Book Review: Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
“In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage 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.”
I read this book as part of the IGGPPC Iggle BookWorms January Challenge: Read a Book with a Video Game Theme.
After seeing others rave about this book, I was excited to read it, and I had really high hopes for this book. Let me tell you – reading reviews or recommendations for movies and books alike is like asking your Grandmother for her opinion on modern art. Now, I know that’s making it sound like I didn’t like “Ready Player One” at all and reading it was a waste of time – far from it. I did enjoy it, and I looked forward to reading it each night.
I liked this book, but I don’t think I loved it. Being a product of the 80’s, I really did enjoy the references to all the retro video games and movies. What I didn’t like was the seemingly unnecessary lengthy explanations of everything – it didn’t really add anything to the story, in my opinion. I get that you want to make sure anyone who reads it understands the reference, but add an appendix at the end with all the references…don’t clutter the story with extra details that aren’t really needed. It almost feels like that’s what was propping the writing up…
*And please, for the love of all that is holy, do not bastardize the DeLorean by adding Ghostbuster stickers to it, or the voice/lighting of KITT. Just…no.
I’ve read a few reviews where folks complained that it seemed weird that 80’s pop culture would become the pinnacle of all things geek-worthy, and nothing else between then and 2044 would be that cool…but I totally understand why, and I think it works in this case. It added to the lore of finding the egg, and completing the ultimate quest. It’s cool, I’ll go along with it.
As for world building – heck, I could have kept reading about all the various planets and locations alone, especially the current state of reality.
The characters were all pretty easy to relate to, which made it easy to like them and cheer them on. There were aspects of Wade that I didn’t care for (how highly he thought of himself in terms of gaming skill). I liked Aech and enjoyed learning more about the meaning behind the name. Every time I’d read Art3mis, I’d picture Olivia Wilde as Quorra from Tron: Legacy.
The ending felt a little rushed; it left me wanting more…but I have no idea in what way. More of the characters? More conclusion? It’s like once the book reached its climax, we got pushed over the edge of the cliff and that was it…smooshed on the rocks like Wile E. Coyote. I needed more, but I can’t quite put my finger on what.
All the nit-picking aside, I’ll probably read it again, and I’d recommend it to anyone looking for something new or different to read.