Thursday, April 16, 2015

Book Review: "Ready Player One" by Ernest Cline

"Ready Player One" by Ernest Cline
First published in 2011
372 pages
My rating: 4 out of 5
Image from Goodreads

Things pretty much suck on Earth in the 2040s. Global warming has wrecked the planet and we've basically run out of fossil fuels. Gas got so prohibitively expensive that refugees flocked to the urban areas with their last tank and many people are forced to live in "the stacks" -- mobile homes piled 20 high on top of each other.

Lawlessness, poverty and depression abound. So it's no surprise that most people spend their days inside an ultra-realistic video game called the OASIS. In addition to being the world's biggest and most complex game, avatars conduct real-world business in the OASIS and kids can opt to attend public school in the virtual reality.

When the co-creator of the OASIS dies, he leaves behind a virtual treasure hunt, the winner of which will be awarded his massive fortune. James Halliday was a teenager in the 1980s and has carried his love of that decade's pop culture with him through life -- and it's a key component to completing the quests he's left behind. Get ready for a huge dose of '80s movies, TV shows, music and video games!

Eighteen-year-old Wade Watts -- a.k.a. Parzival in the OASIS -- is one of millions of OASIS users on the hunt for Halliday's prize. He lives with his drug-addict aunt in the stacks, and his escape from the daily misery is his devotion to all things '80s and his dedication to solving the treasure hunt. When he becomes the first person to unravel the first clue, Wade unwittingly stands at the center of a series of events that could have a huge impact on both the virtual reality and the real world.

I loved this novel, which manages to be both fun and serious at the same time. There are cool things like space ships, giant robots and endless '80s references (if you're like me, you'll want to watch and listen to all of them, plus time-travel back to an '80s arcade) as well as more weighty topics like evil corporations, friendship and trust, not to mention the fact that the world has gone to shit.

The only reason I didn't give "Ready Player One" 5 stars is because the writing wasn't really anything special. It was by no means bad -- it was perfectly adequate -- but it lacked any pizazz or beauty. The quirky and unique plot more than makes up for the slightly dull writing, though, and I'll definitely read anything Ernest Cline writes next. And I'm totally excited for the movie version of "Ready Player One," due out in 2016. I can't wait to see a visual depiction of the OASIS!


  1. Wonderful review, Lindsay :) I started reading Ready player one with my significant other a couple of year ago. We took turns reading before going to sleep, we both like what we read but have a habit of staying up too late so we put the book aside. Time to start getting to bed earlier to read more of this story. Loved reading your review of the book :) Happy weekend!

    1. You're lucky that you and your husband can read together! Mine isn't a fan of reading, but I know he'd love this book and I assured him that I would be dragging him to the movie when it comes out! You should definitely pick this book back up again... it really started to go quickly once I got into it.

  2. Sounds like a good read, love the 80's!


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