Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline(Cover picture courtesy of Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review.)

In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place.  The only time teenager 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’ll put it bluntly: I really, really enjoyed Ready Player One.  Yes, it seems to have the plot of almost every movie where the key to solving a puzzle and winning a huge prize is being nerdy, but that’s the point of Ernest Cline’s debut novel.  It’s supposed to be dorky and slightly cliché but is so well written and actually does have quite a few plot twists that you’ll love it anyway.

If you love 80’s pop culture (or even late 90’s), you’ll love Ready Player One.  You’ll love it if you like sci-fi, video games, old movies or music.  Basically, it’s a hard book not to like.  Wade is an awesome character, especially near the end when he matures up a bit and you’d be hard-pressed not to like any of the other important characters like Art3mis, Aech, Shoto or Daito.

Even if you don’t like any of them, the world-building Ernest Cline did is incredible.  OASIS is absolutely amazing and a lot of the elements that he put into it (the threat of being charged a user fee, advertisements, using it as an escape) will speak to pretty much all internet users today.  Even if you’re not big into the technology scene, if you’ve been paying attention to pop culture at any point in time these past three decades or so, you’ll get at least some of the references.  Hey guys, remember Atari?

I give this book 4.5/5 stars.

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      • Caleb Flanagan

        It’s a testament to its quality that after reading it I talked about it enough that my wife decided to read it as well. Even more so that she enjoyed it when she normally doesn’t have much interest in my type of books.

  1. Thomas

    Great review! I’m still hesitant to check this one out because I don’t know much about pop culture before the twenty-first century, but your review definitely makes me more inclined to do so. (:

    • Carrie Slager

      It’s nice to have a knowledge of the near-past pop culture, but it’s definitely not necessary to understand Ready Player One. Ernest Cline does a great job of explaining to people who wouldn’t know and it doesn’t slow down the story at all. 🙂

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