Ready Player One Book Review

Ready Player One Book Cover Ready Player One
Ernest Cline
Science Fiction, Dystopia
08/16/2011
Audible
374 pages; 15 hours 46 mins

Synopsis (from Penguin Random House):

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. 

But 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.

 

My Review:

I’m going to sound like a total book nerd (which I am), but I LOVE being in book clubs. It’s a great way to meet new people, to socialize with friends, to make it a habit to consistently read, etc. But, my absolute favorite thing about being in book clubs? Being exposed to books that I normally wouldn’t pick up on my own. My encounter with Ready Player One is a perfect example of this.

One of my co-workers suggested this book for my work book club. I didn’t know much about the book going into it – just that it was long and it was something in the realm of science fiction. In the spirit of being exposed to something new, I went into it with an open mind and decided to go with the audio book title, which is narrated by Wil Wheaton.

Wil Wheaton

Credit: sciencefiction.com

So, as the synopsis described, Ready Player One takes place in 2044, where the world is very different from current circumstances. Most people live in dire poverty, so to escape, they log into the OASIS, a virtual reality world where members can do anything – go to school, work, explore, etc. Wade, our protagonist, is just a typical teenager who spends most of his time in the OASIS. The book starts with Wade recounting how the creator of the OASIS, James Halliday, died suddenly without any heir to his fortune. Instead, he creates an elaborate treasure hunt. Whoever is able to follow the clues and find the easter egg will inherit all of Halliday’s money. Ready Player One follows Wade as he navigates the OASIS and the real world trying to find Halliday’s egg.

Let me start by saying that I was completely blown away by Ready Player One! It is literally one of the most EPIC books I’ve ever read. Cline has created a future with painstaking detail. Seriously the amount of imagination and creativity that went into crafting the OASIS and the real-life world that exists in 2044 is amazing. Also, Wheaton’s narration is incredible – he is exactly the person who should have narrated this book. He perfectly captures Wade – his enthusiasm and his frustration came to life with Wheaton’s voice.

The story itself grabbed my attention from the jump. Who doesn’t love a good treasure hunt filled with riddles and quests? Think The Da Vinci Code on video game crack. Wade is the quintessential underdog and you can’t help but root for him. There’s a ton of character development around Wade, but even the supporting characters are well defined.

As I said before, every bit of this book is so detailed that you can’t help but literally lose yourself in the worlds Cline has created. The 1980s play a HUGE part in this book. Cline is a huge 80s buff, and so weaves in countless references – movies, TV shows, songs, bands, video games, the list goes on. I loved the feeling of nostalgia I got when Cline referenced a show like Family Ties, but even more, I loved looking up the references that I didn’t get. As I listened to the book, I felt like I was on my own treasure hunt.  

I gave Ready Player One 5 stars because it delivered on every front for me – creative & original story, exciting narrative, and a protagonist that I came to know and love. This book is basically Cline’s love letter to the 1980s, wrapped up in fast-paced thriller. Whether you’re into video/computer games or not, I highly recommend Ready Player One. It’s a story that will capture your imagination and take you on a crazy and gripping ride!


 

Next Up: I’ll be posting next week on my favorite book of 2015 so far, and the book’s author, who I got to recently hear speak at my local library. Check back soon!