Book Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

How Excited Was I About Ready Player One by Ernest Cline?  This book had been really hyped up, so I was excited! Also I’m sort of a child of the eighties? I knew it had lots of old references and I was hoping to get some of them.

Rating? 8. And my boyfriend would probably give it a nine. We never read the same books! See this old “interview” at the end of this post here! But this was one I had no hesitation in recommending to him, and he loved it. Score one for me!

Book Jacket: 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.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved–that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt–among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life–and love–in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

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

Review: I love that I don’t even know how to categorize this book! Science fiction? Kinda. Dystopian? Definitely. Young adult? If you’re an open-minded reader, you might admit that it could fall within this category too – though not marketed that way and there are some (cough cough) adult moments. If I were to put this book into a genre, it would have to be the genre of FUN.

Our protagonist is easy to like. He’s basically a good kid, just struggling to get by. And he is in a race against an evil corporation. How can you argue against that? You can’t. So jump on board with

He’s also a purist about the game wherein his passion lies.  No apologies. I loved that. It’s just the right kind of attitude that can lead to adventures and success.

I am not going to go too much into what happens except to say that for a book in which not a lot happens, the plot is gripping. And the much-hyped references? I’d say they are really more late seventies with a little early eighties thrown in, so you may not get all of them even if you are a child of the eighties. There’s still some for the masses.

Recommended for: Plane rides! It would be perfect. And as for people? Do you know what Firefly is? (I link to that list to show just how awesome it is – number 17!) If so, this is probably your kind of book.

If You Liked This Book You Should Also Check Out: Oof, I’m drawing a blank here. This book felt very unique for me. I imagine something along the lines of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy?

Follow-up: I describe this book as fun because on the whole it is. It’s also troubling and more than a bit scary. This is a dystopian world that you can really imagine coming to pass. So, be forewarned.