"Ready Player One" by Ernest Cline
So, there’s another book that everyone is talking about. One of those, “Oh my god! This is the greatest book ever! You have to read it!” books. But every time I look at it, I don’t understand the point. It’s all about video games and focuses on a gamer in a virtual world. That sounds nice, but no one wanted to tell me more than that, because they didn’t want to spoil it. When I saw it on sale after the release of the trailer for the movie adaptation, I decided to give it a go. Here's my review of Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.
What is Ready Player One? Be warned: I'm about the spoil this book. The story takes place in the future where everything short of nuclear war has happened. It's a dystopia. There’s economic collapse, epidemics, overpopulation, loss of land mass from global warming, and whatnot. The world is just bad with people cramped together barely surviving. But there is one escape: it is a great virtual world (called the Oasis) that people escape to. The teenagers and youth use it the most and are named "the missing millions" because they are so removed from reality.
In this world though, there is a ray of hope. The creator and sole owner of the Oasis die, leaving an inheritance to whatever gamer can find his Easter egg. To find that they need to follow clues to find three keys in the Oasis that will lead them there. This man is the richest man in the world and his money could easily be used to make anyone’s dreams come true in the real world. The story follows Wade Watts, a poor teenager who has dedicated his life to finding the egg. To find the keys and clues, he has been deciphering riddles and extensively been studying the creator’s obsessions, the 1980s. So much so, that Wade has become obsessed with it himself.
One day, he has a revelation, he finds the first key to the Easter egg, and the whole virtual world is turned upside down. Cooperating gamers known as sixers have an army of thousands of people rushing to claim the Easter egg to own and destroy the one last good thing left in the world. Wade and his friend soon find themselves among other poor gamers in a race to get the Easter egg against the sixers, who are cheating and willing to any diabolical means in both the real and virtual world to get ownership of the Oasis.
So the good? This is an interesting concept. It paints an interesting world. The fact that Oasis is the last good thing left in the world is a sad yet intriguing setting. There are also some interesting plot points that involve the people Wade knew through their avatars his whole life and the strangeness when he meets these people in real life. It’s an intriguing concept that I haven’t seen in science fiction before. The story is fun while being somewhat melancholy at times, offering a unique tale that somehow is full of adventure, pop culture references, and surprisingly some good social commentary.
The bad? This book is full of a lot of jargon about the 1980s and gaming which can be annoying for quite a few people. If you play video games as I do, you will be annoyed by the book stopping to explain how video games work. If you lived in the eighties or just grew up watching eighties movies, you will get annoyed by the book stopping to reference or explain something like Ferris Bueller's Day Off in detail. I found myself speed-reading through it to get to the good parts. The core story itself oddly enough could use a little more detail. And the main character's obsession with the 1980s is worrisome. He is so obsessed with it to an unhealthy level that made me wonder if Wade will be okay after this. Better yet, is the author reflection of Wade? I’m very worried about this author if he is. Also for what reads like a young adult book, there are a lot of F-bombs. This is an odd choice for the author because I don’t know what audience this book is for. Also, I wanted more of the real world. I think seeing more of it would have been nice. The quests to get the keys could be more exciting. And the ambiguous ending left me wanting more. I wanted to know how these events in the Oasis will affect the future of the real world.
Overall, it is an interesting text. The story offers a lot of good stuff, but the book often stops to explain video games or pop culture from the 1980s for a couple of pages before the story starts moving again. That I found quite annoying and I think a reader should know about that before they start the book. It’s not the best thing since sliced bread, even though the world will try to make you think this. It is a still good book more of less. It’s worth the read.
3 smoothies out of four!
Overall Rating: Escape into the Oasis
Have You Read This Book?
Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on March 31, 2018:
Interesting review. Sounds intriguing, a book I might read even if I am not a sci-fi fan.