Overall Book Count: 1/80
Popsugar Reading Challenge: 1/50
Prompt: A LitRPG Book

“Welcome to the Warcross Opening Ceremony Game.”

I decided to start 2019 off right, with a high-energy YA read—that’s young adult for those of you who don’t speak the lingo. Contrary to popular belief, YA books are not necessarily written strictly for that upper-teen market. Think Hunger Games, that series was enjoyed the world over by people of varying ages, from your tween all-the-way through grandma and grandpa. This book follows suit.

So, what is LitRPG? It is short for Literary Role Playing Game. Essentially, it is a combination of RPG video games infused with your typical science fiction novel. To qualify as LitRPG, a book needs to demonstrate statistics (health, experience points, etc.) into the story. Now, to be honest, that sounded dreadful initially. While I do enjoy video games on occasion, I did not wish to read “+100 experience” every time a character took a sip of coffee (we all know coffee helps one level up in the real world.)

Thankfully, the way Marie Lu incorporates this within Warcross is anything but boring statistical information. She weaves it into the narrative flawlessly, it is as important to the story as setting and plot. The world comes alive in her words, in itself, it becomes a semblance of virtual reality, much like the world of Warcross.

“See? he’d said. Every locked door has a key, Emi.”

In Warcross you follow the journey of Emika Chen, a girl living in a world dominated by a virtual-reality based video game called Warcross. It dominates the landscape, in a way resembling how our present-day Fortnite transcends into our real-life: the dances, the videos, the constant and growing presence in our stores and conversation.

From our vantage point, we get to see Emi thrust into the middle of this world in a way that forces her to change everything she knows. Imagine going from sitting on your couch preparing to watch the Superbowl in a few weeks, to standing on the sidelines in uniform waiting for the coach to call your name. That is the journey we find ourselves on with our unlikely misfit hero, Emi. And boy, is it a journey.

Video games. Virtual dragons. Virtual capture-the-flag. Assassination plots. Intrigue. Deception. Underground gaming. Nightclubs. Nothing is off-limits in this world. You never know where the story will take you. That’s part of the fun.

So, if you are a fan of misfit heroes taking a journey: this book may be for you. If you find technology and video games intriguing: this book may be for you. If you want a easy-reading, adventure: this book may be for you.

Readers of the Hunger Games, Maze Runner, or any of the former series that captured the teenager-against-the-status-quo spirit, this book is likely to please.

Enjoy the journey. Warcross awaits.

Everyone has a different way of escaping the dark stillness of their mind. This, I learned, was mine.

Rating: 4.5/5
I would say the book is appropriate for 13+, there’s some brief romantic encounters and violence. But nothing too heavy.

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