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 is life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’d 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 the players willing to kill and 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 been so desperate to escape.
4/5 stars. Dystopian, Young Adult, Video Games.
In the future, reality sucks. Overpopulation, unemployment at 30%. The one escape is the OASIS, a full dive video game technology that looks prettier than the real world and is much more fun.
Wade Watts, an overweight kid living with his aunt and others in a motor home stacked on top of other motor homes (yes you read that right), loves the OASIS, although he doesn’t have enough money to enjoy many of the cool OASIS features – different planets, cars or spaceships from popular and unpopular television shows, clothes to customize his skinnier, taller avatar. So when the opportunity arose 5 years ago for OASIS players to make more money than they ever imagined, Wade jumps into it and becomes a gunter, someone who knows obscure details about the man who create the OASIS, James Halliday.
As his will, Halliday created a video announcing a competition – the person who finds three hidden keys in the world of the OASIS and passes the challenges beyond the gates gets everything Halliday had at the time of his death.
Wade wants to win, but IOI, a company, bands together in the battle to beat the gunters and capitalize on the OASIS, which is currently a free game that many people like Wade wouldn’t be able to play if there was a monthly membership fee. IOI hires people, threatens those making progress, and cheats by hacking the gaming software to allow more than one person to assist one avatar.
Wade, Atr3mis, and Aech battle IOI and try to beat each other out of the top spots in order to win Halliday’s prize, but how are they supposed to beat a company with as much money and as many resources as IOI?
Anther dystopian? Is anyone surprised? Because I am not. Dystopias now, dystopias forever. And this one is being turned into a movie! So obviously I am there.
I can’t give this book five stars, unfortunately, although I am sure many would. Ready Player One is enjoyable, but not that original in my opinion. But then again it is the type of original that should have been done a long time ago but probably hasn’t – which might make it genius.
Ready Player One is like fanfiction of the 80’s. I didn’t grow up in the 80’s, and I was never one to dwell on the past, so I wasn’t familiar with a lot of that sort of fan material that was vital to this book. If I was, I think I would have loved this book even more. Cline does a great job of explaining what the old video game players and bands were like so that readers like me without the background knowledge would be able to understand what was going on and why these things were popular.
However, the one downside to explaining all of this material is that it slows down the pace of the novel. Even for me, sometimes I would get tired during the explanations and most of that information was new. For a fan of the 80’s, I’m sure it would seem excessive and unnecessary.
The characters were amazing. I loved Wade and all of his boyish charm and his desire to win this competition so that he can finally have a better life. It’s like the lottery for the future. This kid has such a small chance to win this thing, and nearly no chance because he doesn’t have the money to access the rest of the worlds where the keys are likely located, but he tries anyways. The OASIS saved his life and he wants to keep it free for everyone else so it can save them, too.
I like this contrast from the norm. Generally everyone always talks about how technology and especially video games are ruining us. There are some voices out there saying the opposite, and I think Cline try’s to show this through Wade, especially with the school. There are educational purposes in video games.
This book is a bit unexpected. A lot of people might disagree with me on this, but I am tired of the Avengers and all of those super hero movies (Wonder Woman *cough*cough*) because the heroes never make a mistake. The problems always seem to be created by an outside force, which just isn’t human (I guess most of them aren’t human though). I get tired of it. I want to see those heroes make mistakes. Show them how they are the same to the rest of us.
Cline does this with Wade and his other characters, especially Wade in combination with Art3mis. Wade isn’t the smartest. He can’t get everything right, or do it the most quickly. He fails sometimes and this humanizes him and makes him feel more like his age. He isn’t the perfect guy. He can’t get the girl with a smile. It is really nice to read something like this for a change.
I love this world. The whole idea of this book is one that could have gone badly so quick, but it didn’t. Who else has written fanfiction that works? Some might say Rainbow Rowell’s Carry On, but is that being turned into a movie? No – this one is. And man, I am excited for it. I get chills watching the trailer, even if I am a bit upset Wade isn’t the little plump ugly kid he is meant to be in the book. But, that’s a fault of Hollywood.
Who is going to be at the theater opening weekend like I am??? It comes out this week!
Buy Ready Player One on Amazon here.