Title: Ready Player One
Author: Ernest Cline
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia, Fantasy, Fiction
Publisher: Random House NY
Published: August 16, 2011
Page Amount: 374 pages
Blurb From Goodreads: 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.
Why Read: I suppose the book first came to my attention through Book Riot, as many of you know – my favorite book blog. So many of the bloggers couldn’t stop talking about what a great read this was, and I bookmarked it for later (not specifically deciding when I would read it). Luckily, a spontaneous trip to the bookstore later – I somehow had a copy ready to read during a dog-sitting session earlier this summer.
Review: Where does one start in reviewing such a book? The structure of the story itself makes this a bit difficult because it constantly keeps the reader on their toes. Should you be worried about Wade as he moves in and out of trouble trying to solve the puzzles? Or should you be wracking your brains to think about past decades video games and riddles that are clearly for the awesome and fantastic “geek-culture nerds”?
The main character himself is the thread the connects the games and the real world. Wade Watts. No one can really truly relate to Wade, because he’s grown up in a world where nothing can be taken for granted and the majority of his world is virtual. To an extent, we all live in our own small virtual worlds, whether it be Facebook, WordPress and Twitter. Reading about Wade though gave me a certain sense of discontent. I always imagined the advent of virtual reality as something I would await eagerly. After this book, I can say no such thing. A world where things may not always be as they are, where you can tap out during class and seamlessly live a world where everything is programmed doesn’t really feel like living.
The plot itself is a nicely constructed riddle-like challenge which leads the characters through their strengths and weaknesses – ultimately to a “final battle” between good and evil. One particular scene that I enjoyed was the stereotypical mega-company offering the young Wade a job as the top “programmer” per say, and the interplay of conversation. Of course I won’t reveal anything (spoilers…), but if you have yet to read the book- please look out for the scene 🙂 It’s one of my favorites!
In the end, read it. Whether you don’t think you like fantasy or science fiction, it’s both a young adult thriller and a reflection on what the world could very well turn out to be, given our society at present moment.
Rating: 5/5 Stars