by Hal Patnott
The title that I selected this week comes from an author already established for the popular appeal of her young adult literature, Marie Lu. Continuing with our theme of featuring books that demonstrate ALSC’s Core Values (collaboration, excellence, inclusiveness, innovation, integrity and respect, leadership and responsiveness), Warcross stands out for excellence and innovation. Stop by the Butler Center to take a look at our advanced galley.
Eighteen-year-old Emika Chen hunts alone. With her cracked phone and her second-hand, electric skateboard, she uses her hacking skills to track down the criminals in Manhattan that the police don’t have time for, Warcross Gamblers. The whole world is consumed by Warcross, a virtual reality game played by two teams that battle their opponents’ Artifact. Emika dreams of playing in the Warcross Championships, but her criminal record disqualifies her from ever entering the Wardraft as a one of the lucky Wild Card players that get selected by the teams each year. However, Emika’s dream comes true when one of her hacks accidentally glitches her into the All-Star Game of this Warcross season’s Opening Ceremony. The whole world sees and so does Hideo Tanaka, the mysterious, young billionaire who founded Henka Games and revolutionized virtual reality. Overnight, Emika’s world changes when Hideo flies her to Tokyo, enters her into the Wardraft, and hires her for her most dangerous and high-stakes bounty hunt ever.
Charged with suspense and action, Warcross is a fast-paced and immersive adventure. The story opens mid-hunt and the intrigue never dies away. Even the cliffhanger ending suggests Warcross is only the beginning of a much bigger plot. Cinematic action sequences and vivid, other-worldly, virtual landscapes add to the appeal. Although fans of team-based games like Overwatch and League of Legends will appreciate the style of gaming in Warcross, the mechanics of the game are well-developed throughout the book so that readers unfamiliar with video gaming terminology can get swept away by the action. This September release is an unmissable addition to young adult collections.