Author: Ernest Cline | Publisher: Arrow Books | Pages: 384 | Source: Borrowed |It's the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.
Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.
And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune – and remarkable – to whoever can unlock them.
For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday's riddles are based in the pop culture he loved – that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday's icons.
And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.
Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt – among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize.
MY THOUGHTS: Ready Player One is one of those books that you never know quite where it's gonna go but you keep reading anyway. It's fun, gripping, original (to say the least) and a book for anyone who's geeky to the core. AKA. I loved it.
I'm sitting here wondering where to begin with a genuine look of confusion across my face. Hmmm… where, oh where, to begin? Ready Player One's plot will not leave you bored, that's for certain. The majority is set in a virtual world named OASIS, and the storyline revolves around this easter egg hunt as such… except the prize is the virtual world's creator's hidden egg that EVERYBODY wants. So, it's not "just an easter egg hunt" – it's a lot more than that. Naturally, our protagonist *enter Wade, loveable geek, obsessed with 80s pop culture* is after this prize, as is the totally awesome Art3mis and a gang of other people within OASIS. Composed of baffling riddles and puzzles that will have you tearing your hair out (seriously, the solutions to these are SO clever) the hunt is exciting to say the least. Seriously, half the time I had no clue what was going to happen, yet that's partly why I adored the concept of Ready Player One so much.
The characters of Ready Player One are likeable, in a sort of if-I-made-a-geekish-joke-they'd-get-it kind of way. Whilst, admittedly, the protagonist Wade (or, Parzival, as his avatar's known on OASIS) was annoying from time to time, he was essentially a good guy and I was constantly rooting for him But, on the character front, there were two stand out characters who I need to know more about! Obviously Art3mis – renowned blogger, gamer, and awesome OASIS player – who had the wittiest remarks to everything and was intelligent (seriously, we don't get enough actually intelligent characters in dystopian novels). Yet, there was so much information about her past so subtly hinted at, that her character was brimming with complexity. And the second character I thought was unbelievably brilliant was Halliday himself – the creator of OASIS. Although the only information you find out about him is through Wade, his general mystique was intriguing to say the least.
Ernest Cline has this wonderful ability to craft an in depth world without falling into the all-to-common trap of info-dump. The virtual world of OASIS was so well considered that I couldn't help but be utterly absorbed by it. And, as far as dystopian worlds go (many are very alike), Cline's was as original as could be – and scarily realistic (there's the haunting undertone that this could be our future). Not to mention quotations like “Going outside is highly overrated.” sadly sum up our generation. So, all in all, Ready Player One's virtual world was crafted in a way that allowed it to be both endlessly fun and fascinating, but also darkly prophetic (I mean, it is a dystopian world).
As you can see, I kind of fell in love with Ready Player One. Surprisingly, I did get many of the references (Monty Python!) – I thought I'd be totally lost with this area – and I loved it even more when I figured them out. The whole book gave off this Scott Pilgrim-esque vibe which, naturally, I adored and the ending was brilliant to the point I hugged the book when I closed it. My only problem with Ready Player One? The romance. Although, I'll admit, I'm incredibly fussy over romances so it probably wasn't as annoying as I felt it was; it did lower my enjoyment of the overall novel though! All in all, I did love Ready Player One a whole lot. Like I said at the beginning, it's a book for anyone who's geeky to the core.
“No one in the world gets what they want and that is beautiful.”
Ready Player One is – pardon the over-used expression – unlike anything I have read before. The virtual world of OASIS, the easter egg hunt, EVERYTHING about it was brimming with originality. Nowadays, novels within the dystopia genre are becoming increasingly more similar, so – needless to say– Ready Player One is refreshing.