MY RATING : ★★,5 /5
Maybe because I loved The Young Elites trilogy too much that I had very high expectations for this one.
Marie Lu returns with a promising action-packed adventure of Emika Chen in the virtuality world, where she has to go through some struggles to hunt down the players who bet illegally on the game.
I guess if she stayed on the plot, where we follow a desperate teenager with 6,000$ in debts trying to hunt down the illegal players it would be a little bit more twisted and dark. However, what I feared the most had happened 10 pages into the book.
THE LUCKY MAIN CHARACTER SYNDROME.
A syndrome where our young protagonist suddenly passes from a poor teenage girl who had nothing left turn into the luckiest girl in the world : get noticed by a millionaire guy, happens to be a hottie, offering her the job of her dream, telling to pack and travel to Tokyo in his private jet… Furthermore, Erika Chen was depicted as a smart and witty main character but I couldn’t connect with her nor her romantic partner. I got more love for the side characters than the main characters honestly ahah.
Needless to say, it started badly for me.
However I convinced myself to finish the book and see what all the hype is about. And one thing that has been noticed by a lot of reviewer: the amazing Warcross world.
“Warcross was pretty simple: two teams battled each other, one trying to take the other team’s Artifact (a shiny gem) without losing their own.” – Marie Lu
Warcross is introduced to us as this amazing game, a battle, that everyone is addicted and to escape our everyday lives we spend almost all of our time in that virtual experience via what they called : NeuroLink.
“ […]these ultra-slim glasses are called the NeuroLink, and you wear them as easily as any pair of regular glasses.When you wore it, it helped your brain render virtual worlds that looked and sounded indistinguishable from reality. […]Imagine flying through a fantasy world of dragons and elves. Anything.
With the press of a tiny button on its side, the glasses could also switch back and forth like polarized lenses between the virtual world and the real world. ”
Oh my, the visual neurosciences student in me was triggered. One of the things that bothers me the most in novels is when they try to give a scientific explanation and it doesn’t make sense. At least, in Ready Player One, the author didn’t try to explain how the VR works but when you attempt into going in that direction, at least give us some concrete science basics of the device. Don’t give me that easy-life-glasses-are-the best, they can somehow MAKE your brain see things you wouldn’t see. OKAY. HOW?
However, one thing I really liked about this novel is the imagination Marie Lu put into the different scenes of combat, or where the players have to duel. I also give the second star for the discussions raised towards the limits of accessing too much of human brains in the novel. You can clearly sense it’s an ethical question that we all need to reflect upon or even closer than we thought, adapt to the situation.
Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a free copy to review!