Friday, March 27, 2015

Book Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One
By Ernest Cline
Release Date: August 16, 2011
Source: Library
Summary: 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?

Review: First off, I am shocked that I had gone this long without reading this book. For some reason, I hadn't heard how amazing this book was until recently, despite the fact that it came out in 2011 and has a super high rating on Goodreads (over 4.3 stars). Well, I FINALLY picked up this book and it is easily one of my favorite reads this year. 

It's 2044 and every single human being is consumed by the OASIS, an online virtual world that let's you be who you want to be while exploring the endless planets and people the system has to offer. Like most of humanity, Wade Watts finds life in the OASIS much more bearable than the real world, especially after the maker of the OASIS, James Halliday, dies and announces his contest to find the ultimate prize within the gaming system: his immense fortune and the power of control of the OASIS. Wade, along with millions of hunters, has dedicated his entire life to studying everything Halliday was obsessed with in order to understand and uncover the secrets of the OASIS, but years have passed with no progress. Until Wade stumbles upon the answer to the first clue. Suddenly, the hunt becomes even more fierce and dangerous and there's only one way Wade can make it out alive: To win. 

Wow. Just thinking about the amount of time and planning and pure imagination that went into writing this book seriously blows my mind. As a major 80s fan, I was in love with every single reference to the 80s that was found in this book, which was a lot. At one point in the book, one of the characters said that the game was created so that everyone would be as obsessed with Halliday's obsessions as he was. For some reason, that concept was absolutely genius to me. This guy was OBSESSED with the 80s but people just thought he was weird, but by creating his hunt, anyone trying to win had to know every single tiny detail about the 80s, making that obsession a necessity for millions of people. How cool is that? I also loved how this book took place inside of a video game. The whole concept was crazy, especially how Wade went to school online and made his best friends online. The relationships/friendships in this book were so strong, but they were between people who hadn't even met in real life. His relationship with Art3mis was so real and I loved the insecurities they both had when it came to revealing who they truly were to each other. 

One aspect of this book that I think Ernest Cline did an amazing job at was the pacing of the novel. The world Wade lives in needs A LOT of explanation, but Ernest Cline broke up his explanations enough that they were very interesting and informing without being drawn out and boring. I was gradually introduced into Wade's world of the hunt and the OASIS so that I understood what was going on and was still intrigued by the action and storyline that was happening. Also, years pass throughout this book, which I was actually really happy about. It took 5 years to solve the first clue, so of course it's going to take longer to get through the other two gates before the grand prize. There was a very realistic (well, as realistic you can get with the future…) pacing and I liked how there were moments of intense action balanced with moments of research and planning. Near the end, things definitely got insane and I was furiously reading to figure out what the heck would happen to Wade next, especially when he started doing crazy things in the real world and not just the virtual world. 

I could go on and on about how mind blowing and unique this book is. Any gamer has to read this book because it brings video games to life in a way that is realistic, entertaining, and addicting. I can honestly say I have never ever read a book like this and I'm already dying for more. AND OMG I JUST LOOKED AND THERE'S GOING TO BE A SEQUEL. But it doesn't say when it's going to be released, which means it's probably going to take forever considering how extensive and creative the storyline and world in this book was. Until that glorious day where we will get a sequel, anyone who has not read this book must pick up a copy right now! You're missing out on one of the best books I've ever read! 

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