Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One
Ernest Cline
Genre: YA Dystopian / Science Fiction
Released: June 5th 2012
by Broadway Books
Source: Purchased
Rating: ★★★★

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It’s the year 2044, and the real world has become an ugly place. We’re out of oil. we’ve wrecked the climate. famine, poverty and disease are widespread.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes this depressing reality by spending his waking hours in the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia where you can be anything you want to be, where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. and like most of humanity, wade is obsessed by the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this alternate reality: OASIS founder James Halliday, who dies with no heir, has promised that control of the OASIS – and his massive fortune – will go to the person who can solve the riddles he has left scattered throughout his creation.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that the riddles are based on Halliday’s obsession with 80s pop culture. and then Wade stumbles onto the key to the first puzzle. suddenly, he finds himself pitted against thousands of competitors in a desperate race to claim the ultimate prize, a chase that soon takes on terrifying real-world dimensions – and that will leave both Wade and his world profoundly changed.

I love video games. I also really love reading (duh). So a book about a giant video game just seemed far too good to be true to me. At first, Ready Player One was a little too good to be true to the point that I was a little intimidated at first for two reasons: the first one being that the world-building had to be freaking huge, the second being that I know very little of 70s and 80s pop culture. I’m a product of the 90s, so I don’t know much about entertainment from a little before my time. Thankfully, I was able to push past this intimidation and was able to really enjoy the book.

The story of Ready Player One revolves around a worldwide virtual easter egg hunt within a virtual-reality software called the OASIS. This egg hunt was set in motion by the OASIS’s creator as a part of his will, with the prize being his entire fortune and the OASIS itself. Naturally, everyone wants to win the hunt but it has proven to be just a bit too difficult to crack and is left for five years, until one teenage boy cracks the first clue to finding the egg. I really enjoyed the story, but it actually took me two tries to fully get into the book because the beginning few chapters of the book were pretty hard-going for me to get through. We have four chapters of meaty world-building and backstories and then we’re thrust into the story and it felt a bit jarring but I managed to push through and fully enjoy the story. I liked how exciting the book was for the most part, but there were some moments where the story moved particularly slow compared to other moments.

I think the best part of Ready Player One is definitely the characters, especially Wade himself. Wade isn’t like most guys in YA fiction, he’s not the one that you’re meant to fall for and he most definitely is not the kind of guy that you’d swoon over. I think the fact that he’s a realistic character makes him that much more likeable. He does have a sort of cynical view on everything that isn’t the hunt, but at the same time it’s a realistic view: the world as he knows it does suck and the only way to escape his crappy life is to go into the OASIS for hours on end and find the egg. I really liked Wade as a MC, and I enjoyed reading the story through his point of view.

Most of the action in Ready Player One takes place within the OASIS, and I really liked how much of a good image I had of how the various ‘planets’ within the VR would have looked. I had a bit of a doubt as to how this virtual world would be pulled off and I am glad to say that that doubt was completely smashed to smithereens thanks to how realistic it was described and written. In fact, I ended up preferring the virtual world to the book’s ‘real’ world because that was where all the good stuff was happening.

I found Ready Player One to be very different to most dystopian novels, which is a much needed different. I enjoyed the world-building, even though it was a bit tough to chew at first, the characters and the way that the story played out. I would definitely recommend this book, even if you’ve grown tired of dystopians.

1 Comment

  1. 15/09/2013 / 7:37 PM

    So glad you liked this, because I loved it. But, I AM a child of the 80s so I've been wondering if that's the ONLY reason it's good. Great review!!

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