Ready Player One: Book Review By Dinh.
In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenager Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines- puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.
But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win- and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.
Synopsis from paperback edition, 372 pages, copyright 2011, published by Crown Publishing Group.
OMG, I loved Ready Player One by Ernest Cline!
Surprisingly, this book was recommended to me by a librarian at my local library. She also told me to check out Cline’s second book, Armada.
As a fan of sci-fi and 80s pop culture this book was right up my alley. What a great find! This book was such a fun read.
Here’s why I liked it!
I read this book completely on the Kindle app on my iPad in a few days. It’s a really quick read because the story moved along quite quickly and I just kept on turning the pages.
Ready Play One was also action packed so the pace of the book was good all the way to the end of the book. There was no time to get bored!
Great Story Line:
At the heart this book is an adventure in virtual world to find three hidden keys to open the secret gates and get to the treasure that was step up by James Halliday, the creator of OASIS rvhscmf.
The prize for this treasure hunt is so immense that the bad guys (corporation) are willing to kill to get what they want.
The title of the book, Ready Player One, just reveals what the story is going to be about. It’s the words that appear as the person enters the virtual world.
I love the premise of the story. Set in the distance future where there’s even a bigger gap between those that have and those that don’t. In this dystopian world, the OASIS is where the kids have a chance to be on the same level.
I enjoyed the fact that it moved from reality, which in Wade’s life was grim, to the virtual world, which was Utopian. Cline does a good job in contrasting the differences between the two.
This story line was really interesting. I like the way Cline uses our current situation of using electronics more and more, and extrapolates it into the future, in a world where we are all jacked into the virtual world for some reason or other.
The idea of people hooked on the virtual world of OASIS, for schooling, entertainment, and work, is a unique concept that form the basis of this book.
The theme of escapism from the grim reality to the virtual world is poignant, considering today’s progression towards the cyber-world.
I loved that it paid homage to the 80s. I loved all the references it made, even though it did go overboard at times.
With references to Dungeon and Dragons, I had wished that I played that back then.
There were references to video games (Joust,Pacman), movies (War Games) and shows (Family Ties) that geeky gamer would enjoy as well as regular non-geeks.
You don’t have to be into gaming or the 80s to enjoy this book as the core story line is about beating the bad guys in this treasure hunt. It’s like parable of David vs. Goliath, where Wade is David and the corporation is Goliath.
I loved Wade’s geeky character. I liked that he was obsessed with the contest and spent all his time researching about James Halliday, his likes and dislikes in music, books, movies shows and video games.
This obsessiveness is what enabled Wade to get the first key. It had been 5 years since the start of the competition and no one had managed to work out the clue.
I liked that it was written from his point of view. You do get the backdrop to his life story and empathize with him. Then you start to root for him to win.
Wade is not the only young teenage school boy who has had a hard life living in the stacks. His other friends from he virtual world also escape to the cyber world.
All the people on the OASIS use their avatar names and are anonymous so you get to know these people in the virtual world, where you can be whatever you want to be.
I liked that there was a strong female character in this book.
Art3mis is a gunter and a famous blogger who Wade has a crush on. She is Wade’s main competition to start off with but then they become friends.
The friendship between them is sweet. Cline does make it convincing. Art3mis is concerned with winning the competition and Wade loses focus as he is besotted with her.
What Didn’t I Like?
One slight complaint I have is that I did find the story line a bit predictable.
You can predict the ending quite easily.
The ending is just what you’d expect given that there’s a contest to find the keys in the virtual world, someone has to find it. And that someone has to be the protagonist Wade.
Wade is the main character after all, so you’d expect him to win the contest and he does. It’s the nice happy ending that you expect and it also has message of hope.
Have you seen or read the book Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory?Ready Player One has similarities. The poor, humble boy wins the contest.
Another criticism I have is that I found the writing style was a bit juvenile. Yes, I know this is a Young Adult book with point of view of a teenager, but it felt sometimes it read more like a middle school age book. Not a biggie but something I felt I should mention.
I know it’s a bit nit picky, but written in this manner made the characters a bit one dimensional.
My Final Thoughts:
Overall, this book was a very enjoyable book to read even though I had a few niggles with it.
It’s a fast pace and fun to read. If you are looking for a light, fun read and into gaming then this will be very suitable for you.
I would say hazardously that if you grew up in the 80s, like to reminisce on the pop culture from that period and like playing video game then you will enjoy this book too.
I would definitely recommend this book.
It was just a great fun read!
What do you like about the 1980s? They are making a movie of Ready Player One, would you like to read the book first and then check out the movie?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the increasing use of electronics in our daily lives.