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Aug 31 2015

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline | Book Review

Ready Player OneRating: ★★★★

Review: As other-worldly, dystopian, fantasy novels go, this is one I wouldn’t mind living in. Except for the concept of the stacked trailers! I’m afraid of heights and I would like to hope I’d be in an income bracket that would prevent me from living in one of those.

Reading this book took me back to a time in my childhood when I used to play video games. Not the kind played today where it’s much too real and you play with others around the world. It’s much more graphic in nature today than what I remember when Super Mario, Donkey King, Sonic, & Mortal Kombat were popular. The book waxes nastolgic over Pac Man, which we a little before my generation. I was born in 1984 when arcade games was on it’s way out the door, making handheld devices and consoles more popular. What I wouldn’t give to go back to the original Tetris with its many shades of gray shapes stacked on top of each other! True there is a 21st Century version of Tetris today, but unless you played it on the original GameBoy, this one is no where near the same!

Okay, but enough reminiscing about video games. Although, how can I not since it’s what this book revolves around.

The only thing I knew of about video games but was never that hard core about was the concept of an “Easter Egg” being hidden within a game and finding it. Is that the same as finding a quicker way to pass a level or a secret passage that allows you to skip multiple levels to finish a game faster? I liked whenever I’d find those, especially when I played Super Mario, but this book hinges on finding an “Easter Egg” that’s hidden deep inside this internet world.

I hope I live long enough to experience virtual reality firsthand the way it’s described in this book. We are headed there at a much faster rate today than when I was growing up. And whether you think technology will be our savior or our undoing it is an inevitability. This book is a great glimpse into what our future relationship with technology might develop into. And that includes who the Super Power might end up becoming in the process…

Oh, and one more thing, about the characters! Wade Watts, or Parcival, as he’s known by in the OASIS, is the main character who, when he’s got nothing to lose, decides to embark on the search for the hidden Easter Egg. It takes several years to finally reach the end, where, whoever finds it, will be given the fortune left behind by the man who created the OASIS. In the time spent searching Wade makes several friends that he only knows based on their avatars within the OASIS so, similar to today, there is not way of knowing if what they look like in this virtual reality is what they truly look like. That includes gender, but I won’t spoil what I mean by that…

Teenage hormones and crushes play a role in the book, but I didn’t find it awkward or out of place the way I usually do with books I read. The way it’s briefly talked about though might be viewed (by parents) as too mature for certain ages so unless you are someone who reads along I suggest this book be read by someone in their mid to late teens.

Synopsis: At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, READY PLAYER ONE is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

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?

Ready Player One
by Ernest Cline

372 pages
Crown Publishers, 2011
Fantasy / Fiction
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