Review of Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
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.(Summary from GoodReads)
If I had dollar for every time someone recommended Ready Player One to me, I probably could have used that money to buy twenty people copies of the book. Considering what a fantastic read this is, I wouldn’t hesitate to do that at all. I doubted that I would know every reference in Cline’s novel, and I was worried that would stop me from enjoying it. I was totally wrong. I absolutely adored everything about Ready Player One.
The Oasis is a virtual reality where teenager Wade Watts spends most of his time. There are a lot of things that are wrong with Watts’ real world. He lives in a trailer park, and spends a lot of his time playing the game from a van, and uses a stationary piece of exercise equipment to power his equipment. There are evil corporations out there who are trying to make everyone miserable. However, Wade is on a quest to find the egg that’s hidden within the game, something that no one has ever done before. When Wade makes the first major step towards finding the egg, his life totally changes.
I absolutely loved the puzzles that the characters have to solve as they go looking for the egg. To be a good player, intelligence is required. Along the way, Wade finds himself enlisting the help of his best friend, and pursuing a love interest. I loved how there were twists and turns in the relationships. There’s obviously a message about how not everyone is who they appear to be.
The plot of this story is absolutely riveting. While a lot of the story takes place in the Oasis, there are also pieces of it that take place inside the real world as well. I loved how Cline tied these different parts of the story together. By the end of this story, I wasn’t totally surprised by how things worked out. However, it was exactly what I wanted for these characters, so I completely adored it.
Ready Player One is a story that will appeal to lots of readers: folks who grew up in the eighties, gamers, or anyone who likes stories with a bit of a dystopian element. As I turned the finally pages, I was happily surprised by how in love with Cline’s book I was. I can’t wait to reread this story when I need something that’s fast-paced, nuanced, ridiculously nerdy, and still inherently feel good.
Disclosure: I purchased a copy of this book.