Robert's Reviews > Ready Player One

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
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Aug 04, 12

bookshelves: scifi-fantasy
Read from August 02 to 03, 2012

I loved this book. I don't think I've ripped through something this quickly since Harry Potter. And frankly there are a lot of similarities. It's not like the prose in RPO is challenging, the plot is a bit straight forward and basically predictable, and there are some kind of lazy shortcuts taken in advancing said plot.

But I don't care. This book is a bit of a love letter to a certain era of geek. If you're not in the target audience you're bound to see more of its flaws, and won't feel the same way about it as those that are square in the target audience. My wife wouldn't love this book as much as I did (although I still think she'd enjoy it a great deal). But the stars are for what *I* thought of it, not what I think you'll think of it.

In essence this is a fairly standard quest tale. Boy rises from nothing, achieves fame and importance for his skills, meets a merry band of fellow travelers along the way, there are things they must do as the fate of the world is at stake... HOW will it end? That the entire quest is basically dependent on '80s geek trivia simply provides the litmus test for whether you will love or tolerate this book. Harry Potter-esque, except substituting the creativity of Rowling's created world for fond remembrances of the existing world of the '80s music and video game culture.

The novel is set in a dystopian future where global warming has ruined things and the population... but you know what? You shouldn't care. Because Cline doesn't care. The real world is definitely not the point of this novel. It is a plot device to force everyone to care about what happens in the OASIS, the virtual reality where almost everything of importance happens. The scant bits of the story that take place IRL are somewhat awkward, and feel almost like an intrusion. The novel works best when the focus is squarely on the virtual world that has taken over, and is more important than reality for all the major characters. The emotions of our hero, Wade, feel wooden and forced when they relate to real world events. What he feels about people he only knows online, or events that take place there feel far more genuine. Which in a way is as it should be, since his reality is the virtual one. This truth is not really explored much, and offers potential for reflection on our society today. But that's not really the point of the book, and while it would be interesting, it doesn't seem to be the deep conversation Cline wants to have.

What he does want to do is sing a love song to the early days of video games and synthesized music. In this he is spectacularly successful. A couple of deux ex machinas and some predictability can be overlooked in how totally he accomplishes this goal.
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08/02/2012 page 18
5.0%
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Robert Halliday and Morrow, thinly veiled Bizarro Wosniak and Jobs.


Robert This may be the fastest read I've had in years. It's like Harry Potter for 30something geeks.


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