Review | Ready Player One

Title: Ready Player One
Series Details: Ready Player One #1
Author: Ernest Cline
 Broadway Books
Release Date: June 05, 2012
Genre: Science Fiction

Blurb from Goodreads:

In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage 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. 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.

Fun, adventure-filled, and completely enthralling—Ready Player One takes virtual reality into a whole new level! It is such a fun book to read with just the right amount of thrill, love, and nerdiness. This book is heavily laid with ’80s reference. And I think the nostalgia brought on by these references is a huge factor for this book to really work its magic. But you can still enjoy this even if you don’t know much about ’80s pop culture. There’s enough explanation to everything so readers like me who knew little to nil about ’80s pop culture doesn’t get lost in all those references.

At its core, this book is about a game—a race to finding James Halliday’s Easter egg which was well hidden within his greatest creation, a virtual world called OASIS. The rules are simple. First to find the egg inherits the OASIS and all of Halliday’s fortune. The hunt was meant to be fun, but with such valuable prizes you can’t really expect everyone to play fair. The OASIS provides an escape from the real world and it can be accessed by everyone for free. Whether it remains that way or not depends entirely on who finds Halliday’s egg first.

While the game sounds really exciting, the true killer in this book is its complex and very creative world-building. The idea of a hopeless and dying world plugged into a virtual universe that’s bursting with potentials and opportunities is new to me. In the first few chapters of the book, much of Cline’s attention is directed towards sketching the OASIS—what’s in it, how it started, along with everything that inspired James Halliday as he built it. Unfortunately, a lot of it felt like an info-dump so the book had a really slow start. Despite that Cline still did an amazing job giving his readers a very clear picture of the OASIS and its stark contrast with the real world.

“Being human totally sucks most of the time. Videogames are the only thing that make life bearable.”

This book also has a set of interesting characters. Although I didn’t had enough connection with them for me to really love them, I find them intriguing. They all share this air of mystery surrounding their true identity. In the early parts of the book we know a lot about the gunters—Parzival, Aech, Artemis, Shoto, and Daito—and too little about the people behind those avatars. Their identities were revealed gradually as the story progress and one of them came as a really nice surprise and I loved it!

Again, I did enjoy Ready Player One despite knowing very little about the ’80s. I can only imagine how exciting this must be for those who actually know the references, played the games, watched the movies and the shows mentioned in this book. It’s very entertaining, packed with fun, friendship, and adventure. I would recommend this to everyone especially those who are looking for books with highly imaginative and elaborate world-building.

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