Saturday, August 9, 2014

Book Review: Ready Player One

Author: Ernest Cline
Publisher: Broadway Books
Release date: August 6th 2011
Genre: Dystopian/Science Fiction
Pages: 372
My rating: 4.5/5

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.

If I had to describe this book in one word, it would be cool. Although I’m not the biggest fan of videogames I do love the idea of OASIS. It could be like going into your favorite book. I was really intrigued by the world, both the real one and the OASIS one. The real world is a mess, but it’s not a typical dystopian where there is a controlling government. It’s just a mess and no one knows how to solve it. No wonder people escape in OASIS where you can be and do anything. I would. Chances are you would too.
Also, there’s a giant robot battle. If that doesn’t scream cool I don’t know what will.

This book is filled with 80’s references; movies, music, books and most of all video games. I’m a teenager and didn’t live through the 80’s. I’m also not really familiar with anything from the 80’s. If you are, this book is perfect for you. But still, if you’re like me, you won’t be left out of things. Of course, there’s a bunch of references that you’ll miss but anything that is important is explained very well. And when you do recognize something, you’ll feel incredibly proud. Either way, it definitely didn’t take away from how enjoyable this book was.

The characters are very imperfect and because of that realistic. Wade is an overweight teenager who prefers to lock himself in his room than go outside. He’s very good at being a geek and does some very cool stuff inside OASIS, still his life isn’t glorified. Ernest Cline makes it very clear that the way Wade lives his life isn’t a good thing and one of the themes in this book is that real life will always be better than a virtual one. We follow Wade as he grows throughout the story and learns this lesson.
But Wade wasn’t the character I related to the most, strangely enough that was a character that died in the very beginning of the book: James Halliday. He doesn’t appear in the novel himself (because he’s dead, duh) but I did feel as if we got to know him throughout the competition he had set up.
“Jim always wanted everyone to share his obsessions, to love the same things he loved. I think this contest is his way of giving the entire world an incentive to do just that.”
Halliday is the creator of OASIS and is portrayed as a slightly crazy, isolated an obsessive person. But this quote made me realize that he just wanted people to be like him. In a way I’m the same when I want people to read and love the same books as me.

My favorite part about this book was the plot, It was exciting and fast paced. The world is used to its full potential and I finished it in two sittings. My only problem with it is the part after Wade finds the first key and before anyone knows what’s going on with the second one. I know it’s only realistic that it takes them so long to figure it out (after all no one knew anything about the first key for five years). But it still seemed to drag on and the romance between Wade and Art3mis took up a lot of pages, more than needed in my opinion.

All in all I gave this book 4.5 out of 5 stars. If it hadn’t been for that one slow part it would definitely be five stars. I recommend it to anyone who’s looking for an exciting book that will have you turning pages like crazy. And of course to anyone who loves the 80’s. 

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