A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Warcross is the first volume of a new futuristic cyberthriller by Marie Lu, author of The Young Elites and Legend. There are a few violent scenes: video game mayhem, a real-life assassination attempt, an explosion that injures some young contestants. Strong language is mostly "hell," with "s--t" once or twice. Gamers celebrate with champagne. Two teens flirt and share a few passionate embraces.
What's the story?
As WARCROSS opens, bounty hunter Em Chen finds herself on the brink of eviction from her apartment and complete financial disaster. But when she impulsively hacks the opening ceremonies for the international Warcross Championship, she unintentionally reveals herself in front of a global online audience. She becomes a pop sensation overnight and is whisked off to Tokyo to be a wild card contestant in the tournament. On top of that, Warcross inventor Hideo Tanaka takes a personal interest in her, one that will threaten the entire championship and put Em directly in the path of danger.
Is it any good?
Cyberpunk fell out of favor for a while, but this futuristic thriller jump-starts the genre and sends it careering in a promising new direction. Marie Lu has proven her skills with dystopian fiction and pseudo-medieval fantasy, and now she displays a steady hand with virtual reality in Warcross. Lu has created a winning protagonist in Em, and her perceptive and plucky narrative voice keeps the story moving, even when the action turns a little talky. Suspense and romance take a while to rev up, but eventually Warcross is firing on all cylinders. Readers should be aware that the book ends with a cliffhanger, but it's a doozy, one almost guaranteed to compel fans to return for the second installment.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Warcross depicts futuristic online interactions. How can people cope with the rapid pace of technological innovation?
Why do people like to play computer games? Should there be limits on how long kids can play them during the day?
How might strong virtual reality inhibit privacy? What can be done to protect privacy online?
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