Noetic_Hatter's Reviews > Ready Player One

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
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Feb 24, 2012

did not like it
bookshelves: pop-culture, science-fiction, e-books, 1-star
Read from April 11 to 13, 2012

When Wade is actually adventuring, I liked it. Watching him think through the puzzles and use his knowledge of pop culture to help him solve them grabbed my attention. And I have to admit I finished the book hungry to find some classic arcade emulators and a text-adventure or two.

Too bad the good bits are few and far between. Instead, what we have are mostly reference after reference. The Delorean scene is perhaps the silliest one, but it only scratches the surface on how the author feels the need to list every game, movie, tv show, song, etc that he can think up. It loses its cool factor quickly.

Worse than that are the ridiculous plot coincidences, the deus ex machina occurrences, and the all around lack of action. We are given a lot of information about the OASIS and the world outside of it. But that's all it is: Info dumping. Long speeches about this developer or that developer. Descriptions of the various planets. Off screen mentions of how Wade's avatar powers-up. I'll bet this book is only about 25% activity. The rest is just telling us another chunk of info.

Also, Wade is a total dick. He looks down on the other characters as being beneath him -- even when he's a level three. Fortunately, he's secretly the smartest hacker on the planet -- if only a series of coincidences will come along and earn him enough money and XP to prove it. I come back to my original opinion that it feels like fan fic. The author seems to be playing out a fantasy. Good for him. But his characters aren't very interesting, which makes it hard to root for them (esp Wade). And the poor writing means that the emotional moments ring pretty hollow.

I get it. I can appreciate the geek's need for minutiae. It can be an addiction. I am this book's target audience. I understand the personality traits and the obsession with current and past nerdy things. But aside from describing that personality type and giving us a slight glimpse into our near future, this book fails.
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Reading Progress

04/12/2012 page 40
11.0% "Not far into it, but I am already considering not finishing. I know I should be the target audience for the novel, but the novel obviously knows it, too. It's trying so very hard to be "geek cool" that it feels like fanfic." 2 comments
04/13/2012 page 125
34.0% "I will say I am getting a bit more sucked into the story. I liked the Tomb scenes. I enjoy the story when it's more like a classic video game, with quests and puzzles the narrator follows.

I did think the location of the first Key was pretty convenient, though, even if the author tried to cover the fact by saying that Halliday wanted it that way."
04/13/2012 page 215
58.0% "I don't care how cool a name Vonnegut is, you don't rename a Firefly-class ship already named "Kaylee"."
06/21/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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Paul All of the wit and fun of this book was lost on you. Did you expect the author to simply STOP making references to the 80's after 100 pages? Give me a break. Pop-culture references ARE the theme of this novel! The plot revolved around a pop-culture obsessive geek on a mission.
I'm also shocked how you could walk away from this book disliking the main character!? Ernest Cline did a great job on the "David vs. Goliath" angle and the character development of Wade.
In summary, this review sucks. People that have read it should disregard.

Noetic_Hatter Paul wrote: "All of the wit and fun of this book was lost on you. Did you expect the author to simply STOP making references to the 80's after 100 pages? Give me a break. Pop-culture references ARE the theme of..."

Thank you for taking time to read my review and type some comments. We clearly have a strong difference of opinion about the book. I really wanted to like it. But the further I read, the less fun I was having.

Bryan Raines Derrick
I can tell from your review that you did finish the book no matter what you say. The book actually spends more time with him doing quests than not. the references that annoyed you should of kept you from reading the book in the first place. It was no secret this book was inspired by the 80s... and yet you complain about the use of the 80s. The little tidbits thrown in to describe things using 80s pop culture were always short and in my mind did not distract from the story at all. Me thinks that a lot of the homage paid was over your head.

Noetic_Hatter Bryan wrote: "Derrick
I can tell from your review that you did finish the book no matter what you say. The book actually spends more time with him doing quests than not. the references that annoyed you should of..."

I was born in 1973. I daresay I recognized about 99% of the pop culture references. They were not over my head, and quite a few made me smile. And it's not that they were 1980's references. I don't care if it had been 80's or 1940's or 1520's references -- it was still tiresome namedropping after awhile.

Did you mean to say that you can tell that I did NOT finish the book? Because you're wrong. I read every page. There's stuff early on that I liked, as I mention in my review; at least, it was enough to keep me reading. In fact, it was the ending sections that really soured me on the book. Starting with his miraculous escape from an inescapable prison -- using details that occurred off-screen earlier in the story. What reader would not roll his eyes if it had been a physical key to, say, an old-west prison? "I forgot to mention that 300 pages ago, I secretly acquired a key that would open any prison lock, and I am going to use it now." That's bad writing.

The reveal of his best friend lacked emotional resonance and bordered on racism. "I chose to be a white male because it's easier that way." Hell, that might even have been an interesting topic of conversation, had the author seemed at all aware of the implications of his character's decision. But he seemed to just want to bring TEH SHOCKING TWIST and then move on.

The godlike powers of the Wozniak dude saved the day twice, out of the blue. That's just lazy.

And as I said, Wade is not at all likable. Yes, that might make him realistic as a gamer nerd, but it doesn't make reading about him any more palatable.

A common rebuttal to less-than-stellar reviews for this book seems to be, "You just don't get it." Well, I get it.

I just don't like it.

message 5: by Chris (new)

Chris Spot on. Had to give up on page 50. Infodump, 60s ditty, infodump, little bit of action, infodump... Yawn.

message 6: by Madelyn (new)

Madelyn Smart I am sorry but i have to disagree with you almost completely. I agree at times there was an unnecessary amount of infodumping but most of the information given was necessary to develop the plot. Like all of the info about the games and the Almanac helped you better understand Halliday's Egg hunt and the quest that Wade was on. There was a ton of information about the 80's because that is basically was halliday's life revolved around; so I think even the part about the Japanese robots used and their background was as useful as the story of Halliday having a perfect game of Pac Man.
Your comment about there being hollow emotion I find untrue. About a third of the book is about Wade's obsession with Ari3mis which is the opposite of hallow emotion. And when they met at the end of the book was probably the most emotional filled part of the book.
However, your opinion of the author's writing is not necessarily true but it is his first book and there are definitely some juicy and interesting parts, such as when Wade was hijacking the sixers' account and trying to escape basically endentured servitude. There was so much detail you were sucked into the very essence of the book. Cline even took the time to give vivid detail of Wade's secret hiding place among the piles of rubbish and old cars.
Of course there are parts of your comment i somewhat agree on. One of them being Wade's attitude. Altough he only has one true friend on and off the Oasis (although Art3mis and Shoto become friends or semi-friends about halfway through the book), he seems to think of himself so much better than everyone, even when he was stuck on the planet with all the schools on it.
Overall this book definitely deserves more than 1 star, although that is only my opinion. Taking into consideration the mere plot of the book and the detailing although some think of it as "infodumping".

Cristina What did you think of Wade's reaction to the trailer stack collapse? I was actually much more bothered by his very, very brief sadness over that than his arrogance (which I took to be kind of typical of a lot of gamers). His reaction to the IRL deaths made him seem a bit soulless, but I'll mark that up to poor writing, as I didn't think the author wa capable of writing authentic emotions.

But ... fun action scnes, that's for sure.

message 8: by Ivo (new) - rated it 1 star

Ivo Wade should've died.

Alekzander I am clearly not the target audience for this book, but honestly I was willing to learn! and I did took interesting thins from it, historical bits and gaming bits. Sometimes it was interesting. But I wholeheartedly agree that it wasn't well thought out and all the references while interesting had no deep connection to the story. Most of them scattered at random.

It's almost insulting that the author blatantly explains basic things to people who are frankly speaking, experts on such subjects. As a nerd I feel almost offended.

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