Tuesday, February 3, 2015

{REVIEW} Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Title: Ready Player One
Author: Ernest Cline
Genre: Fiction, Science Fiction, Dystopia
Series: Stand-alone
Publication: June 5th, 2012
Rating: ★★★★☆

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?

I bought this in summer last year after I've heard so many things about it on Goodreads. Before that I didn't even know about Ernest Cline but he's obviously really talented. I have to say that, now that I finished it, I expected something different - a book about videogames and stuff from the 80's ... in a way that's exactly what I got but still kind of different. It's hard to explain.

Ready Player One is about an online game, the OASIS, which is not only a game but also kind of like the real life - you create an avatar, give yourself a name and with that you built yourself a new life. Kind of. The creator of OASIS has just died but left a video where he explains something about a hunt - the one who completes his puzzles first and finds the Easter egg he left in his game will get a very valuable prize. A prize everyone wants to have. The book follows Wade Watts, also known as Parzival, on his hunt to solving the puzzles while everyone else - even the "bad guys" - try to do the same.

"These three words were always the last thing an OASIS user saw before leaving the real world and entering the virtual one:
READY PLAYER ONE"

First of all, I'm so intrigued by the concept of this whole idea! Just imagine a life inside a video game where you can level up your character, visit places by simply using teleportation, create private chatrooms where you can talk "face to face" with other people from all around the world and and and - the possibilites are endless. The world building is excellent and Ernest Cline did a really good job at explaining it with lots of details. All of this makes it so easy to picture everything and I would even go so far as to say that I totally believe that something like the OASIS will exist in the real world sometime in the future. The 80's references throughout the book were ... interesting? I didn't know many of the movies/games/whatever-else he mentioned but it was nice to read about it - I guess it would have been even better if I actually knew most of them.

The characters were all amazing. I really liked that we only know Wade "personally" - we know his name, where he lives and all those normal things but we don't have a clue about his friends and some other characters we meet during the hunt. Yes, we know their avatars but nothing personal and I have to say that the author really surprised me in the end. I won't say why or with what and I really didn't expect it but immediately loved him for that. There's a little romance in the book but it's mostly about friendships, the hunt and solving the puzzles - these were btw my favorite parts of the book! They were extremely well written and entertaining!

"That was when I realized, as terrifying and painful as reality can be, it's also the only place where you can find true happiness. Because reality is real."

I'd really recommend reading this book if you're interested in a topic like this - if you like the 80's it's even better but also if you don't have a clue about this decade you'll probably enjoy it based on the fantastic world building and the great characters!

And for me, I also think the book delivered a great message - especially the ending showed that perfectly. There's nothing wrong with escaping the real world for a while, as long as you come back at some point. No matter how bad reality really is, it's still real and you can always try to make it bearable with a little effort. Sometimes the little things in life are what make us truly happy.

★★★★☆

1 comment:

  1. I just finished rereading this book last night and I loved it just as much :D I just love the idea of the OASIS, the endless possibilities in the game, and the idea of escape. I think it's good that the OASIS doesn't exist because I would get lost in there forever! Really loved the contest aspect and things got really heated once the IOI got involved. So much fun.

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