“Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline | Book Review

Book Review | Rating 4/5 | Genre – Science Fiction

I’m afraid to admit that my reasoning behind wanting this book was because I had watched and loved the movie. Yes! Unfortunately I watched the movie before reading the book in this case – however, this isn’t entirely a bad thing as it lead me to this book. It also joins my lovely pile of books that my Granny and Grandad bought me over Christmas; sci-fi is definitely not something they fully understand, but they happily helped fund my reading obsession.

It’s the year 2044. Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes this depressing reality by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia where you can be anything you want to be, where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. And like most of humanity, Wade is obsessed by the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this alternate reality: OASIS founder James Halliday, who dies with no heir, has promised that control of the OASIS – and his massive fortune – will go to the person who can solve the riddles he has left scattered throughout his creation.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that the riddles are based in the culture of the late twentieth century. And then Wade stumbles onto the key to the first puzzle. Suddenly, he finds himself pitted against thousands of competitors in a desperate race to claim the ultimate prize, a chase that soon takes on terrifying real-world dimensions – and that will leave both Wade and his world profoundly changed. (Check it out here)

What did I think?

Thankfully, this was one of those moments where I found myself enjoying the book as much as the movie that inspired me to add it to my collection. What really caught my attention was the world that Ernest Cline built, with the most detailed writing I’ve read in a long time. From the very beginning, I was immersed in the harrowing world of 2044 where everything had basically gone to hell; then there was the virtual world of Oasis – oh good lord there was so much to this world and I just ate it all up as more was unveiled in each chapter.

As much as I loved how detailed the world was, there was a slight hiccup when it came to how much I loved the characters. Don’t get me wrong, it was great to see a diverse range of characters, most of whom I hadn’t really seen in other books I’d read, and yet I didn’t like Wade (the protagonist). There were moments when he just came across rather abnoxious and a little to “cliche nice guy”; however, as I’m writing this I’m finding that personally I don’t like the character, while from a writers point of view, Wade is pretty impressively written.

Reasons to read Ready Play One…

  • World Building: As I’ve said before, the reason I loved this book was how detailed the writing was for both the dystopian future as well as the virtual reality that is Oasis. From the beginning we’re told the Oasis is this huge computer simulated world, it is only as the book continues on that we’re really given a great idea as to how large this world is. With every passing chapter I could add yet another picture in my head of a part of the Oasis; eventually fully emersing myself in that world – even to the point of wanting to be part of that world as much as the characters do.
  • Interesting side-characters: Despite the story focus pretty much solely on Wade and his adventure, there were additions of his friends and obviously the villain, Sorrento. It was nice to see how these slightly more socially awkward chatacters developed throughout the story. As much as I would’ve loved to see how these characters developed, I’m aware that pacing wise it would’ve taken away from the plot – but I’m excited to see how these characters continue in the next book.
  • Name-Drops Galore: What I enjoyed the most about this book was the sheer amount of real-life examples of geek culture that are imbedded in the dystopian world. Yeah some people might say there were too many nods to popular movies and video games, but I thought it just added to the realism of what these characters love.

At the end of the day…

Once again I’ve come across another book that I’ll be recommending to all my friends and then anyone asking after a good book. As a self-confessed geek it was definitely the kind of book that I found myself enjoying almost immediately. I could picture myself in both the dystopian future and the virtual world of Oasis, the desriptive language was that great.

I’ll warn against the slighlty frustrating main character, Wade has a tendency to come across as a typical bad geek guy, even uttering the phrase “I’m a nice person”. That negative aside, this is a great sci-fi book, and i’m looking forward to buying the second book.


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