Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune–and remarkable power–to whoever can unlock them.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved–that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt–among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life–and love–in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?

When I picked up Ready Player One I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I kept hearing claims like “80s rock opera” and “geek’s dream”. Those are so the truth. I’ve never really been a big 80s fan. I’m a child of the 90s, sure I watched some of the movies, listened to the music, and played some of the games…but it never really pulled me in. Reading Ready Player One had me wanting to go back in time. I started a list of music to hunt down, books to read (or re-read), movies to find…yep, I’m ready. Who knows maybe I’ll need the knowledge. ;)

I’ve always been a tentative gamer. I play some, but not much really hooks me. If OASIS, the game/way of life in Ready Player One existed, I’d be playing it. Throughout the entire book I kept seeing similarities between it and a game I’ve mentioned playing before – Second Life. Sure, it’s a ramped up version, but SO close. Because of having played it I could easily see how the outside world can slip away and you can be so absorbed into this alternate reality.

On that same note though, you can’t help but feel a bit sad that these people don’t really know about the real world at all. It’s set in a very near-distant future, is this possibly what the world could be like in 30 or so years?

The entire idea behind Ready Player One is fascinating. They live in this society in which the real world is devastated, instead they live in OASIS. They attend school there, they work, they explore, they play. And now they try to find what is essentially the answer to their prayers – a lot of money and ownership of the company behind OASIS. Potential Willy Wonka inspiration? Of course, everyone wants that control.

Wade is a believable character, he’s the ideal fanboy. He worships Halliday and knows every detail of his life and everything he enjoyed. Wade’s friends also won my heart. Of course, there’s a threat of a company wanting the fortune and power for themselves.

Cline explains his fictional world in great detail, but manages to keep it fun. Even non-fans of the 80s are going to be able to get what’s going on and probably pick up on many of the references. That said there is TONS of trivia covering 80s pop culture. I had a blast trying to find potential references to pop culture and trying to decode what the puzzles could mean. Self-proclaimed geeks are going to fall in love with this book.

Note: Ready Player One could arguably be considered adult or YA. I feel it’s the type of book that could fit all readers that have a knowledge or interest in the 80s or gaming.

I received my copy of Ready Player One: A Novel in exchange for my honest opinion.

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Comments

  1. kimba88 says:

    While I am not a gamer..i am surrounded by them. My hubs and kids love it. This sounds like a fun read. Thanks for sharing it!

  2. Shortskie says:

    I’m a gamer all the way and I picked up this book the other day and am so excited to read this. Thank you for the review :D

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