immediately drawn into the camaraderie and competition surrounding Warcross (not to mention drawn to enticing and mysterious Hideo) she knows she can’t let her guard down if she wants to identify Zero and beat the other bounty hunters to the prize.

The high stakes of the Warcross championship blend well with the larger mystery of finding Zero.The excitement and twists, particularly in the second half of the novel, work well to draw readers in and help them ignore the fact that a few frank conversations could solve most if not all of Emika and Hideo’s problems.

This duology starter is filled with inventive world building, top notch characters, and provocative questions about who (if anyone) deserves a redemption arc. Warcross draws readers in with action and gaming, but where it really shines is with the thoughtful meditation on what separates heroes from villains in a world that is anything but black and white. Recommended.

Possible Pairings: A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi, For the Win by Cory Doctorow, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray, Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, Heir Apparent by Vivian Vande Velde

*An advance copy of this title was provided by the publisher for review consideration at BookExpo 2017*

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Champion: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

Champion by Marie LuTogether June and Day have faced death, loss and countless other obstacles in their efforts to help the people of the Republic. June is now poised to serve at the Elector’s side while Day is in a respected position within the military. With Anden taking the country in new directions as Elector, it finally seems like the Republic is worth saving.

Whether the country actually can be saved remains to be seen. An already elusive treaty with the neighboring Colonies becomes all but impossible when a new, far deadlier, plague surfaces and war threatens to break out anew.

With so much already lost, June and Day might have to sacrifice even more if they want to save the Republic–or themselves–in Champion (2013) by Marie Lu.

Champion is the conclusion to Marie Lu’s “Legend” Trilogy which began with Legendand Prodigy.

Champion is an excellent conclusion to a trilogy that has been both action-packed and heartbreaking. It’s amazing to see how much all of the characters have grown over the course of the series as they make hard decisions and gain perspective on all of the choices that led to this present moment.

While the second book in the series was more plot-driven, Champion is more introspective* and brings the focus back to June and Day’s relationship. Alternating chapters (as found in the other books) ensure that June and Day have equal time telling the story. It is, however, interesting to note the subtle shift as June is finally able to become as completely selfless in her heroics as Day was from the beginning.

It’s easy to talk about romance in a story with characters who are attractive both apart and together. Finding true partnerships is much more difficult. Lu has created the latter here. While Day and June are both strong and capable on their own, Champion confirms that together this duo is all but unstoppable.

Because of the intricate plot and world-building that brings readers to previously unseen parts of Day and June’s world, it’s unlikely readers will be able to follow Champion without reading the earlier books in the series. That said, Champion is easily the best of the series complete with a satisfying epilogue to round out a sensational plot. Highly recommended.

*Don’t worry, there are still tons of high octane action sequences and nail biting moments too!

Possible Pairings: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi, White Cat by Holly Black, Graceling by Kristin Cashore, The Selection by Kiera Cass, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Wither by Lauren DeStefano, The Diabolic by S. J. Kincaid, Proxy by Alex London, Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, Birthmarked by Caragh M. O’Brien, Divergent by Veronica Roth, This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin

Prodigy: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

Prodigy by Marie LuJune and Day arrive in Vegas just in time for everything to change: The Elector Primo has died. His son, Anden, will replace him as leader of the Republic.

Escaped fugitives desperate to get away from the reach of the Republic, June and Day fall in with the Patriots–an organization trying to overthrow the Republic. The Patriots are happy to help Day find his brother and get them all passage to the neighboring Colonies. For a price.

If June and Day help assassinate the new Elector, they can finally be free, maybe even happy. And together.

The only problem is that as June learns more about the Patriots and their plan she realizes the new Elector might not be the problem and the Patriots might not be anyone she or Day can trust.

Revolution might not be the only way to change things in the Republic. Bloodshed and war might not be the only cost either in Prodigy (2013) by Marie Lu.

Prodigy is the sequel to Lu’s wildly popular debut, Legend. The Legend trilogy will conclude with Champion‘s release in November 2013.

Prodigy picks up right where Legend left off with Day and June on the run. Lu deftly combines new and old information to bring readers up to speed without sacrificing the story’s pacing.

Once again the novel alternates between chapters narrated by Day and June. There are more false starts and near misses as both Day and June begin to wonder about their future in the midst of disapproval and their own doubts.

Prodigy is a clever, action-packed story of revolution and change. Lu expertly unpacks the idea of working within the system versus without. Prodigy also delivers a lot more information about the world of the Republic as well as its neighboring countries to add a fascinating dimension of world politics to the story.

With an ending that is as shocking as it is heartbreaking, Prodigy is sure to leave readers eager for this trilogy’s final installment–a book that is sure to be another stunner in a fine series.

Possible Pairings: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi, White Cat by Holly Black, Graceling by Kristin Cashore, The Selection by Kiera Cass, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Wither by Lauren DeStefano, The Diabolic by S. J. Kincaid, Proxy by Alex London, Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, Birthmarked by Caragh M. O’Brien, Divergent by Veronica Roth, This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin

*This book was acquired for review from the publisher at BEA 2012*

Legend: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

Legend by Marie LuJune and Day are part of the same nation: The Republic of America. They’re in the same city: Los Angeles, California. Their lives could not be more different.

Born into an elite family, June lives in a wealthy sector with her brother Metias and every luxury the Republic has to offer. A prodigy who passed her Trial with more than flying colors, June is training to join the Republic military and take her rightful position among the country’s leaders in their continuing war against the Patriots.

Day is not elite, or wealthy, and he’s definitely not a prodigy. Born in the Lake Sector slums, Day’s family thinks he’s dead. It’s safer that way. Better he have no connections to anyone when he is the most wanted criminal in the Republic.

No one knows what Day looks like or where to find him. His odds of avoiding capture and continuing to be a thorn in the Republic’s side are quite good. Until Day takes a desperate risk for his family–one that leads to Day becoming the prime suspect in the murder of a Republic soldier.

Not just any soldier, though. With her brother dead, June is highly motivated to catch his killer both to prove herself to her military superiors and to earn Metias some much-deserved justice. She is willing to do anything to achieve her goal.

From different worlds, pitted against each other, June and Day are obvious enemies. When sinister secrets about the Republic come to light, Day and June are also their own best allies in their search for the truth in Legend (2011) by Marie Lu.

Legend is Lu’s first novel.

There are a lot of books that have been called “the next Hunger Games” or otherwise compared to Suzanne Collins’ bestselling, amazing trilogy. A lot of them are quite good. Legend was one of those books. It has also been receiving steady hype since this summer. As with many books that get a lot of buzz, I expected to enjoy Legend.

I did not expect to be completely engrossed and impressed. But I was.

Legend is the first book that I’ve thought was completely on par with The Hunger Games without any reservations.

Written in chapters that alternate between Day and June’s narrations* the story is filled with action and tension. Lu masterfully creates two unique characters with their own narrative voices that add depth to an already exciting story. In an over-saturated genre, Legend keeps readers guessing to the very end not just about what will happen to June and Day but about some of the key tenets of the world she has created.

Legend is the first book in a series that promises adventure and suspense as well as a variety of diverse, layered characters. Lu, and her debut novel, are sure to find a place in the hearts of many readers looking for a worthy follow-up to The Hunger Games.

*The book is packaged with DAY or JUNE written across the top of each chapter. Day’s chapters are printed in a bold, gold colored sans serif font while June’s are the more traditional black serif. Some people were unimpressed by the packaging, my mom couldn’t even tell some text was gold. I quite liked the touch and thought it was very clever and well done.

Possible Pairings: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi, White Cat by Holly Black, Graceling by Kristin Cashore, The Selection by Kiera Cass, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Wither by Lauren DeStefano, The Diabolic by S. J. Kincaid, Proxy by Alex London, Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, Birthmarked by Caragh M. O’Brien, Divergent by Veronica Roth, This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin

*This book was acquired for review from the publisher at BEA 2011