Dan Schwent's Reviews > Ready Player One

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
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Feb 11, 2015

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bookshelves: 2012, sf, man-tears, downgrade-parade
Read from September 01 to 02, 2012

In the dystopian future of 2044, the world is going down the crapper and many people spend most of their free time playing OASIS, an online virtual reality game, sifting through every minute detail of the creator's life, for whomever unravels a series of riddles James Halliday left behind inherits it all. Will teenager Wade Watts be the one?

As I've said in the past, every once in a while a reader will unearth a book that feels as if it was written especially for them. For me, Ready Player One is one of those books.

I wasn't completely sold at first. OASIS reminded me of The Metaverse from Snow Crash and Wade wasn't all that interesting to me. Then he referenced The Last Starfighter and I suddenly became more interested. By the time the Tomb of Horrors was mentioned, I was completely hooked.

The plot's structure isn't that revolutionary. It's pretty much your standard hero's journey. As the story unfolded, the characters are what made the book unputdownable. The setting, a dystopia where there's a Global Energy Crisis going on and people live in skyscraper-trailer parks called stacks is both imaginative and horribly plausible.

I hate to admit it but I was feeling some kinship with Wade as the book progressed. Is spending most of your free time in OASIS really that much different than reading for hours on end? Also, the book explores the nature of people and their online avatars. The revelation of Aech's true identity illustrates the difference between perception and reality quite nicely, just like the time when I met Kemper and discovered he wasn't a gun-toting chimp in a suit. Apparently, he left his guns at home that day. Or the time when I met Stephen and discovered he WAS a book-reviewing robot.

A large part of the appeal of Ready Player One is the astounding amount of pop culture references. While most of them are from the 1980's, a few are not. The Matrix and Monty Python and the Holy Grail, for example. I suspect younger readers won't get as many of the reference and not enjoy the books as much. However, as a child of the 80's and a dyed in the wool geek, I enjoyed the book very very much.

As I said earlier, the plot isn't revolutionary but it's still an enjoyable read. A single man-tear threatened to escape my eye during the epilogue but I fought it back.

Much Later Edit: The passage of time has colored my perception of this book. As I was reading Ready Player One, I thought it was the greatest thing since Tetris. However, once you strip away the nostalgia, it's still enjoyable but really nothing special. I'm downgrading it to a more realistic 3.5.
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Reading Progress

09/01 page 15
4.0%
01/31 marked as: read
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Comments (showing 1-41 of 41) (41 new)

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Randy You'll like this one.


message 2: by Dan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dan Schwent I officially started digging it when Wade went to the Tomb of Horrors.


message 3: by Richard (new)

Richard Derus And just in time!


Kemper My suit was at the dry cleaners....


Trudi I just miss my ghetto blaster, Prince cassettes, and Atari Pac-Man (sigh). Those were the days.


Carol. Whew! What does one treat man-tears with? Tissues made of scratchy Brilo pads?


Trudi I want to know that too. Should I be stocking up in case of a man-tear emergency?


message 8: by Dan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dan Schwent Carol wrote: "Whew! What does one treat man-tears with? Tissues made of scratchy Brilo pads?"

Man-tears can only be treated with solitude and the drinking of alcoholic beverages.


message 9: by Kemper (last edited Sep 03, 2012 06:45AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kemper I was always taught that man tears must be soaked up by a filthy bar rag soaked in whiskey and beer.


An Odd1 "man-tears"? snicker-snort


Trudi Kemper wrote: "I was always taught that man tears must be soaked up by a filthy bar rag soaked in whiskey and beer."

I was told that method is to be used for the One Manly Tear only. I'm thinking Tears plural must require harsher measures.


message 12: by Trisha (new) - added it

Trisha Sounds cool, adding to TBR :)


message 13: by Nancy (new) - added it

Nancy I'm having trouble "liking" reviews, so I'll be back later.

Dan, you need to add a "man-tears" shelf.


message 14: by Dan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dan Schwent Nancy wrote: "Dan, you need to add a "man-tears" shelf. "

Not a bad idea...


message 15: by Dan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dan Schwent Trisha wrote: "Sounds cool, adding to TBR :)"

It's full of 80's references so you'll probably enjoy it.


message 16: by Mike (new) - added it

Mike Nancy wrote: "I'm having trouble "liking" reviews, so I'll be back later.

Dan, you need to add a "man-tears" shelf."


You too, Nancy? In the past few weeks, there have been several reviews that I "like" and later find that GR still thinks I did not like them. Forcing me to "like" again.


message 17: by Dan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dan Schwent Mike wrote: "Nancy wrote: "I'm having trouble "liking" reviews, so I'll be back later.

Dan, you need to add a "man-tears" shelf."

You too, Nancy? In the past few weeks, there have been several reviews that I..."


The like button was broken for over twelve hours tuesday and wednesday.


message 18: by Nancy (new) - added it

Nancy It's fixed now and I have a bunch of reviews to "like".


Melissa Nancy wrote: "I'm having trouble "liking" reviews, so I'll be back later.

Dan, you need to add a "man-tears" shelf."


I agree whole-heartedly, both with trying to like this review & not being able to & the man-tears shelf.


message 20: by Nancy (new) - added it

Nancy Melissa wrote: "I agree whole-heartedly, both with trying to like this review & not being able to & the man-tears shelf..."

All sensitive guys should have one.


message 21: by Mike (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mike I just finished this one today. Awesome book!!


message 22: by Dan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dan Schwent Mike wrote: "I just finished this one today. Awesome book!!"

I'm ready for Cline to write another one.


Carol Lindsey Great review, Dan. I look forward to more by Cline, too!


Nathan Hurst Thanks for the recommendation, Dan. I'll put it to the top of my 'to read' list.


message 25: by Dan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dan Schwent Nathan wrote: "Thanks for the recommendation, Dan. I'll put it to the top of my 'to read' list."

Bedlam and Ready Player One seem to be spiritually related.

Bedlam:Jumaji::Ready Player One:Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.


Stephanie Swint I think the reference to man tears sold me on reading this book. I'm currently enjoying it.


message 27: by Dan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dan Schwent Stephanie wrote: "I think the reference to man tears sold me on reading this book. I'm currently enjoying it."

It was a really fun read. I'm waiting for Cline to put out another book.


Amber Great Review Dan! I read this and my mom and I listened to the audiobook that Wil Wheaton narrated and it was pretty good. I hope they make the movie of this book. :)


message 29: by Dan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dan Schwent Amber wrote: "Great Review Dan! I read this and my mom and I listened to the audiobook that Wil Wheaton narrated and it was pretty good. I hope they make the movie of this book. :)"

Thanks! I'm ready for the new Cline book even though it sounds like a ripoff of The Last Starfighter.


Evgeny So it is 5 stars according to the last line of your review, or 3 stars?


message 31: by Dan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dan Schwent 3.5, upon further reflection.


message 32: by Bob (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bob Milne It was all about the nostalgia for me, which is why I've been hesitant about nabbing an ARC of his latest. Without that nostalgia, I'm not sure I'm interested.


message 33: by Dan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dan Schwent Are there ARCs of Armada out there? Armada sounds like an entire book of The Last Starfighter nostalgia to me. I'll probably still read it.


Michelle Morrell My son (13 at the time) adores this book, he's read it three times now, and is actively searching out the references he didn't know, something about it pushed just the right buttons. It's so exciting to see him *love* a book.


message 35: by Bob (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bob Milne Dan wrote: "Are there ARCs of Armada out there? Armada sounds like an entire book of The Last Starfighter nostalgia to me. I'll probably still read it."

I spotted it on Edelweiss, but it may have just been a listing, not an ARC.


message 36: by Dan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dan Schwent Edelweiss is dead to me.


message 37: by Bob (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bob Milne Dan wrote: "Edelweiss is dead to me."

I had a LONG dry spell of declined titles (most of which were eventually approved on NetGalley), but I was approved last month for Fletcher's Beyond Redemption & Brett's The Skull Throne. Waiting with baited breath on Stephenson's Seveneves right now.


message 38: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim I also listened to this as Wil Wheaton read it. He really makes this book pop. He sounds just like I thought the kid would & had the emotions down pat. Fantastic. That's the only reason it got 4 stars from me.


message 39: by Josh (new) - added it

Josh Rockin' interesting read. I need to slowly back away from my Xbox.


message 40: by KT (new) - rated it 3 stars

KT This book was a strange experience for me. I never got excited to read it. When I was bored, I didn't think, 'Huh, maybe I could read my book.' I love to be so absorbed in books that I just can't stand to be away from it. That just didn't happen with this book.

Now don't get me wrong- I liked the book. I'm glad I read it so that I can say that I have. I liked Wade, and I was rooting for him. I just never got into into it, which left the "shocking" moments...well, kind of bland for me. I did however appreciate the most pop culture references I've ever read in any book before, mostly because they were '80s pop culture.


message 41: by Madelyn (new)

Madelyn Smart I do agree with your comment about the book. I was captivated within the first 50 pages of the book. I have read all of the post apocalyptic stories including ones like divergent and the hunger games, but I really enjoyed the different plot twist than the basic ones that are out there. Instead of fighting against some larger power (although they do that at the end) the majority of the book is about playing a game in another world. It isn't life or death because it is just a game. I wasn't born in the 80's so it was difficult for me at some parts to understand all of the lingo and games there were talking about but there were some that argue classics and I knew about such as the PAC Man game he found as well as the dungeons and Dragons that was thrown in there. I did not connect to wade very well, he was this hermit basically who lived behind a computer screen and read everything he could about the 80's in hopes to find Halliday's egg. I admire his persistence and drive to find the egg but find it almost a little unrealistic at times that he knows almost nothing about the outside worth and only his virtual haven in the Oasis. This book was extremely good once your read it, but the more time passes, you begin to realize that the book isn't as magical as once you had suspected it to have been. But it is still on my top 10 favorite books.


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