Title: Ready Player One
Author: Ernest Cline
On the Shelves: Fiction, Sci-Fi, dystopian (?)
“Imagine the WORLD AT STAKE.
An EPIC STRUGGLE between good and evil.
The GREATEST QUEST in history.
The FATE OF HUMANITY resting in your hands.
ARE YOU READY?” (Goodreads 2013)
Calling all Video Game fanatics: Your dream fiction novel has arrived!
Ready Player One follows the adventure, or rather the virtual adventure, of a young lad named Wade who lives in an overcrowded (and over-stacked) trailer park, and uses the Internet, or as it’s known, the “OASIS” to not only escape the dull, dreary, daily life of future!America but to attend school using virtual classrooms. However, not all of the OASIS is educational. In fact there is a massive Easter Egg Hunt going on, and it has been going on for generations. The creator of the OASIS, way back in the 1980s, rigged up the system to leave his fortune and inheritance to the player who can be the first to discover all of the clues, find all of the keys, defeat the bad guys and save the day- thus inheriting the creator’s fortune and ownership of the OASIS. With Wade not only facing massive competition from other civilian players (who would throw grenades at his virtual!self in a heartbeat if it meant him losing a level or two), but also corrupt government officials threatening anyone who gets close enough to potentially snag first place, there is more at stake here than just a virtual fortune …Are you Ready, Player One?
This game- no, wait, sorry book, this book, is a legitimate salute to Gaming culture worldwide. Filled with pop culture references from the 1980s and 90s, both fictional and non-fictional, and every running joke about the Internet under the sun, Ready Player One was always bound to catch the spotlight’s attention in the age of the Internet. The protagonists are enjoyable enough and you really do spend most of the book rooting for them to find the keys and earn the fortune at the end of the rainbow, to be honest, I spent a lot of it cheering on Wade’s competition rather than Wade himself! Cline took on a monster of a challenge with Ready Player One, as there is so much within Gaming culture which can be argued over until you are blue in the face, and it could have been either poorly received or well liked- luckily for Cline, the majority of reviews seem to lie in the positive, and this review is no different.
Cline’s writing style, I can’t lie, is not the best. But the story following the adventure through the gaming levels and unlocking the mystery to the OASIS inheritance is enough to keep the readers on the edge of their seats.
I loved the ever popular internet issues being humorously addressed throughout this book, From “what if we all get so attached to our computers the robots take over!?” to “if you have friends on the internet, what if they aren’t really who they claim they are?” and even the ever popular and controversial issues of Gender within Gaming culture crops up a fair few times.
I know that personally, I would’ve liked to have seen a little more world building for outside of the “OASIS”, for example what is the bigger society/world like in real life? But Cline gets away with not really acknowledging it too much because the story limits itself to the confines of the OASIS, which works well for the novel since from the very start, you- like Wade- are entering the novel with one sole goal : Find the Treasure.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it was something original from within the genre of “dystopia” and as someone who grew up playing video games in the 90s, it was just great.