Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
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?

LENGTH: 15 hours, 40 minutes

I think I’m the last person on the planet to read this book. I read the unabridged audio read by Wil Wheaton which was quite funny considering he’s mentioned at least once as part of the 80’s trivia strewn throughout the story. I wonder how weird that must’ve been for him.

The premise is pretty bleak. The future world has gone to shit and folks have retreated into a virtual reality. Yep. I can totally see that happening and it’s scary. I’m not going to bother with any more plot synopsis because I’m lazy and everyone has already read it. When it began I was a little worried it was going to lose me. It seemed more action-oriented and video-game-come-to-life for my liking and there was a lot of setup. I like those things when they’re mixed up with good characterization but this story was about a kid who steps into a virtual reality and is attempting to beat the game and save the world. How on earth was I going to get to know him and/or anyone else (was there anyone else?)! So yeah, in the beginning, I was worried this would be a DNF for me and the reading world would throw their hate at me when I dared to say so.

But somewhere along the way I grew to care just as much about Wade and his small tight knit group of honest gamers as I did Wade’s journey to beat the game and the Big Baddies. I was quite surprised with that turn of events considering they were their avatars for 95% (maybe more) of the story and aren’t even “real” people. It’s weird but it works.

All of the 80’s nods helped moved things along too. I grew up in the 80’s with a guy who dragged me to all of the never-ending Rush concerts (yes, all of them or at least if felt that way), forced me to watch Indian Jones and the Star Wars trilogy when I would much rather have been enjoying a Hellraiser marathon. Ahhh, the things we do for love. So I was thrilled to see all of the references and learn that my youth wasn’t entirely wasted . . . This book would’ve been perfect had it contained some Madonna and Clive Barker references but you can’t have everything.

I’m glad I hung in there and think it will make an amazing movie. It has a smart, resourceful and brave hero and it wraps its story up in one book. I wish more dystopian books wouldn’t drag things out over 3 or more books!

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  1. I can assure you you're not the last person to read this book - because I bought it for my Kindle earlier this year and I STILL haven't read it. However, I'm pretty anal about reading books before watching the movie so I'll have to do that before it comes out for sure. Great review!

    1. Thanks Barb. I probably never would've got around to it if I didn't find a copy on audio.

  2. I still among the last who still haven't read this. I have been attracted to the premise for what seems like ages, but just haven't gotten to it. I dig the interjection of bits of the 80's. Great review.

    1. Thanks Toady. There are just too many tempting books and too little time.

  3. I loved this book! It was one of the few ARCs that I read almost as soon as it arrived.


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