A series by Marie Lu.
Emika Chen is young, brilliant, and ... broke.
In a world where everyone plays the amazingly interactive video game Warcross, whose top players are celebrities, Emika gets by more or less well as a bounty hunter.
Then, one night, she impulsively hacks the game. Instead of being punished for it, however, the game's creator, the young and mysterious Hideo Tanaka, brings her to Tokio, to compete in the top Warcross league and find another, more sinister hacker...
Tropes in this novel:
- Bounty Hunter: Emika.
- Cranky Landlord: Mr. Aslo, Emika and Keira's landlord in New York. Though they are very late in paying their rent.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Hideo. His little brother disappeared while they were playing in a park, when Hideo was eight and his brother Sasuke six.
- Disappeared Dad: Well, he died when Emika was eleven.
- Meet the In-Laws: Hideo introduces Emika to his parents at one point.
- Missing Mom: All that's known about her is that she left the family when Emika was a little girl.
- Multicolored Hair: Emika, she's very proud of it.
- Playful Hacker: Emika. She doesn't really want to hurt anyone, and she's a rather brilliant hacker.
- Rags to Riches: One day Emika knows she's not going to be able to pay the rent and so desperate as to hack the Warcross game, the next she's being flown into Tokio in a fancy private plane and both her rent and her debt have been taken care of. She even gets a whole new wardrobe made of designer clothes once she is part of one of the major Warcross teams.
- Satellite Character: Keira, Emika's roommate. She only shows up in the beginning and is only mentioned once after Emika leaves for Tokio.
- Starving Artist: Implied with Emika's father. She still has one of his pictures, but she also inherited his debts.
- Tabloid Melodrama: After Emika hacks into Warcross and is called up to play in the Wardraft, many gossip rags start digging through her personal life. Many of them suspect that there is something between her and Hideo. They're not wrong.
- Tattooed Crook: Emika, sort of. She has lots of tattoos, and she did serve a bit time in prison as a teenager due to a hack.
- The Reveal: A few. Hideo plans to use the Neuro Links to control people. Zero is trying to stop him. Also, Zero is actually Hideo's little brother Sasuke, who disappeared when he was six.
- Teen Genius: Hideo Tanaka is only 21 and already the owner of a huge company. He also invented the technology for Warcross when he was 13. Also, Emika hacked the data of a huge amount of students and teachers when she fourteen.
- Trapped by Gambling Debts: Hinted at with Emika's father. She mentions having inherited his debts.