Sunday, October 5, 2014

Book Review: Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline

Ready Player OneReady Player One by Ernest Cline
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline
★★★★ and a ½

Synopsis: At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, Ready Player One is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut-part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera.
It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.
Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS—a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.
And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them.
For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved—that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughe’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.
And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.
Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt—among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life—and love—in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.
In A Sentence: Such a fun read!

My Thoughts: I had been seeing stellar reviews for this novel all over Shelfari and Goodreads. After seeing yet another 4 star rating for the umpteenth time, I decided to give it a go.
The book took only two days to finish. I didn’t even have time to post that I was reading this book! I zipped right through it and enjoyed every page. It’s one of those books where it’s just good fun; it’s not particularly deep or thought-provoking. It’s just plain, enjoyable, futuristic action-adventure.
I think what makes this such an enjoyable read is that a lot of the futuristic technology that is in this novel is very believable. While reading this, I kept trying to picture what everything would be like 30 years from now, and I seriously think that OASIS is a plausible bit of futuristic technology. It combines a whole lot of things that we already have: social networking, online interactive simulations and games, even online education. Modern computer graphics is getting better each and every day, and social networking is now a way of life (look at where I’m posting this review!). So, yeah, I can picture it. The loss of fossil fuel is also very plausible, although I think by 2044 we’ll be much more reliant on alternatives forms of energy.
I loved the 80s references as well, even though I didn’t understand two thirds of them. I was born in 1988, so I can’t say I lived through it. I got some of the movie references since both my husband and my dad introduced me to many films from that decade. I also got a few of the song and video game references, although I have never been a gamer; my parents never approved of having video games in the house, and I’m not good at them anyway. This is one of those rare instances where I hope they make a movie out of this book, just so I could have a better visual of all the 80s stuff Ernest Cline was talking about.
So what else did I like? Well, I did enjoy the plot and the characters. The plot was driven and the characters, while not totally deep, were the kind of 2-D characters that you see in 80s action films: motivated by a single goal, driven by revenge. Overall, it’s light and meant for fun.
One thing that I wish Cline could have done was write some sort of epilogue. The story ended rather abruptly, in my opinion, and I would have loved to have seen what happened to everyone afterwards. But then again, the ending fits the 80s theme that ran throughout the novel: a lot of 80s action/sci-fi films ended right when the protagonist won, without any sort of follow-up.
Overall, I really had fun with story. I’m trying to pressure my husband into reading it too, since I think he would really enjoy it. Like I said, I hope they make a movie out of it. This seems to be one of those novels that would be very visually appealing. If you haven’t read it yet, I would strongly recommend that you read it soon, particularly if you like futuristic novels, or if you’re a huge fan of the 80s, or if you just like action novels in general. Enjoy!

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