I’ve been busy the last few days with a lot of different topics and adventures, so I put off writing this review for a little while.
The book was surprisingly long, but I blasted through it within a few days – pretty much listening to it for 8 hours a day for several days at work.
A Closer Look at the Story
Ready Player One is set in the year 2045, and the earth has used up most of its fossil fuels. There’s an energy crisis and many cities are falling into disrepair; some urban neighborhoods are nothing more than trailer homes stacked on top of each other.
However, in the Oasis virtual reality, everyone has access to paradise. Whether you’re a trekkie, a LOTR junkie, or a Godzilla fan – your favorite movies, hobbies, and books have entire worlds dedicated to recreating your fantasies.
Halliday, the creator of the Oasis virtual reality, recently passed away – and he left his entire company (worth $250 billion) to the one who finds the Easter egg he left in the Oasis. The entire world quickly becomes involved in chasing down the egg. To find it, participants must be familiar with 1980s pop culture – thus the references to all things nerdy.
Wade Watts, known as Parzival online, dedicates years of his life to finding the Easter egg. When he and his friends find the first clue to the egg, they also stumble across a conspiracy that puts their lives on the line.
Ready Player One is satisfying on several levels.
First, the characterization is fantastic. The nerds are still nerdy, but they aren’t cliche or stereotyped. The characters are fully fleshed out with interesting and unique back stories that make them feel real.
Second, the plot both pokes fun at role playing adventures in science fiction and fantasy while glorifying them at the same time. It delves into the worlds gamers and nerds create to avoid facing their problems in reality. It shows the endless possibilities of the imagination while exploring the impact it has on individuals when they spend too much time engrossed in a video game.
Third, the sheer number of references to classic and recent games is impressive. Every time Ernest Cline mentioned a game I had played and loved or a piece of gaming history I was familiar with, it sent a happy little thrill down my spine. This book essentially gives a hats off to all nerds, and it made me feel like I am in an elite club of gamers for knowing as much as I do (however little that may be).
On the other hand, it’s not perfect.
It has the occasional cuss word, and because the book is so incredibly detailed in both characterization and events, it briefly describes Wade Watts doing . . well, some stuff with himself. It doesn’t glorify it, the opposite in fact. And it doesn’t last for more than a few sentences. By the time you get to this point in the book, you understand the character and his actions so well that it doesn’t seem jarring or out of place. It’s handled discreetly, and if you need to, it’s easy to skip over it without interrupting the rest of the story.
If you’re a nerdy gamer, then Ready Player One is a fun read – I definitely enjoyed it. However, if you’re not a gamer, you might not understand all the references in the book and might not enjoy it as much.
Due to FTC requirements, I need to specify the arrangement I have with a company. I receive a commission for users who click on advertised links and product referrals, including books I review and apps I enjoy. If you see something that interests you, feel free to click on them – though please don’t click on everything as this becomes fraud and disqualifies me for commission. Anyways, this commission keeps my site up and running and my content free. Amazon, Paypal, or Google do not tell me what to say or what links I should put in my content – it’s all me, based on my personal experience.