Book Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (5/5)

8 Jan

I saw a positive review of this book from a fellow book blogger and when it was available on my library ecollection (and nothing I’d previously wanted was), I grabbed it. Now, I usually take a few months to read an ebook because I never really focus on it until it’s near its climax. But this book? Nine days. Yeah, I fell in love with this book and devoured it.

Cover Image via Goodreads.com

Cover Image via Goodreads.com

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Summary from Goodreads:

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?

Well, that’s a long enough summary. Anyway, the idea of this book didn’t really turn me on to it, but the review of it I read did. I absolutely loved this book. I’m looking out for a physical copy to send to my husband’s seventh graders because I think this is a great book for kids. And hey, I enjoyed the heck out of it. I thought the future that Cline drew was realistic though it made me sad to see how far people would go to avoid their own lives. I think this is something our culture is heading toward, even without a global energy crisis. I’m thinking of people I know who are more active on Facebook and Twitter than they are when out with friends. I’m talking about going to dinner with friends and all of us being on our smart phones until the food arrives. This future isn’t as far away as I’d like to think it is.

Wade was a slightly stereotypical YA hero. By that, I mean that he was very smart, almost too smart, and was able to do things that should be impossible. It didn’t really bother me, though, because it made for a good story. If Wade hadn’t been smart or able to afford things that were extravagant, then the story would have been non-existent. Did it seem a bit of a stretch at times? Yes. However, I never even thought of it until I started writing this review.

Aech was my favorite character, especially after the big reveal at the end. I liked how he was nice to Wade despite their economic differences, which limited some of the things they could do together. Their friendship was based on their shared interest in gunter culture and that’s all Aech ever wanted from it. I don’t want to talk about the big reveal at the end, but it made me really happy (that’s all I’ll say).

I related to the struggle to connect online that Wade and his friends went through. When I started blogging, I wasn’t sure what to expect from a community online. I’d never gotten very involved in an online group where I formed friendships that were strictly online. I have an internal conflict to share enough about myself to be personable, but not so much that you could find out where I live. Wade wanted to keep his identity secret for different reasons, but the desire for privacy was still important. I’ve ended up forming some solid friendships through blogging like Wade was able to through the Oasis. The only difference is that I have other friends as well, who I’m not afraid to meet face-to-face. But I liked that this idea was brought up.

Ernest Cline Image via G4TV.com

Ernest Cline
Image via G4TV.com

I liked how Cline wove in the scene of the perfect PacMan game. Right away, I knew it was important and was trying to figure out how. I won’t say any more because I don’t want to ruin this for anyone who wants to read this book, but I knew an author wouldn’t put that scene in the book for no reason and it had me wondering until the end.

I didn’t like the scene where Wade’s house was blown up. Mostly, I didn’t like how little reaction there was to it. I know he didn’t like his aunt, but he felt absolutely nothing for the death of so many people that it was ridiculous. I grew to later see Wade as a caring person, but this scene at the beginning made me hesitant to like him at all. It was a bad first impression of him.

The message about being online too much was a bit overdone, but I liked what Cline was saying about integrity and doing things for the right reason. IOI wanted power and control but Wade and the other gunters wanted the solve the Easter Egg for the sake of the puzzle.  They were honest in following the intent of the contest, as Ogden says toward the end. You should do things that are meant to be fun because they are fun and not always worry about turning them into a competition.

Writer’s Takeaway: I think Cline’s use of popular culture as such a central point in his plot was part of what made it so intriguing. I’m a bit young for all the references, but I still got a good number of them and really enjoyed seeing movies (I didn’t recognize the games as much) used as clues and puzzles. I think a lot of people will enjoy these in the same way. While it dates the book and somewhat limits the audience, it also makes it popular end engaging.

As I said before, this book was awesome and I really flew through it when I read. A full Five out of Five stars.

This book fulfills Oklahoma for the 2014 Where Are You Reading? Challenge.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline | Book Journey
Review | Ready Player One by Ernest Cline | Short Story Long
A Book Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline | Definitely Not for the Birds
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline Review | Neon Yeti Reads

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2 Responses to “Book Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (5/5)”

  1. lynnsbooks January 8, 2015 at 4:34 PM #

    Such a good book – I loved it I really did and, a bit like you I didn’t really expect to!
    Lynn 😀

    Like

    • Sam January 8, 2015 at 5:15 PM #

      It’s always great when a book takes you by surprise. Are there any other books that surprised you?

      Like

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