Ready Player One: 4/5 stars
Full Disclosure – I am a nerd. Loud and proud. I read every single day (if possible), can quote way more movies than should be possible, and have spent a horrendous amount of hours playing all kinds of video and computer games. WoW? Check. Skyrim? You betcha. LoL? Yeah, I see you over there. Super Mario? Hey-yo! Okay, I’m sure you get the idea. This is probably a reason why I think so highly 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.”
Cline grabbed me immediately with his use of pop culture references and the world he created. Reading this book felt like I was sitting and watching someone play the most epic MMORPG (massive multiplayer online game), and I loved that. However, some people who haven’t played these types of games are unfamiliar with the terms used in them, might find themselves lost or confused at times throughout the book. Cline does do a good job of explaining what most of them mean, so don’t let that deter you from picking up this book! It is fast-paced and exciting, with a very interesting take on the not-so-distant future. So exciting in fact, that Steven Spielberg is bringing it to the big screen in 2017. Yeah, it is THAT good.
For me, the biggest issue that I had with this book was the main character, Wade Watts. He came across as a bit pretentious with all of his random 80’s pop culture knowledge. He tended to go off on these long inner monologues about each little tidbit that he shared with the reader. It’s obvious that he should know a heck of a lot due to his “gunter” status, which just means that he’s obsessed with solving the puzzle first. In reality, this isn’t really the fault of the character, but with Cline.
By trying to impress us with his immense library of trivia, he tends to disrupt the flow of the novel and push the reader away. I felt my eyes glazing over whenever this occurred and I hated that because I typically love learning about new things. It just became too much for me. I found myself questioning how it could be possible that a teenager would know even a 1/3 of what Wade seemed to know. It just logically didn’t make sense to me. So in some areas, instead of focusing on the book, I was too busy shaking my head in disbelief.
It is probably most suitable to teens and adults due to some the mature language used, so try not to recommend it to your neighbor’s 12 year old kid just because he enjoys playing Halo. However, as a whole, Ready Player One is a fun-filled futuristic ride. A ride that every gamer probably wishes they were a part of. And thanks to Cline, we can be for a little while.
Have you read Ready Player One? What were your thoughts on the story?