November 3, 2011

REVIEW: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

TitleReady Player One
Auhor(s): Ernest Cline
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Release Date: August 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 374
Source: Library
Buy: Amazon || The Book Depository


Summary from GR:
A world at stake. 
A quest for the ultimate prize. 
Are you ready? 

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.

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.

My Review:
I really don't like the cover or chapter 0001, but damn was this novel amazing! Ready Player One tickled every geeky bone and nerve system in my body, triggering explosions of nostalgia and uncontrollable spazzing. I don't know how many times I turned to a page and completely freaked out because one of my favourite songs/movies/games was mentioned. 

This novel is the story of Wade Watts (aka Parzival), the first person to score on game designer Jim Halliday’s egg hunt scoreboard. It is the story of his journey to the end of the hunt, the characters (both online and offline) he meets, the worlds and time-periods he gets to glimpse through OASIS, and the all too real dangers that come barrelling with it. As Wade struggles to find Halliday’s egg and win his fortune, he must not only face the virtual world, but the reality that he so wants to escape. 

Ready Player One described in one word is epic. PURE AND UTTER EPICNESS. I really don't need to give this stars because five just wouldn't be enough! I loved almost every page of this novel. It has a little of something for everyone. Games, music, movies, books, fantasy, sci-fi, romance, adventure, mystery, and pretty much the whole SHE-BANG. I can understand why some people might not like this book, but I relate a whole lot more to those people that do. Maybe it's me trying to get my nerd-on, but this book just hit all the right chords. It was fun and quick, and a real page-turner. 

I admit, there are little things that I disliked about this book (such as the slow chapter 0001), but all the good things just outweigh the negative ones. This book was much too fun to read to give it anything but a good review. 

To be honest, I was very worried to read this book because I thought it just may not live up to the hype around it. However, for me, it did live up to every praise it has received. Ready Player One is something so unique, and special that it can’t be ignored. I may not have been born in the 80s but I was born close enough to those years to know a lot of the references in this book. I grew up listening to my parents’ music, watching my older cousins’ movies, reading my older friends’ books. I loved games like PAC-MAN, Asteroids, Space Invaders, and the more modern variations of the game Tennis. I lived in both the 80s and 90s, and 2000s. I got to experience these different generations, and I loved them all. 

Reading this novel was like travelling back in time. It made my heart swell with memory. As Flannery so eloquently put in her review, Ready Player One is nostalgia porn – and it is nostalgia porn done incredibly well. 

However, this time travelling is not the only thing I liked about this book. I liked how the world seemed so real, yet so outrageous at the same time. If ever we had the technology to achieve something like OASIS, I am quite sure that the teenage population will not come out of their bedrooms (even less so than they do now). It will be as it is in the book, us strapped to chairs or intricate machines, visors over our eyes, refusing to see the world in front of us. If the Earth deteriorates far enough, we won’t ever want to come back to reality. And if we were all to be honest, if we lived in the conditions these characters lived in, most of us would no doubt spend all our time in OASIS. Running away. Hiding. It’s what some of us do now. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, this anonymity and technology we take advantage of…who says we’re not heading straight towards a future like the one in this novel? 

I like this book more than just for its novelty and blast-to-the-past prowess, but because it shows us how important our human connections are. It shows us that even though we may take escape from games and the virtual world, we still have something to live for in our own reality. Wade loves OASIS, he breathes it, but he realizes there are things in the real world he wants to hold onto, things he finds of utmost importance. 

This is a fun and entertaining book, it takes you on an unbelievable ride, but it also teaches you along the way. You may observe a little insight you already knew, or you may learn something completely unknown. Whomever, whatever, wherever you are, whether you like to game or not, it doesn't matter; Ready Player One is a book you should not pass up.


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