Sarai's Reviews > Ready Player One

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
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's review
Aug 08, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: read-in-2011, young-adult, sci-fi-fantasy
Read from September 26 to 30, 2011

Ready Player One is set in the year 2044. The planet is a mess, poverty and unemployment is the norm, and the dollar is worthless. James Halliday, a popular video game designer, has offered most of humanity an escape in the form of OASIS, a virtual world that lets you be whoever you want to be. When James Halliday passes away, he announces that he is willing to hand over his entire fortune to the winner of a contest he himself has created: a series of puzzles and games hidden inside OASIS. Whoever gets the egg wins it all.

For years thousands of gamers attempt to solve the riddles and clues James Halliday has left behind. These egg hunters (called gunters) have become obsessed with solving the puzzle and winning Halliday's fortune. The protagonist, Wade Watts, is a gunter with a passion for anything that has to do with James Halliday and 80's culture. From the beginning Wade lets you know he captured the egg and won the game, and then begins an account of how he did it.

The world building in this book is extensive, if not overwhelming. The author describes the world of the OASIS in painstaking detail--login/logout procedures, how transactions are made, the different modes of transportation, public schooling in the OASIS, how you communicate inside it, accessories one can use, etc. I get that this is Wade talking, and as a total geek he pays attention to these things, but I felt that these long drawn-out descriptions interrupted the flow of the story at times.

There's also the issue of the 80's 'infodump'. In 2044 humans, especially gunters, are obsessed with the 80's decade simply because James Halliday was obsessed with it. The book is filled with 80's references, particularly when it comes to video games. However, I think Cline overdid it just a tad. The references start to get old halfway through the book, and are only interesting when they have a connection to a puzzle that Wade has to solve.

Cline does a good job of writing a good action sequence, though. He's also very imaginative, describing OASIS in such a way that you understand its popularity, its impact on the real world (OASIS money is worth more than real money, if you can believe it!), and Wade's personal connection to it so I enjoyed being introduced to all these new possibilities. It's fun to read about what the future might be like.

The ending was a tiny bit anticlimatic. Wade gets it all in the end and it was almost too perfect, but I was rooting for Wade until the very end. I liked his character, I found him brave, gutsy, and endearing in all his nerd glory and I also liked his friends. Overall it's a great book for anyone who's not a die hard sci-fi fan but wants to get a little taste.
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Reading Progress

09/26/2011 page 25
7.0% "I am loving this so far."
09/26/2011 page 90
23.0% "I am completely sucked into this world. Work has flown by, which is unheard of for me. Thank you, Ernest Cline! God love ya."
09/28/2011 page 198
03/17/2016 marked as: read
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