The Backstagers Vol. 1 by James Tynion IV + Rian Sygh Review

The Backstagers Volume 1 by James Tynion IV and Ryan SyghThe Backstagers Volume 1 by James Tynion IV + Rian Sygh

Publisher: BOOM! Box

Release Date: July 25, 2017

Pages: 112

Summary:All the world’s a stage . . . but what happens behind the curtain is pure magic literally! 

When Jory transfers to an all-boys private high school, he’s taken in by the only ones who don’t treat him like a new kid, the lowly stage crew known as the Backstagers. Not only does he gain great, lifetime friends, Jory is also introduced to an entire magical world that lives beyond the curtain. With the unpredictable twists and turns of the underground world, the Backstagers venture into the unknown, determined to put together the best play their high school has ever seen. 

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: The Backstagers is a fun, colorful, and diverse graphic novel that shows the magic both on and behind the stage! The plot and characters are unique and the art is fantastic!

It’s been quite a while since I’ve read such a fun and vibrant graphic novel! The Backstagers is now definitely a new favorite graphic novel series.

The story follows Jory when he attends a new all-boys high school. With his mother’s new job going to be keeping her late the next few months, she tells him it would be best if he join a club or some sort of after-school activity.

After finding his way into the school theater to check out Drama Club, he literally gets thrust into this new club when Kevin & Blake McQueen, stars of the school’s theater for the past 3 years, give him a task to find ask/find a prop from the backstage crew!

The adventure starts from there when the two of the guys Aziz & Sasha easily begin treating him like part of the crew and give him equipment they need help getting to the rest of the crew: Hunter & Beckett!

He then find himself in magical tunnels that sit just behind the stage door and change randomly! When a large group of “Tool Rats” surround them, Jory does some quick thinking to get them out of the way and save the Backstagers!

He then decides that he wants to join the Backstagers and they easily make him feel welcome! With that, adventures continue as the Jory connects more with the crew and more mysteries are revealed about the magical tunnels.

What made this graphic novel so much fun, was the fact that we get thrust into the story so quickly that we are basically like Jory, very confused in the beginning, but easily falling in love with magic and adventure!

There’s also a lot of diverse representation which was so great, from gay main characters to characters of color (black & Middle-Eastern MC’s/Side-Characters), and Trans rep. (Beckett).

There’s such a seamlessly woven in themes/messages of friendship and acceptance! The crew has such great friendship dynamics and easily got along! Additionally, Jory is unsure if he can even fit in his new school, but after meeting the Backstagers feels much more welcome and included!

The fantasy and magic added into the story was so different and unique, I really loved it! Hoping to get an expansion on it in future volumes, because nearing towards the middle and especially the end, it became quite a larger part to the story!

I also really loved the art-style! Not only was it bright and colorful, but overall it was just a fun art-style that went along great with the story!

I did find some moments to be a little slow paced towards the middle and it would have been great to get more expansion on the darker side of the magic-system when it gets introduced into the story!

The Backstagers follows Jory as he decides to join the Drama Club and easily connects with the backstage crew! Friendship, adventure, and the perfect mix of comedy, are seamlessly woven into this fun + diverse graphic novel that also introduces a unique fantasy element! Cannot wait for Volume 2!

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Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore ARC Review

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemoreWild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Release Date: October 3, 2017

Pages: 320

Summary: Love grows such strange things.

For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, the lush estate gardens that enchant guests from around the world. They’ve also hidden a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. But then, after generations of vanishings, a strange boy appears in the gardens.

The boy is a mystery to Estrella, the Nomeolvides girl who finds him, and to her family, but he’s even more a mystery to himself; he knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As Estrella tries to help Fel piece together his unknown past, La Pradera leads them to secrets as dangerous as they are magical in this stunning exploration of love, loss, and family. 

My Rating:★★★★★

My Thoughts: Wild Beauty is a lush and wondrous magical realism tale that explores the magic of girls and gardens. With family, love, and identity as the main themes of this story, Anna-Marie’s latest tale will leave you breathless as you uncover the magic and mysteries that surround La Pradera!

When The Moon Was Ours was the first book by Anna-Marie McLemore that I’d ever read. After being immersed into her lyrical tale following Sam & Miel, McLemore easily became one of my favorite authors! Now having finished Wild Beauty, I can’t truly put into words how much I adore her stories! The vibrant tales and writing she weaves together, always leave me captivated!

La Pradera is home to the Nomeolvides women, who for generations have kept the lush garden estate thriving with their ability to conjure the most beautiful flowers all across the property. However with that, their legacy also harbors a curse.

If any of the women find themselves loving ever too deeply, their lovers will vanish. So centering around the cousins Estrella, Dalia, Calla, Azalea, and Gloria, the novel picks up right away when the girls decide to offer a precious belonging to the garden, understanding they are all in love with the same girl, owner of the estate, Bay Briar. Those offerings could perhaps protect her from disappearing too, just like Nomeolvides loves of the past.

Legacy and family were such present themes of Wild Beauty! Estrella begins to question and consider if the curse cast upon current and previous generations of women in her family can ever be broken. With that, this tale explores the expectations and history we bring with us in an effort to perhaps grow and break away from them, but always knowing we will have those to look back on.

The next day, Estrella finds a boy among the flowers, Fel. Though seen as an offering from the garden for Bay’s protection, regardless the cousins, abuelas and aunts take in this mysterious boy and make him a part of their family.

Fel has no memory of how he got to La Pradera, but believes he is in some sort of after-life and must atone for mistakes of his past. Over the course of the novel, as he builds a strong bond with these women he learns more about who he is and why he found himself at the Nomeolvides gardens. I fell in love with the relationship he develops with Estrella, it was written so beautifully~

I truly adored each and every thing of Wild Beauty (´▽`ʃƪ)♥♥ Through McLemore’s vivid and captivating 3rd person narrative, she forges a tale that encapsulates the magic of girls/women, family, love, legacy, and the everyday!

There’s exploration in the strength of family and sisterhood. As Estrella begins learning more about who Fel is, she also finds the bonds between her and her cousins growing so much. She discovers hidden truths of her family and through that we see how brave and determined she is to protect them, no matter the cost.

As for characters I adored every single one and they truly came to life from page 1! No matter how long/when they were introduced on the page, each character goes on their own journey with their growth and change as the tale grows. From Fel with his fierce kindness and loyalty, to Dalia with her determination and her strong-willed judgement to protect not only her family, but her heart as well.

Throughout Wild Beauty, McLemore beautifully explores differing identities of her fantastic characters with gay representation, the girls bisexuality, and Bay being gendeerqueer!

With love being a central theme of this story, McLemore not only explores but uncovers the depths of love, with all its dangers and its necessities. Wild Beauty perfectly captures the journey of the heart one takes in the trial of love and loss. But overall it delivers a powerful and true message that the love in your heart is forever and always valid.

Being Latina myself, I easily connected to not only Estrella and the Nomeolvides women so much, but the wonderfully written Latinx culture McLemore weaved in throughout this magical tale. Additionally, the sisterhood and powerful bonds between the female cousins was something I could definitely relate to!

There is so much I want to say about this novel, but truly cannot put into words. McLemore’s stories always manage to weave there way into the depths of my heart and leave me seeing and wondering in the magic of the everyday!

This novel discusses so much from culture to love, identity, family, sisterhood, and I loved each and every single moment of it!

Wild Beauty is pure magic! Through the lush prose, this novel explores mystery, magic, love and so much more! With a plot that leaves you enchanted, you’ll find yourself immersed into the secret and wonderous world of the Nomeolvides! 🌸🌹🍃✨

+ Keep an eye on the blog for a Wild Beauty Playlist! ✨🎧📚(´▽`ʃƪ)

An Enchantment Of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson ARC Review

An Enchantment Of Ravens by Margaret RogersonAn Enchantment Of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Release Date: September 26, 2017

Pages: 300

Summary: Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized among them. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes – a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love, violating the fair folks’ ruthless Good Law. There’s only one way to save both their lives, Isobel must drink from the Green Well, whose water will transform her into a fair one—at the cost of her Craft, for immortality is as stagnant as it is timeless.

Isobel has a choice: she can sacrifice her art for a future, or arm herself with paint and canvas against the ancient power of the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.

~Received ARC from a festival~

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: With descriptive writing, intrigue, and adventure, An Enchantment Of Ravens follows artist Isobel as she journeys to the land of the fae to clear her name!

To start, I absolutely adored the writing! Rogerson’s atmospheric and descriptive writing style really flowed with the story and added a unique layer to it overall.

The story was so immersive and no matter where/when I picked the book back up, I was transported immediately back into the world of Whimsy + the fae lands!

From descriptions to paints, forests, and even hidden emotion, I felt the first person POV really made this fantasy tale blossom on the page.

The writing not only was descriptive and immersive, but also delivered a layer of complexity to the world and characters that allowed for a unique view into this fantasy world.

Its definitely a perfect book to pick up during the fall season~  🍂🍃✨

I will definitely be reading Rogerson’s future books b/c I absolutely adored the writing and creativity of AEoR ❤

I adored the characters, setting/world, writing, plot…basically everything about this story! I loved the banter/chemistry between Rook + Isobel! The relationship they developed while traveling did feel somewhat forced in the beginning for me, but as the story progressed I really enjoyed reading about their relationship as they connected with each other along the way.

I usually really don’t like hate to love banter, but Rogerson wrote it in such a way where it never felt forced and flowed well through their character and the writing.

While I don’t read many books surrounding fae/faeries, I really enjoyed the unique lore and world Rogerson was able to weave into her world of Whimsy, whether it was the importance of Craft, the fae lands, or when learning more about the fae royals/fae themselves.

It was also interesting to read about the dynamic between fae + humans and just what Craft represented to the fae.

Isobel is a painter who is the best at her Craft, with the work she does prized by the fae. When her most frequent fae visitor Gadfly informs her the Autumn prince, Rook will be visiting her for a portrait she is honored and a little nervous (considering Rook hasn’t laft the fae lands for quite some time).

After Rook discovers the emotion she’s painted into his portrait, she now must stand on trial for her mistake. Now Rook & Isobel are traveling across fae lands, encountering monsters, and dealing with the inner politics of the fae!

Another aspect of the fae that really added depth to them and the world, was how they viewed Craft and what it represented to these people who could live for hundreds, even thousands of years, and never truly understand the depth of human nature!

That was the most fascinating aspect, that while it was explored later on in the story, was something that surprised me and added this whole other side to the fae I never considered.

As a standalone, I found that Rogerson did a great job at developing the lore, characters, world, etc. and really allowed for the story to end with everything wrapped up well, but also leave you wanting more which just added to the magic of the story so much!!

My only issue is that while the pacing was pretty even throughout the story, I felt the plot was rather rushed and felt some plot points could have been expanded on a little more to add more depth.

An Enchantment Of Ravens is an immersive tale with beautiful writing that adds such depth to a unique world and story! With the perfect blend of romance, intrigue, action, and mystery, Rogerson’s debut will sweep you into this lush and magical world!

The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell Review

The Last Magician by Lisa MaxwellThe Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell (TLM #1)

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: July 18, 2017

Pages: 512

Summary: Stop the Magician. Steal the book. Save the future.

In modern-day New York, magic is all but extinct. The remaining few who have an affinity for magic—the Mageus—live in the shadows, hiding who they are. Any Mageus who enters Manhattan becomes trapped by the Brink, a dark energy barrier that confines them to the island. Crossing it means losing their power—and often their lives.

Esta is a talented thief, and she’s been raised to steal magical artifacts from the sinister Order that created the Brink. With her innate ability to manipulate time, Esta can pilfer from the past, collecting these artifacts before the Order even realizes she’s there. And all of Esta’s training has been for one final job: traveling back to 1902 to steal an ancient book containing the secrets of the Order—and the Brink—before the Magician can destroy it and doom the Mageus to a hopeless future.

But Old New York is a dangerous world ruled by ruthless gangs and secret societies, a world where the very air crackles with magic. Nothing is as it seems, including the Magician himself. And for Esta to save her future, she may have to betray everyone in the past. 

My Rating:★★★☆☆

My Thoughts: The Last Magician mixes fantasy with historical fiction as we follow Esta and her mission to travel back to 1902 to find an ancient book protected by the Order! With the book she will be able to save Mageus, such as herself, in the present and hopefully, future! Maxwell’s novel has elements of fantasy, mystery and adventure to keep you turning the page!

After reading the synopsis, hearing great buzz, and reading such positive reviews, I went into The Last Magician expecting to really enjoy it, sadly that wasn’t the case and I found myself quite disappointed.

While this book wasn’t necessarily my cup of tea, there were definitely elements I really enjoyed and the plot itself has me intrigued to read the sequel and see what happens next!

Overall my biggest issue was the writing-style. It felt very flat to me and did more “telling” rather than showing. Because of that, it gave too much of the characters upfront and never really left room for interpretation. With the writing, so much of the characters motivations and personalities were stated so obviously and the writing itself was very direct, so I never really felt connected to any of the characters.

While it was great to also see the story from differing perspectives through the 3rd person POV, the pacing did become extremely slow and because of the writing style, the characters and elements of the story felt very flat to me. I had to put down the book a number of times within the couple weeks I read it, because the pacing and writing never really clicked.

While I found the characters a little difficult to connect to, Maxwell did make the story very character driven which I liked!

There was definitely a fantastical/magical tone that came with the story, though the writing which I liked! I also really enjoyed how the writing flowed well among the multiple POV’s. Being split among 4 parts, I did find parts 1 & 4 to be the most fast paced and immersive!

Time travel is something I enjoy in stories and felt that Maxwell did a great job at easily transitioning the tone of the story from present to early 1900’s and the setting, while very surface level at times, was presented well.

The plot itself left me very invested to see how Esta would be able to find the Ars Arcana, the Book and use it to bring down the Order, an ancient + secret organization that doesn’t like magicians such as herself.  The first chapter really pulled me into the story as the action started right away!

Professor Lachlan, her father-figure and guardian has trained her as a thief to find and protect artifacts used by the Order. So, he instructs her to use her ability to manipulate time to travel to 1902, find the Magician and prevent them from losing the book and ensure she can bring the book back to her time.

Once in the past, we learn more about characters such as Harte Darrigan who wants to find the book as well, but to be able to escape New York and start a new life. There’s also a gang introduced called The Devil’s Own, led by Dolph Saunders who’s crew is made up of Mageus and he’s looking for the book as well.

Esta spends a majority of the book with The Devil’s Own and I couldn’t help but compare the group to the crew in Six Of Crows! While they do have their differences, to be honest there were so many similarities that I picked up on between the characters. I never really found a connection to them, because they felt too much like characters I’d read before.

The magic system in this book was introduced very well and I found the idea of the Brink to be the most interesting aspect. The magical barrier that kept magicians trapped in New York was explored through the multiple POV’s in different ways and I really enjoyed that. But it would have been great to get more background on the magic because many aspects were very surface level.

As Esta becomes more involved with the characters in that time period, she learns more about the Order and how they work in early 1900’s New York and just how much is at stake if she doesn’t find the Book.

Overall this book had a lot of well thought out elements, I just personally found that the execution of the story sadly didn’t really work for me.

The ending did have twists and turns I didn’t expect, but it did feel a little too rushed when all the pieces finally came together. However, I was left very interested to see where the plot would be headed in the sequel!

The Last Magician is an enjoyable historical + urban fantasy novel to check out! While the pacing can be slow at points and the writing a little flat, the story itself has a lot of good elements for an immersive and character-driven tale!

Daughter Of The Burning City by Amanda Foody Review

Daughter Of The Burning City by Amanda FoodyDaughter Of The Burning City by Amanda Foody

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Release Date: July 25, 2017

Pages: 384

Summary: Sixteen-year-old Sorina has spent most of her life within the smoldering borders of the Gomorrah Festival. Yet even among the many unusual members of the traveling circus-city, Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years. This rare talent allows her to create illusions that others can see, feel and touch, with personalities all their own. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival’s Freak Show.

But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that—illusions, and not truly real. Or so she always believed…until one of them is murdered.

Desperate to protect her family, Sorina must track down the culprit and determine how they killed a person who doesn’t actually exist. Her search for answers leads her to the self-proclaimed gossip-worker Luca, and their investigation sends them through a haze of political turmoil and forbidden romance, and into the most sinister corners of the Festival. But as the killer continues murdering Sorina’s illusions one by one, she must unravel the horrifying truth before all of her loved ones disappear.

My Rating:★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Melding fantasy with elements of mystery, Foody’s novel follows Sorina as she soon discovers her illusions are being killed off and attempts to solve the case. Daughter Of The Burning City is filled with a unique and engaging world + mystery and magic at every turn!

Ever since I’d heard about Foody’s debut novel, I immediately put it onto my tbr and couldn’t wait to read it!

To start off, I loved the creativity of the Gomorrah Festival and in general the whole concept of DOTBC. With the descriptions of food to clothing, with each turn of the page I could always picture the festival/circus atmosphere and setting.

We follow Sorina, who is the Girl Who Sees Without Eyes. Her ability to create illusions (Illusion-Worker) has allowed her to be a part of the Gomorrah Festival Freak Show, using them as part of an act.

However they are not just illusions, but also her family. So, when they suddenly start being killed off, Sorina is worried for their safety.

She soon meets Luca, who has the ability to escape death. With his knowledge of many in Gomorrah/Up-Mountains they team up to try and solve the case.

I loved the unique dynamic she had with each of her illusions, through the fist person POV, they were so much more than just her family. She cared for them as they did for her. Villiam (the owner of their show) was like a father figure to Sorina, and with her role to one day take over, it was clear he put a lot of faith in Sorina.

I also really enjoyed Luca’s mysterious character + not only that, I also really loved the banter between both Luca & Sorina!

Foody did a great job at developing an aura of mystery throughout her novel. With Sorina trying to solve the case, I found myself making connections and solving the mysteries as the story progressed! I won’t spoil who it was, but the mystery of the story was one of my favorite parts and Foody did it so well. I found myself jumping back and forth between suspects because I constantly making new connections throughout the novel.

As mentioned above, I adored the creativity of DOTBC. It really came to life through the 1st person POV! I felt connected to Sorina and could really picture her unique world.

There was a lot of diverse representation of different sexualities among the main cast! From what I read, saw on twitter from the author + read from other reviews: Luca identified as demiromantic asexual, Sorina identified as bisexual, and Nicoleta (one of Sorina’s illusions) identified as lesbian.

Additionally, I love that Foody was able to build such a world in just one book! I find that there are never enough standalones in YA Fantasy, so if your looking for another one to add to your list, definitely add Daughter Of The Burning City. I will definitely be checking out Foody’s next books, because honestly this book was just so much fun to read! I just loved the creativity of her worlds + concepts!<3~
However, I did feel the world building could have used a little more development (such as setting and politics). Its clear there is so much history to the world of Gomorrah, the Up/Down Mountains and who rules them! However, I felt there were moments that when info was mentioned that could have used more expansion or it was mentioned sporadically and more description would have helped. I was very invested in the world and it would have been great to get more history to it.

Additionally there were a few moments I felt the pacing was a bit slow!

Aside from that..

If you like magic, politics, a bit of romance, plus the perfect amount of mystery/paranormal elements, then Daughter Of The Burning City is the dark and immersive YA Fantasy to check out!

The Royal Tutor Volume 1 by Higasa Akai {Manga Review}

The Royal Tutor Volume 1 by Higasa AkaiThe Royal Tutor Vol. 1 by Higasa Akai {TRT #1}

Publisher: Yen Press

Release Date: May 23, 2017

Pages: 192

Summary: Accepting the post of royal tutor at the court of the king of Granzreich, Heine Wittgenstein is a little professor with a big job ahead of him! Each of the kingdom’s four princes has a rather distinct personality. Does their diminutive new instructor have what it takes to lay down some learning? It’s a comedy of educational proportions!

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Following Heine Wittgenstein, he is the new tutor of the 4 princes in the kingdom of Granzreich! With starkly different personalities, Heine attempts to secure his role as their new tutor! The Royal Tutor is both comedic and heartfelt!

 I first figured out about this series, when I picked up a poster for it at one of Barnes & Noble’s Get Pop-Cultured events & I’m so glad I did! Its been a while since I’ve read manga and I think I’ve found a new favorite series~

Heine Wittgenstein heads to Weisburg Palace as the newest tutor to 4 of the 5 princes. He is requested by the king to tutor them and make them eligible for the throne, should something happen to the firstborn prince. He finds himself working with the difficult princes and while they’ve caused all the previous tutors to quit, Heine isn’t giving up so easily!

Heine himself is a mystery. Not much is known about how he became such a professional tutor (though some hints are given in the beginning), much of his background is a mystery.

This manga was so funny, from the running joke about Heine looking like a kid to the princes themselves! There were always funny moments in this volume 😂😂

As for the characters, I loved how different and unique the princes were. They all have their particular reason as to why they don’t like tutors, so it was interesting to see how Heine worked with each prince and learned more about them.

Licht (5th): The playboy

Leonhard (4th): The athletic & stubborn

Bruno (3rd): The braniac

Kai (2nd): The quiet and tough-looking prince who appears to be dark and broody, but is actually quite shy & loves cute things (´▽`ʃƪ)

The pacing was so well done and the story never dragged, it was a pretty quick read ( I finished this first volume within a couple hours). Essentially the plot surrounds Heine getting the prince’s to accept him as their new tutor, while learning more about them and their personality as he attempts to give them a test to see their strength + weaknesses in academics.

As for art style, I really loved how it showcased the backgrounds and outfits of the fictional locations of Weisburg Palace + Granzreich.

A few tidbits of info are given to learn more about Heine, but it was great to learn a little but more about him nearing the end!

I also really loved that even though they didn’t like Heine at first, by the end they saw how dedicated he was to work with/challenge them and help them, compared to their previous tutors who never made much of an effort.

Out of all the princes, Leonhard got the most development over the course of this first volume! He’s always feared tutors since he had a strict tutor when he was young and wants to avoid Heine at all costs. But Heine understands the differing sides to the princes and while Leonhard is still wary, he’s willing to try.

While there was so much I loved about The Royal Tutor, my only minor issue is that I do wish there was more background on the world. A lot of general info was given, but it would have been great to get more (though I’m sure it will be explored more in future volumes).

Hoping to learn more about the Queen, get a little more depth to the princes + 1st prince too, who was only mentioned briefly in the beginning!

I also managed to watch the first 3 episodes of the anime along with Volume 1 & I really loved it! It does add in maybe 1 or 2 scenes that are different from the manga (from what I remember), but I loved it so much & am hoping to watch more along with the other volumes! ❤ ❤

The Royal Tutors definitely makes it into the list of my new favorite mangas! I cannot wait to read volume 2!

The Royal Tutor is fast-paced, comedic manga that will have the pages flying by as Heine gets to know the 4 princes! With non-stop humor, great character-development and a few twists and turns along the way, this manga is a great start to a new series!

Warcross by Marie Lu ARC Review

Warcross by Marie LuWarcross by Marie Lu (Warcross #1)

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons BYR

Release Date: September 12, 2017

Pages: 368

Summary: For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

My Rating:★★★★★

My Thoughts: This action-packed masterpiece is filled with intrigue, phenomenal setting, characters, and plot, Warcross immerses you from page 1!

I flew through this book in less than a day and want to go back and read it all over again!😭✨

Everything, from the world to plot, characters, etc. that Marie Lu constructed was absolute genius!~😭❤️❤️

Warcross was a novel I went into with super high expectations, b/c obviously its Marie Lu (one of my all-time favorite authors) + I love video games/gaming! So its pretty obvious I was stoked about this book and it did not disappoint!

From the very beginning you are transported to this bright, colorful and intriguing story following Emika (Emi) Chen. She catches criminals for a living and is a brilliant hacker.

With her father having passed away, absentee mother, and one else to care for her, Emika works as a bounty hunter for the police to just get by. The novel starts off with her tracking down a gambler in the streets of Manhattan.

With the wide-spread popularity and accessibility of Warcross, rules are set up by the government to prevent players from gambling through it. And Emika finds herself catching these gamblers, among other people who use Warcross illegally!

However the hunt doesn’t go quite as planned and she doesn’t walk away with the money she needs. With roughly $13 left to her name, she’s unsure of what to do. To make matters worse, she has an eviction notice on the apartment she shares with her roommate Keira. With all the stress she’s under, to escape the real world for a little, she enters Warcross.

But after hacking herself into Warcross, she finds herself becoming an overnight celebrity and gets a call from Hideo Tanaka, her childhood idol + creator of Warcross!

Then, she’s headed to Tokyo to meet Tanaka because as it turns out, he needs her help as a bounty hunter to spy on this year’s Warcross tournament! Not only to find out about a hacker infiltrating the game, but also put an end to whatever they may be planning.

There is so much heart to this novel and you can clearly see it through Marie’s writing + Emika’s POV with the vibrant world building, clever gaming references (that I definitely picked up on), plot, setting, dialogue, everything!!

Another aspect of the world I really loved, was the futuristic tech introduced which had the ability to translate different languages, among other things and just seeing the impact of this technology on so many people was fascinating!~

Marie really brings the game of Warcross to life and after finishing this book, I wish it was real! 😭✨🕹🎮❤️💛💜

The plot itself goes in directions I was not expecting and there is so much intrigue, mystery, action/adventure and Marie balances all those aspects perfectly!

I loved all the characters equally and loved that there was tons of diversity in this novel! There’s a character who is in a wheelchair, and characters who are Latinx, Indian, Japanese, Chinese, and gay representation!

My only minor issue, was that I wanted Emika to interact a little more with the side characters, because they were all written so wonderfully and I just really wanted to know more about them.

Because this book doesn’t come out for another month or so, I really want to avoid spoilers, but yes it was phenomenal!

It even pulled me out of my reading slump! The story was fun, fast-paced and just AMAZING!~ ❤

After turning the final page, you’ll be wishing Warcross was real! This fun, fast-paced, action-packed adventure with intrigue, phenomenal character-development and world-building is not one to miss!

+ Keep an eye out on the blog (around release day) for a Warcross Reading Playlist! 😍✨🎧📚