Jo's Reviews > Ready Player One

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
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's review
Jun 26, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: boy-crush, for-review, my-favourites, ya, when-can-i-move-in, things-are-rotten-in-the-state-of-d, e, own

“Somewhere along the way I started to go overboard. I may, in fact, have started to go a little insane.”

Initial Final Page Thoughts.
I’m already recommending this to everyone I know. EVERYONE.

High Points.
*Deep Breath* Alternate Reality. Virtual Insanity.Scoreboards. Quests (More books should have quests).Good old fashioned competition. W-O-W. Aech. At3mis. Best friends forever. Corruption. Damn the Man. Eccentric Billionaires. Retro. Duran Duran. Matthew Broderick. Monty Python. Rush. John Hughes films. The most necessary game of Pac-Man in existence. Robots. Def Leppard. Spaced. I finally had a reason to spend half my night on YouTube. Originality. Easter Eggs. Rags to Riches. Commentary on human interaction. Cynicism. Avatars.
I have honestly never read anything like this before and I loved every second of it. There is not a single doubt in my mind that this whole book is going to happen in the next 30 years….and I can’t WAIT. I’m coming up with my avatar name already.

Low Point.
The wonderful Maja (The one who is solely responsible for turning me into a rabid fangirl with this book!) raised a good point in regards to the genre of this book and it has got me thinking a lot about whether I would class this book as YA. Not because of the subject matter (it is deliciously dark!) but because of all the 80s references that make up a huge part of this story. I’ve only just left (kicking and screaming) the realm of the true YA audience and a lot of the references were completely lost on me.
And, like Maja suggested, I’m not sure whether someone, say, born in 1994 would understand all and I think their enjoyment could be limited to what they know about the in-jokes.
BUT, I feel we should give Mr Cline a chance to defend himself… so here is what he says in his acknowledgements:

“These people [The filmmakers/musicians/writers referenced] have all entertained and enlightened me, and I hope that- like Halliday’s hunt- this book will inspire others to seek out their creations.”

I don’t mind saying that I read this book with Google open, not just because it would help me understand the story…. But because I wanted to find out about it. 
And also, hipsters are going to love this book. Sigh.
Just because we have to tolerate them doesn’t mean we have to encourage them, guys!

Wade Watts (called thus because his dad thought it “sounded like the secret identity of a superhero”) is an overweight eighteen year old from a trailer park who has an OASIS console permanently attached to his face. Kind of like this.

He’s a loser and he’s cynical and he’s completely obsessed with completing Halliday’s quests, so much so that he has basically downloaded everything to do with the 80s to his brain.
For someone who has only ever played one absolutely fantastically spectacular computer game in my life, I often found it hard to relate to Wade’s obsession with OASIS. But, he is noble, insecure, loyal, highly intelligent, hysterical and, most importantly, he’s so determined to crawl out of the crap that he’s had to endure and truly make something of himself. And he also says things like this: “People who live in glass houses should shut the fuck up.
I think even if you don’t know a thing about computers, games, films or music… I think it’s impossible not to relate to and fall head over heels in love with Wade.

Love Interest.
Art3mis is the avatar that Wade has admired from afar across the artificially rendered plains of OASIS. Art3mis is cute, funny and a complete badass and gives a Wade a run for his money when it came to solving the quests. Which, of course, made me love them instantly. You all know I’m not a massive fan of irrelevant love interests and this almost fell into that category because this book had SO much else going on, there wasn’t really a need.
But I liked the dynamic between the two of them and their exchanges often induced chuckling.

Best Friends.

Also, who do I write to to request for more baddies to say “Art thou ready?” before challenging protagonists to a due in books.
Answers on a postcard, please.

Theme Tune.
Dead Man’s Party-Oingo Boingo.
I’m totally being lazy with this one seeing as it’s one of the first songs that are mentioned in this book. But I don’t care because it not only proves the aforementioned point about how fun it was to discover new songs that I was too young to hear the first time round… but it is also a spectacular song from a ridiculously cool era that I missed being part of by the skin of my teeth.
Although saying that, this entire book provided me with the best sound track to my impromptu dance parties that I always never hold in my room.
I’m determined to compile a ‘Ready Player One’ playlist as soon as I have a spare week or so.

Angst Level.
6/10. Unless you are the type of person who gets emotionally involved in computer games, you’ll probably find this book quite tame in the angst levels. Sure there are some nail-biting moments but once you remember that it’s not even real within the book you’re reading… you’ll be fine.
But, one of the parts that I really loved was the whole idea of human relationships vs relationships formed through avatars.
In a world where most of the human race spend their time in an alternative reality, forming bonds with people who they don’t even know their real name/age/gender/race/occupation, the lines of who a person really is were continually blurred. I loved how Cline explored this idea of identity, human interactions and forming relationships based on how you want to be seen rather than who you actually are and all the insecurities you feel when you make that initial connection, whether online or offline.
Anyway, I really loved this quote:
“We’d known each other years, in the most intimate way possible. We’d connected on a purely mental level.”

Recommended For.
Anyone who has ever watched an 80s movie….and enjoyed it. People who think Matthew Broderick is a grossly underrated actor. People who could quite happily go without seeing another real person for days on end. People who like microwave food and things that come in a can. People who think Duran Duran/ Rush/Def Leppard/Oingo Boingo/Mellancamp’s songs were written solely for you (I still maintain that Rio is all about me). People who love discovering new bands/films/books/comics. People who will always be jealous of people who have cool initials. People who find scoreboards oddly unnerving (Thanks for that Hunger Games.) People who wonder what happened to Robot Wars. People who find eccentric billionaires endearing. People who often wonder what they would like if they were pixelated. People who think that Dungeons and Dragons is a legitimate sport. People who have ever picked up a coconut and, after checking they’re alone in the house, galloped around the kitchen with them while wearing a helmet out of an empty Cocoa Pops box.

I also found this. It is not only the coolest book site I have ever seen… but also maybe, definitely the coolest site I have seen in a long time.
There are rankings of sideburns. Sideburns.

I received a copy of this book from the publishers.

You can also read the review for this book and others and a whole lot of other exciting stuff on my blog here.
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Reading Progress

June 26, 2011 – Shelved
July 10, 2011 – Started Reading
July 10, 2011 –
0.0% "Going to start using the phrase "crapping in their cornflakes" in regular conversation."
July 10, 2011 –
page 34
July 10, 2011 –
page 50
13.37% "In the last two pages there has been a Duran Duran reference AND an Airplane reference. I think my head is going to implode with the incapability to process how marvelous that is."
July 11, 2011 –
page 71
18.98% ""I watched a lot of YouTube videos of cute geeky girls playing '80s cover tunes on ukuleles. Technically, this wasn't part of my research, but I had a serious cute-geeky-girls-playing-ukeleles fetish that I can neither explain nor defend.""
July 11, 2011 –
page 116
31.02% "It seems I need to brush up on my Matthew Broderick films...."
July 11, 2011 –
page 292
78.07% ""The first caller's avatar appeared in front of me in my support chat room. His name and stats also appeared, floating in the air above him. He had the astoundingly clever name of 'HotCock007'. I could see that it was going to be another fabulous day.""
July 12, 2011 –
page 322
86.1% "Ohh, I didn't see THAT coming. I don't want this book to end. *whimper*"
July 12, 2011 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-50 of 73) (73 new)

Catie Great review, as always. I have so many other books that I want to read right now, but I am going to read this next. Because I must.

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) You were right. This is your best review yet. Now let's make everybody read this book. :)

I think even if you don’t know a thing about computers, games, films or music… I think it’s impossible not to relate to and fall head over heels in love with Wade.

message 3: by Jo (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jo Haha thank you. I loved writing this review only slightly less than I loved this book.
I think it should be our mission (Majo? Too far?) to put this book in everyone's hand.
I keep thinking about it and giggling to myself.
And then going on YouTube to play 'Pour Some Sugar On Me'.

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) Not too far at all! :D Like it!

I hereby declare my undying love for you AND your reviews. We should also post comments on every negative review asking 'Hey! Who crapped in your cornflakes?'

Wendy Darling You've succeeded with me, so...consider that a victory! I can't wait to read this with Flann in a couple of weeks.

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) You are going to love it! It's completely different from every other book I've ever read. :)

message 7: by Jo (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jo You really are! I agree with everything that Maja says!

I was trying to explain the joys of this book to one of my friends (who is a huuuuge Rush fan and blared them so often it became the soundtrack to third year at university) but I realised I couldn't form coherent sentences because of it.

And yes, we should do that. It could be the Majo calling card. :-|

Catie I'm so used to saying Maja like Maya in my head, that when you first posted your combined name, I read it like mayo (= mayonnaise). Haha.

I'm not too far into this book, granted, but I think that you two need to read more sci-fi. I think you would enjoy it!

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) That's how you should be saying it, Catie. :) That's how it's pronounced.
Haha, I'm only just starting to look for more sci-fi to read. :)

Chichipio Okay, okay… After being dragged here by the ear, I have to admit that this is a crazily good review (with emphasis on the crazy part).

Since I can tick off almost every point in the "Recommended for" list, I should start this right away. (view spoiler)

message 11: by Jo (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jo Well, I do like mayonnaise.
I've never really been a fan of sci-fi but that's probably only because I've never really read a lot.
Any recommendations, Catie? Must reads for sci-fi wimps?

Haha thank you Chichipio! And yes you should definitley (view spoiler).

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) Afraid of me?!? You liar! I've been nothing but good to you. The chicken thing was entirely an accident. (view spoiler)

Catie Oh good, I just started today and I'm only a few pages in. Look forward to your updates!

Maja, I know that your name is pronounced Maya, but are you guys going with Majo = Mayo?

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) Absolutely not. Jo is in there too! :D I've been asked about my name a lot lately so I wasn't entirely sure you knew. :)

Wendy Darling To make things really confusing you could do Joja also, which would be pronounced Jo-yah. :) But I like Majo better.

Catie Well, I am not a huge expert on sci-fi either (although I know that I LOVE it). But I would recommend Isaac Asimov, Ursula K. LeGuin, Philip K. Dick...Neal Stephenson (hint hint).

I think that you guys would like this one: Rite of Passage by Alexei Panshin, which is a bit like a dystopian YA in space.

message 17: by Jo (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jo Joja reminds me of Jojoba which always makes me giggle when I see it on shower gel has no effect on me whatsoever.

But yes, I like Majo better as well.
It'll look better on the t-shirts I'm currently in the process of making.

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) Oh, God! Are we really having this conversation? When have we become such girls?!
Wen, I hope you don't feel like I'm cheating on you and the MaWen team. You can join this team as soon as you read the book. Plus, the old team is still very powerful! :D

Catie, I'll be reading Stephenson while on vacation, which will be next week.

Wendy Darling I am up to the GILLS in jojoba shower gel and soap and lotion, oddly enough, thanks to my well-meaning mother in law. I love her, but sometimes I think she thinks I smell. It's pronounced Hohoba. Did you know that? I didn't, until I was corrected quite publicly.

Catie Now I'm just trying to blend my name with all of yours.

CatWen: "where did that damn cat wen'?"
MaCat: "where's ma cat?"
JoCat: "where's jo cat?"
CatPio: "why is there cat pee over there?"

OH, good lord I am sort of drunk on fatigue right now.

message 22: by Jo (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jo Wendy, I'm pretty sure that the UK and America are the only country who acknowledge the existence of the letter 'J'.
It proves very difficult when I want to buy novelty souvenirs with my name on from tourist places. Which I enjoy doing.

But yes Maja, we are having this conversation. Embrace it. Embraaace it.
And um, Catie... do you mind if I steal the name JoCat and write a comic about her? (She'll be the poor man's Catwoman... Pfieffer.. obvs)

Wendy Darling Hah, those names are great Catie. As are the way you worked them into conversation.

And Maja, I know you are an equally opportunity buddy reader! (view spoiler) MaWen still gets plenty of play. It's so fun to read with friends, though. And/or to watch friends read books you love.

Wendy Darling P.S. Jo, you let me know if you ever want anything from the U.S. I am happy to send you books or whatever silly souvenirs you want! I have a kind friend in Southampton who ships me Hula Hoops and books in the Favourite Recipes series. :D I've sent her a fair number of children's books that are pretty common here but she was unable to find as easily there.

Flannery I love everything that is going on in this conversation. I get shit for my name all the time. (this usually results from the fact that many of my friends refuse to add a second n to Flan and refer to me as their little Spanish delicacy)

And it is super funny to hear foreign people try to say my name. My best friend's Portuguese parents are the best at it--I've been listening to them try it for 10 years now.


message 26: by Jo (last edited Jul 13, 2011 01:41PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars


I'm pretty sure I'm still married to a boy in primary school via a salt and vinegar Hula Hoop.

Oh no... Wendy.. you do not realise the can of worms you will open if you offer that. But thank you. I will probably take you up on that offer sooner rather than later (Pretzel M&Ms.. um, yes.) and because you Americans get all the best book covers.
The offer is mutual by the way!

Haha, Flannery, I've been referred to as 'Ho' so often it's not even funny. And actually quite personal.. I mean, they don't even know me and they're already jumping to conclusions.

message 27: by Wendy Darling (last edited Jul 13, 2011 02:20PM) (new) - added it

Wendy Darling FLAN. You should never have told me that. Hee hee, I like Ho, too.

It's so funny to me that you guys overseas want things like Reeses and Strawberry Pop Tarts and certain Luna Bars, etc.! But I get weirdly attached to certain things too. I grew addicted to Hula Hoops in the 4 summers I spent doing a program at Cambridge, and I even ordered some online once! But they're hard to find in person, so yes, I have an official Hula Hoops dealer.

My friend who sends me this is a swapping buddy. I have a couple of book-based swap groups one for children's books and one for YA, but we throw in other regional goodies from time to time, too.

I'm the happy honeybee on that site. For those of you who *cough* actually read Newsflesh *cough* I just shipped off a blood-splattered package to my partner yesterday. :D

I disagree on bookcovers, though. Sometimes the UK or AU ones are much better. Just depends on the book, I guess!

Flannery You sick, Wendy? (view spoiler) Thanks for telling me that hula hoops are a food, you big jerk. I thought someone was mailing you a for reals hula hoop. Now who feels like a dumbass. (view spoiler)

Jo, I've never even tried pretzel M & Ms. My family are addicted to the coconut M & Ms and they don't always make them so we have loads of them in our freezer. I am currently addicted to sour gummi life-savers. If they don't have those in the UK, you are definitely missing out.

message 29: by Maja (The Nocturnal Library) (last edited Jul 13, 2011 02:09PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) We only have seriously good looking handball players in Croatia, so if any of you girls want one (not you, Wendy!), I'm sure we can arrange that. :D

message 30: by Jo (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jo Mmm, my brother went to NY a couple of months ago and he brought me back a sack (seriously, the bag was bigger than my FACE!) of them. They are so good.
I have a Reeses dealer (Basically a bloke in a warehouse that sells Reeses Pieces and Mountain Dew) so that's covered. But tell me more about Luna Bars... I have no idea what they are but I wantwantwant.

We have sour (Tangfastic, if you please) Haribo and sour Skittles but not gummi life-savers.
I have such a sweet tooth, it's insane.

And yes, Maja. Where do we sign up?

If anyone wants a postcard from the glorious place that 'It's a Long Way to Tipperary' was written... let me know. ;-)
That's my hometown.

Wendy Darling Hah, your response makes it look like you're saying your brother brought you back a sack of good-looking Croatian handball players, Jo.

message 32: by Flannery (last edited Jul 13, 2011 02:25PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Flannery correction: tiny good-looking Croatian handball players.

message 33: by Jo (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jo No he didn't.
Which makes me think he's the worst brother EVER.


Handball... that's volleyball right? I remember seeing a holymoly those guys are cuuuuute really interesting documentary on British Volleyball players in the run up to 2012.
It was informative. :-|

Wendy Darling I also have a weakness for Curly Wurlys and Flakes, but we can get those here. :)

message 36: by Jo (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jo I always get in a mess with Flakes... Twirls are much more dignified, Wendy.

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) Flannery wrote: "correction: tiny good-looking Croatian handball players."

Flann, no Croatian handball player is tiny. That's all I'm sayin'.

Jo, not really, but as long as they're cute and they play sports, who cares?!?

Wen, you're absolutely right about me not being able to say no (you know me so well), except whenI'm saying NO to sugar, which is why the second part of this conversation is making me cry like a 4-year-old. (view spoiler)

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

Jo Maja wrote:Flann, no Croatian handball player is tiny. That's all I'm sayin'.

To describe the laugh that I just produced as 'smutty' would do it a severe injustice.

And very true. I'm going to try and find that video. For educational purposes only.

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) I'm all for education, you know. Please, educate me! :D

Catie I completely thought she was referring to real Hula Hoops too, Flan(n). And now I am forever going to think of your name pronounced like "Flahn."

Someday I am going to send over a giant vat of chocolate covered peanut butter injected pretzels Ho, and you'll thank me.

This book is seriously addicting you guys. I can't stop.

message 41: by Wendy Darling (last edited Jul 13, 2011 09:17PM) (new) - added it

Wendy Darling I don't need plastic hula hoops from England! Just crunchy potato snacks, which I consider to be the real hula hoop. :)

I love the new names we've unearthed. This turned out to be a very confessional review, well done (J)Ho!

message 42: by Jo (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jo I actually get called J-Ho, as well. Yes, I have a nickname that comes with dance moves.

Haha the plastic hula hoops didn't even cross my mind. But my mind is permanently on savoury snacks.

Catie, I think if you did that I would pledge my undying love for you. They sound so delicious.

Flannery Jo, PM me your address. After a discussion with WD and Maja, I will be mailing you a box of Girl Scout cookies. (Tagalongs)

message 44: by Jo (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jo Oh my god.
I think you've just made my day...nay... LIFE.
I've always wanted to try them.

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) I actually get called J-Ho, as well. Yes, I have a nickname that comes with dance moves.

What were you thinking, telling us all this?!? You'll never live it down! :)

Flann, do you think the cookies will survive?!

Flannery Yeah, they are in a plastic holder inside a plastic bag inside a box. Those girl scouts really know how to package things:)

message 47: by Maja (The Nocturnal Library) (last edited Jul 14, 2011 02:03AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) Hahaha, we don't have girl scouts either. Or boy scouts, for that matter. I'm starting to develop an inferiority complex. :D

message 48: by Flannery (last edited Jul 14, 2011 02:04AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars


(I wish WD was here, she loves that movie)

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) Lol, there's patriotism, and then there's that.

message 50: by Flannery (last edited Jul 14, 2011 02:07AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Flannery I just ate another great American tasty treat. It is peanut butter ice cream with peanut butter swirled in it all in a chocolate shell.

It's your dream, Maja. You looooove peanut butter!

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