Review: Ready Player One - Ernest Cline

Release Date: August 16th 2011
Published By: Random House
Pages: 374
Goodreads: Add it to your reading list

Rating: 5 out of 5

Synopsis: 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: Ready Player One is one of my favourite books of 2013 so far, and up there with one of my favourite YA books of all time. It offered me everything I personally love - video games (plus lots of trivia on games and consoles), pop-culture (mostly 1980’s - best decade to be born in! hehe) and one of the best worlds I’ve ever read in any book - the gaming utopia known as OASIS.

Whilst at first glance you’d be forgiven for thinking this book is all videogames and bubblegum, I think the most poignant part of this book is the social commentary Ernest Cline is making about the dangers of allowing ourselves to be a society that lives online more and more. In the future, everyone works in the OASIS, they attend school there, and people invest their money in matierial possesions and real estate in this online gaming world that is their virtual reality. People don’t seem to want to live in the real world - why bother when you can be anyone or anything you’ve ever dreamt of in OASIS?

I frigging love the guts of this book. Seriously, one of the most unique, imaginative storylines I have come across. I had already started telling my friends at work about this book when I was only half way through it! Lucky I loved it! haha

Wade is our protagonist. He is a gunter (an egg hunter), who is trying to find the ‘easter eggs’ (ie nerd speak for hidden clues) hiding within the epic huge world of OASIS. What’s in it for him? James Halliday, the co-creator of OASIS died, and has declared to all players that the first to find his three hidden clues will inherit all of his money - hundreds of billions of dollars worth. Wade is one of many gunters out for the main prize. He takes us on a journey through all kinds of worlds and maps and games along the way on his quest. And I really enjoyed every minute of it.

One thing that particularly stood out to me, aside from the incredible world building, was the characters themselves. Parzival, Art3mis, Aech, Shoto, and of course the absolute ruthlessness and depravity of I.O.I Innovative Online Industries and their team of Sixors who are out to snatch up the billions so they can reign control of the OASIS. The characters, whilst 2D in the online realm were far from being two dimensional themselves. We learn a lot about their personalities, their hopes, fears and insecurities, especially when we meet them in person and find out what they mask about themselves online.

When a story is as good at the start as it is in the middle and the end, it should be celebrated, and this is exactly how I felt about Ready Player One. I am keeping this one on the shelves, and am recommending it to anyone who is looking for a good nerdy YA fix!

Afterthought - this would make an incredible movie. Will we get to see this on the big screen some day?


“I watched a lot of YouTube videos of cute geeky girls playing ’80s cover tunes on ukuleles. Technically, this wasn’t part of my research, but I had a serious cute-geeky-girls-playing-ukuleles fetish that I can neither explain nor defend.”

“Being human totally sucks most of the time. Videogames are the only thing that make life bearable.”

“No one in the world gets what they want and that is beautiful”

“I felt like a kid standing in the world’s greatest video arcade without any quarters, unable to do anything but walk around and watch the other kids play.”


What do you think?

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  • Awesome review. I really liked this book. I loved all the 80′s pop culture and references in the book.

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