Published by Crown Publishers on 2011
Genres: science fiction, young adult
At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, READY PLAYER ONE is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.
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 power—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. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.
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. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life—and love—in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape. A world at stake. A quest for the ultimate prize. Are you ready?
Being bogged down by school work so much, when I do get around to reading for pleasure it sure feels great that I haven’t had much bad luck at least. I went into Ready Player One without much expectations, despite that I’ve had several friends over the last year read it and tell me it’s a definite must for me to get to ASAP (of which I obviously kept putting off until now). I don’t know why I kept putting it off. Maybe I was worried I wouldn’t like it as much as the others and end up being the black sheep. That happens to me often. Haha. But by the time I reached the middle of the book, I was hooked in and knew this read in general was different, not me.
The thing about Ready Player One is that it really appeals to nostalgia. If you were an 80s baby/grew up in early 90s and/or know all that 80s stuff because that’s what you grew up on, it’s going to take you back with just the nostalgia alone. I felt like it found its way to appeal to readers in ways that couldn’t relate as well through details and explanations, to possibly pull in new fans. It crafts a new virtual world and builds strong visuals and along the way, builds characters the readers can grow to relate to and root for while on their adventures.
There’s a surprise twist toward the end and it builds a message around the story of the book that makes you think. Not to give any spoilers, but much of the story message does have to do with how we are online, how we interact, and what makes us different from our real life selves. There’s a deep message within the inner story, as well as some dark messages that feel like they can easily match with some current world events. At times, I felt like this book could predict things.
I adore the friendships built among Wade, Aech, and Art3mis. Despite it being the OASIS (essentially a virtual world, like the internet), they established real bonds and I couldn’t help but compare theirs to my own real friendships I’ve made through the years online. Cline did a phenomenal job crafting these tiny details and characteristics right down to the letter that I was just amazed at everything in this novel.
I don’t have many words for Ready Player One. It’s always hard to review the great ones, am I right? It is addictive, entertaining, and a geek fantasy. A definite must read!