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Ready Player One

by Ernest Cline

genre: dystopian, action, adventure, gamer, sci-fi, futuristic

Super geeky gamer-style adventure/action novel with copious amounts of 80s references. This is why I gave it a 4 out of 5 stars!

Summary

Ready-Player-One-Ernest-Cline(Taken from Goodreads)

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.

[…]

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

[…]

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

Review

When I heard about Ready Player One, I knew I just had to read it. A book about a gamer? A book about a gamer who plays the ultimate game to win the ultimate prize? There was no way I was missing this one.

I tried to approach the book with low expectations because I didn’t want to ruin the experience by expecting too much. Now, the book was good. I’d hesitantly say great. And these are the reasons why.

The book nearly lost me around the 3rd/4th chapter, it was getting too descriptive and there wasn’t any action. I was glad I stuck through though. That can be the hard thing for writers with rich and novel worlds. You have to explain so much to the reader and those ‘explaining’ chapters can sometimes lose readers. But it didn’t lose me! It grabbed me just before I was going to give up.

I loved the setting. The dystopian future where humanity has let go of itself, most of it’s inhabitants now lost in an alternate reality, OASIS. The game that is like second life, and WOW (World of Warcraft), and Guild Wars, and other MMO’s. But you can do everything and anything. Children are enrolled into school there. It doesn’t matter where you come from or where you live, you can be whoever you want in the OASIS.

We follow Wade and how he goes from zero to hero in finding the first key. I liked Wade. I like the protagonist the entire way through. The character who I fell in love with was Art3mis. She was a fantastic rival and love interest. She was real and super geeky.

The copious amounts of references to the 80s (because that’s where the clues are to finish the quest and get the ultimate prize) was both great and annoying. I was born in the 90s so…I don’t remember the 80s. 😛 There were movies that I remembered because we had to study them such as Blade Runner. I remembered watching Ladyhawke, and I had always wanted to play Dungeons and Dragons. So maybe about half of the references, I knew.

It was great to be able to Google any of these references and see exactly what the author had in mind. At the same time, I felt like it was a ‘telling the reader, rather than showing’ through a more creative method. Metaphors, similes, etc. Nevertheless, it was a different writing style that didn’t hurt the story (although I wasn’t always 100% happy with it), it gave the book it’s own style. For others who remember the 80s or love everything from that era, will love this book for its references.

For me, it was the gaming and internet side that intrigued me most. I loved how they touched on aspects such as friendships online, relationships and whether or not they are acknowledged. Eliabeth and I have never met and yet we write books together, chat, and run this blog. I have LOTS of friends online (including some of you readers 😉 ). I met my partner through Guild Wars (an MMORPG). We have been doing long-distance for the past three years and hopefully we’ll finish our studies and live together next year.

So, I loved that this novel shed positive light on the authenticity of online relationships. They can be real. For those of us who have experienced true friendships online, we understand. There were a few twists and turns with these relationships which were fun and gave the book flare. There was chemistry in the romantic interests and I found the banter between Wade and his best friend, Aech, fun.

I was also impressed with how they touched on themes of homosexuality and also masturbation. Positive messages for any of the youth who are likely to read the book. I’m always glad to see that!

The overall story was good…but it wasn’t mind-blowing. There were fantastic scenes described. I can see this movie becoming an amazing movie. And I loved that it was a book. It stretched my imagination and the online reality world was fantastic to read about. I was kind of disappointed in the last third of the book which suspended my disbelief. Rather than being too critical, I let it slide and enjoyed the slight holly-wood feel.

This novel would be normally be a 3.5 because of the characters most importantly but also the distinctive voice of this author (for better or for worse with the 80s references). But I have to make it a 4 out of 5 because of the gaming references, making gamers heroes, and for the positive light on online relationships which can and often do beyond the online world. I felt like the book could have been more than it was. But I was impressed overall. The gaming geek inside of me really enjoyed the book.

4 out of 5 stars

amazonbutton2 copyThis book is for you if you:

  • Enjoy a different, distinctive novel focusing on games
  • Love 80s games, movies, and memorabilia
  • Want a fun adventure story with a dash of sci-fi, romance, and dystopian themes

This book is not for you if you:

  • Need more than a unique world, you want more than a relatively formula story (zero to hero, etc.)
  • Do not find the value in a super geeky, gamer story

 Ermisenda Alvarez

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