Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.31 stars
My Rating: 5 stars
Let me start by saying this book is full of nostalgia. Even for people who didn’t necessarily grow up in the 1980s, such as myself (born in the 80s but grew up in the 90s). Even if you’re simply a proud geek or nerd this book will delight you based on all the references to geek culture. There’s really something for every one in this book. Music nerd? Lots of 80 music references, Dungeons & Dragons fan? Pretty much the whole basis of the book is a quest. MMO RPG gamer? The setting is primarily an online game. Probably only book nerds, like me, would get the Cory Doctorow reference, though.
So, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Set in 2044, a dystopian, almost post-apocalyptic future where the only way to escape reality is to log into the virtual reality known as OASIS. Background story: the creator of the OASIS, James Halliday, has created an in game quest upon his death. Players need to solve riddles to find three keys and three gates. The first player to get to the end of the quest wins James Halliday’s entire estate. The whole world becomes obsessed with this game. Groups of players are forming to work together to find the keys, and a corporate conglomerate is trying to solve the puzzles as well to take over the company.
Main character Wade, better known by his online avatar’s name, Parzival, is an orphaned high schooler living with his abusive aunt in the Stacks (basically a trailer park where the trailers are stacked vertically). Wade’s only escape from his dismal life is going to virtual high school in the OASIS, and hunting for Halliday’s Egg (that’s what the prize is called). Wade’s only friend is Aech and together they speculate where the Egg may be hidden and how to solve the first riddle. One day, Wade makes a connection and finds the hiding place of the first key. His name shoots to the top of the score board and he is an instant celebrity! Unfortunately, the corporate group looking to control the OASIS will do anything, including murder, to get to the Egg first. Suddenly, Wade’s life is thrown upside down and he’s on the run.
What I like about this book is that there is something for everyone. It’s a race against time, it’s nostalgic, there’s a little bit of romance, and there’s a mystery element too. It’s exciting and fast paced, and the characters are interesting and relatable. If you’ve ever been insecure, introverted, bullied in school, or straight up socially awkward, you will relate to the characters in this book.
Fun Fact: Ready Player One is being made into a movie directed by Steven Spielberg! It’s set for release in 2018. If you want to read the book before the movie comes out you should do it soon!
That’s it for this review, Internetland! Until next time, keep turning pages!