Jessica's Reviews > Ready Player One

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
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's review
May 07, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: science-fiction
Read from July 10 to 11, 2012

Wow. Well, I can see why this book is so polarizing. I've noticed that people tend to give it either 5 stars, or 1, and I have one friend who couldn't even finish it. I can understand both sides. Ernest Cline's writing isn't going to win any awards. The beginning is particularly rocky, with so many info dumps I wasn't sure I would make it past page 50. It starts our with the MC, Wade Watts, addressing the reader and telling them that now he's going to set the story straight. But the reader he's ostensibly addressing would be a contemporary of his, so telling us in obsessive detail about the events of the past ten years is jarring and irritating. I wish this had been done in a cleverer way. It's info that we need, but I would have presented it as footnotes (maybe implying that it's now even further in the future, and Wade's story is a history book), or in a multi-media style where the info is written as newspaper articles and documentaries that Wade is researching.

But by page 100, these big clumps of "telling" have mostly stopped, and it's nonstop action from there on out. And that's what makes the book great. Cline is clearly in his element as Wade solves puzzles, fights giant robots, and even pulls off a twisty caper that nearly ended in his death or permanent incarceration. What also kept me reading was Wade himself. He's immediately endearing, and so are his friends, and I was rooting for him all the way. Bits of the book reminded me of JUMPER by Stephen Gould, one of my all time favorites, and then I was really invested in the character. (I love David from JUMPER. I want to take him home and feed him and make sure he goes to bed on time.)

I do also wish that Cline had acknowledged things like SecondLife and other virtual reality games. He also name checks authors like Neal Stephenson, but doesn't mention THE DIAMOND AGE or SNOWCRASH, both of which feature VR games, lives, and schools. It would have made this book more realistic to give a nod to those. Some of the things that are Gee Whiz Lookit creations in the book are happening right now in the real world, which Cline either doesn't notice or didn't want to admit to, which seemed odd.

But I absolutely loved the obsession with the '90's (and some of the '90's). There's a virtual reality world called The Whedonverse. He (and therefore Wade) has an encyclopedic knowledge of the classic games, movies, and music of the '80's and '90's, and it was fun for me to see what things he used and how he used them. (If you're a BLADE RUNNER fan, there is a whole scene, just for you! Also WAR GAMES.)

So, overall: A fun book. Toss your sense of literary style out the window for the first 100 pages and you'll be fine. Hate endless pop culture references? Never heard of Ultraman? You might want to just back away.
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Reading Progress

07/10/2012 page 110
30.0% 1 comment
05/14/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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Jennifer If you can, listen to this book. Wil Wheaton is the narrator and does a fantastic job. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Not only was it a great story, but it was also a wonderful stroll down memory lane with all the 80's references.

Jenna I gave up on this book on page 47. After reading your review, I wish I stuck with it. But thanks to the commenter above, Jennifer, I now know Wil Wheaton narrates the audio - so I think I'll probably take that route when I try again!

Jenn Ultraman! Ultraman! Ultraman!

Jessica Jenn wrote: "Ultraman! Ultraman! Ultraman!"

I have no memories of Ultraman. I had to go look a bunch of this stuff up on YouTube, actually.

Jenn Sad that you have no fond memories of watching Ultraman on grandma's television in San Jose. So sad.

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