Title: Ready Player One
Author: Ernest Cline
Summary: 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.
But 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.
Belle Rating: B+
Bookworm Rating: B
Target Audience: Young Adult
L – The story begins with a pretty standard introduction to the world. We get a description of how the OASIS was created and people moved to cities to be closer to servers. Resulting in a rather interesting housing situation called the stacks. Basically a bunch of trailer homes parked on top of each other.
D – Our main character, Wade Watts, lives in one of these stacks with his rather nasty aunt and several other families. All in all, the world is a pretty crappy place to live. The OASIS, a huge virtual reality, online multiplayer game has given people, including Wade, a chance to escape from the miserable world. And all of a sudden, everyone with an OASIS account (which is practically everyone) receives an email about the death of its creator, James Halliday…and a contest to his massive fortune and the rights to the OASIS.
L – Of course, everyone is incredibly excited and wants to win. The problem is…. nobody can figure out the first clue. 5 years pass and many people have given up. But there are a few dedicated groups still working on it. Wade wants nothing more than to solve the clue and win the contest. But he has no money. Which means he can’t afford to take a ship off of the “planet” where his virtual high school is.
D – Of course that hasn’t stopped Wade from obsessively studying what Halliday loved (which are what the clues are based on). So this guy is basically a walking almanac of Halliday’s life and despite being poor, he gets quite a bit of respect from fellow egg hunters (or “gunters”).
L – Then one day, while he’s studying the first clue in latin class, he realizes something. The place Halliday’s clue is referring to must be on the same “planet” as his high school. It’s basically a video game dungeon. And pretty soon, he has the first key and his name is on the contest’s scoreboard for everyone to see.
D – Wade becomes an instant celebrity! Everyone wants to put his face on every bit of merchandise out there. However, it has put a huge target on his back with people who want to…get rid of the competition for the grand prize…
L – Darn evil corporations! Very specifically IOI. Who has amassed a small army of players ( and debtors) that they use to solve the clues and contests. They want to make the OASIS something you have to pay for to access. Something the “gunters” are very against. (For good reasons).
D – Yesss. Wade learns real quick that this corporation is not to be messed with…as they promptly blow up his stack…and everyone in it…when he refuses to offer them any sort of help.
L – Avoiding spoilers basically Wade, the IOI, and several other “Gunters” known along with him as the high five (Art3mis, Aech, Shoto, and Daito) are racing against each other to win. All the while the IOI is getting more desperate and doing worse and worse things to the other players.
D – *cries* they’re cheaters!!!!
L – It gets pretty intense and more than a little scary/disturbing.
D – Yes…
L – Cline has a way of immediately pulling you into the story. You can see what he’s talking about and even the exposition is interesting.
D – I’ve had dreams about the OASIS, people. This is hands-down one of the best futuristic books that I’ve read. Cline also wasn’t afraid of pushing the limits with his characters. When we said things go bad, it went BAD. But I think that’s what helped make the book so great.
L – The characters are well developed and they all have defined flaws and strengths. It makes them more relatable.
D – And you can see that they, especially Wade, grow as the story progresses. I think they realize that they aren’t fighting for themselves and the money anymore. It’s for everyone. And that realization increases the tension in the book as things are coming down to the wire.
L – While the descriptions are great and engaging the plot can move a bit slowly. Nothing too bad but sometimes you’re sitting there thinking. Is this necessary to the story or the characters?
D – I agree. There are some references that only die-hard nerds would understand which, while impressive, I would usually end up skimming over because I have no idea what the heck that stuff is.
L – My other complaint is that sometimes the corporation gets away with stuff that I feel some sort of law would prevent. I know they operate outside the law A LOT in the book. But really? Some of the things the “legitimate” business gets away with are really pushing it.
D – Yes…its like there is no such thing as police officers…the language was also a bit much at times (for me personally). And I could also have done without some…adult related themes.
L – Yeah, unnecessary and actually lessened my opinion of Wade somewhat.
D – Oh my gosh the nerd references!!! The movie has nothing on what is described in this book. D&D, Tolkien, Star Wars, Star Trek, Anime, Firefly, you name it, it’s in there. And I loooovvvvveeeedddd it!!!
L – I agree. This book was just FUN to read. Everytime I understood something I was grinning like an idiot.
D – It’s probably a good thing that the OASIS isn’t a real thing (…yet… *fingers crossed*) else I’d never see the light of day.
L – You’d have virtual day. ;P
D – Hey, that counts!! See you all in VR!!
L – Like I said, this book is fun. The characters are relatable and the story is engaging. Just look out for the swear words and some (really unnecessary) *adult stuff*. Aside from that it’s a great read.
D – Anyone who loves the 80s and/or video games would love this book. So read it you nerds!!