This is a spoiler free review, which I’m going to find a little tricky considering I just want to gush about how delightful this book was.
In the grim future of the year 2044, the world has become obsessed with living inside the virtual world of the OASIS, an online reality created by the late billionaire James Halliday. Upon the news of his passing, it is revealed that w
hen the OASIS was created, an Easter egg was hidden inside the online universe by Halliday himself, and his entire $250 billion fortune, would go to the player who can find it. The contest however, is not that simple – requiring players to sift through every little detail of the creator’s life and his fixation on 80’s pop culture and videogames, to unravel a series of riddles and clues, leading towards finding the egg. That, and being against big corporations working together who will stop at nothing (and I mean nothing) to acquire it.
Are you ready, Player One?
Every so often, a book comes along that feels like it was written especially for you. This is what Ready Player One felt like to me. It combined everything I could want from a book and ticked all the boxes. It was a breath of fresh air in science fiction and was unlike anything I’ve ever read before and that being said, it’s worth a read. (No seriously, go and pick it up now) Especially if you’re a giant nerd at heart.
The first thing I have to mention is, Cline knows his stuff. From the get go, this book is filled to the brim with nods and references to 80’s pop culture and old school video games, which are the driving force behind its epic plot. Like myself, you don’t have to have grown up in the 80’s to understand any of them as Cline never hesitates to go into details of their relevance to the quest, however we could have done with a little less detail as it gets a bit excessive and repetitive at points when it isn’t necessary.
The concept of the OASIS fascinated me, and at times I was so engrossed I felt as if I was plugged in with a visor and haptic gloves myself (I wish). Although not always the strongest, the world building was very well executed and not so drastic that it became unbelievable, which many apocalyptic/dystopian novels suffer from. This future is not one that I would want to live in, there’s been an energy crisis, resources have been severely depleted and civilization is in decline, and honestly it’s a little frightening how it’s not impossible that this could happen in our future.
The cast of characters are what bought this book to life. Unlike those characters you see from time to time who seem too perfect in every way to exist in the real world, Ready Player One is made up of characters who are not perfect, who aren’t anything special but they’re ordinary and relatable. Wade Watts, alias Parzival our protagonist, is a normal kid, slightly overweight and isn’t doing so great at school, but he’s an exceptional and cunning gamer, and doesn’t shy away from risky but brilliant plans which could end in disaster. The rest of the side characters are just as fabulous and have you laughing throughout, but Wade/Parzival still remains my favourite, because.. well, how could he not be?
The pace of this story was excellent. It has the ability of keeping you gripped to its pages by remaining exciting and thrilling, never slowing down. At times I even found myself trying to decode the riddles and puzzles which were way too clever for me to ever work out, because Cline seriously is a genius in coming up with these.
As I said, Ready Player One for me ticked all the boxes: An unique and epic plot. Solid writing. Well-constructed. Science fiction. Great world building. Geeky sub-culture. Well developed and realistic characters. No irritating love triangles, but a well done romance. Humour. Lots of action. Ridiculously fun.
So would I recommend it? Absolutely
Buy Ready Player One on Amazon
Check out the book on Goodreads