Monday, April 13, 2015

Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Welcome to my very first attempt at a book review! I just finished Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. It was first published in 2011 but it didn't hit my radar until this year. I'm not sure how that happened considering what the book is about!

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.

Overall I really, really enjoyed the book. The beginning of the book was a bit slow but it was because the author needed to set up both the world of 2044 and the OASIS. Cline made it so believable. We are so into technology, we need our internet that we forget to disconnect, to just walk away. For some people, the internet or in the case of the book the OASIS is so much better then reality. 

This book is chalk full of 80s pop culture. I'm talking movies, music, video games, TV shows, films. Everything from the still loved stuff to things you wouldn't know unless you lived through it. I loved reading about these things because I know a lot of it, I grew up with it but if you are not a child of the 80s or a  lover of all things I think some of these references will go right over your head and that will most likely take away from the experience. These things are a big part of the book.

Now the characters. This is where it gets kinda meh for me. For one, the lack of female characters in the book. I said it, the lack of female characters. There was one Art3mis who I just loved but she got sideline to being a love interest for the main character Parzival. The affection was kinda creepy and the it was written was off putting. She was a gamer and a girl and oh my god she's a rarity like a Dragon! When he wasn't crushing on her and she was involved in the game, it was fine.

The relationship between Parzival and his best friend Aech was great. I loved how that friendship was portrayed and the stages that it went through during the entire book. My only issue was (spoiler! Highlight it you want to read) that she was a girl who created an male avatar. I can't blame her because I use to do that when online gaming became a thing but I really wish she was a female the entire time BUT when Aech found out, I love that it didn't matter. They were still best friends. I love the handling of that. I guess it worked out. I still don't know if it's a big deal but I wanted to mention it. 

Daito and Shoto were great. They are brothers from Japan and are working together. I wish there was more about them but I like how their story went in the book.

Over all the book was really enjoyable and I do recommend it to anyone who is a big video game fan and someone who is a huge 80s lover. Hopefully not knowing some of the pop culture references won't put you off from reading the book. The author does a a pretty good job to explain them but I think it works well if you can picture it yourself.

4 out of 5!

Have you read Ready Player One? What were your thoughts? And let me know what you thought of my review! I'm trying to work reviews into my posts! Thank you!


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