Featuring book reviews primarily in the sci-fi/fantasy, YA, and contemporary fiction genres.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Review: Ready Player One

  Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Blurb from Goodreads: 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 Hughes'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.

A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?

I think I should probably preface this by declaring: I AM A HUGE NERD. As in... I did marching band for 8 years in a row in high school and college, my D&D character is a dwarf barbarian, and I have a huge fangirl crush on Wil Wheaton. So I am going to surmise that this is one of the reasons I loved this book so much. 

Another reason is my love of 80's music and movies. Any book that references Ferris Bueller (FAVORITE MOVIE EVER) three times by page 65 is probably going to be a winner for me. While I know little to nothing about the classic video games of this era, missing out on a lot of those references did nothing to diminish my experience of reading this book, so don't let that stop you from trying it. 

Cline did a great job with the treasure-hunting aspect of the story, keeping the tension at a high enough level that I HAD to stay up last night to finish. I especially enjoyed the sections when Cline explored the culture of this world he created: a society based around an MMO game. People in this book pretty much abandoned their real lives in favor of a virtual one, and although this trope has been used in dystopian/sci-fi novels before, it still made for an interesting, fun read.


  1. I heard so many good things about Ready Player One but still haven't read it. Great review.