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1-Page Summary of Warcross
Marie Lu worked as an art director at a video game company before she started writing full-time. She is best known for her dystopian and science fiction books, which have been nominated for various awards. Her first book in the Warcross series was popular with teenagers because it tells the story of a bounty hunter who participates in an international online game to track down his marks.
The book Warcross is set in a future where technology has advanced to the point that people can play virtual reality games. The game Warcross is so popular that many players make a living from it. Emika Chen lives in New York City and works as a waitress by day, but she’s not happy with her life because of the rules imposed on her at work. She wants independence, so she decides to start working for the police tracking down rogue gamers who use their skills for illegal purposes.
In Warcross, Emika is two days away from being evicted. She’s a bounty hunter in New York City, trying to make ends meet. There are too many people competing for good jobs and it’s difficult to earn enough money with her current job as a bounty hunter. She loses one of her bounties to another person and returns home dejectedly wondering how she will tell Keira that they’re going to have to move out.
Keira is unemployed and spends all her time playing Warcross. She doesn’t want to feel bad about it, so she plays the game instead. Keira invites Emika to play the game with her because they’re both having a hard time finding jobs. Emika tells Keira that she has a plan—she’s going to hack into Warcross and steal an upgrade that will help them make money on the black market. It sounds like a good idea, but Keira reminds her that Warcross can’t be hacked.
Emika hacks into the game and becomes famous. She is in trouble with the police because she broke the law without permission. Emika doesn’t want fame and regrets playing Warcross. Her life gets worse when Hideo Tanaka, who created Warcross, wants to meet her in Tokyo.
Emika is excited and terrified about meeting Hideo. She idolizes him, but she knows that he’s probably angry with her. When Emika goes to Tokyo, she expects to be scolded by Hideo for hacking his system. Instead, he offers her a deal: if she can find the hacker Zero and capture him in Warcross, he will pay her $10 million. Although there must be a catch, Emika accepts the offer because of how much money it would bring in. She joins forces with other players called the Phoenix Riders as they enter Warcross competitions together. They are all better than Emika at playing on the virtual field, so she works behind-the-scenes looking for people who play illegally using an underground market called Dark World. Her teammates support her by giving additional training; however, they don’t know about what she does outside of their team sessions.
Emika finds Zero in the Dark World, but she can’t get close enough to him to catch him. She does, however, stumble upon one of her teammates playing a game called “The Real”. He tells Hideo about this and they decide that Ren is going to try and kill them in the real world. A hit man tries to shoot Hideo before Emika can warn him.
Although the hit man fails to kill Hideo, he knows that he isn’t safe. Emika must find Zero and stop him before someone is hurt in real life. Emika realizes that she cares about Hideo more than she thought, and has feelings for him as well. Although Hideo does have feelings for her, he doesn’t want a relationship because it might cloud their judgment—making them vulnerable to getting hurt or killed. Emika agrees with this sentiment but still wants to protect him from harm’s way by finding Zero as soon as possible.