Saturday, January 26, 2013

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

ISBN: 0307887448 ISBN13: 978-0307887443
Pages: 384
Genre: Fiction, Science Fiction
Publisher: Broadway (Paperback, June 5, 2012)

Published: June 5, 2012
Awards: ALA Alex Award 2012


This book received a lot of praise from the relatively niche audience to which it appeals. This book was an absolute page-turner for me. It was one of those books that I'd stop reading and I'd get that twinge in the back of my head.. once I get that twinge I'd end up reading another chapter.. then another.. and so on.

Straight up, this is a reference heavy book. Very heavy. Like.. shotgun to the face loaded with '80s and '90s references from video game and science fiction culture. I think if you grew up in the '80s and can appreciate all these references then you'll love the book all that much more.

The story itself is pretty straightforward, well written, and engaging. The main problem I had with the book was the main character. Wade Owen Watts. Wade is a poor kid that lives in the "stacks" (the stacks are basically houses stacked on top of one another usually in a slipshod fashion.. think of a shanty town.. only vertical), but he spends a lot of time in the virtual world OASIS.

The problem I had with Wade is the lack of conflict. (But.. lots of stuff happens to him.. and he runs into problems.. and so on..) Okay, yes Wade has conflicts that arise, perhaps I should say lack of needing to overcome these conflicts. A lot of things would get in Wade's way, but he (or life handed him) an ace up his sleeve and he was always able to get around these conflicts handily. In fewer words, things always worked out for him. Every time. There was no.. oh crap how do I manage this.. It was always, oh this is happening good thing I have this prepared ahead of time.

This bothers me because while the story isn't really meant to be a literary masterpiece, it made me feel less invested in Wade. As time after time he was able to avoid these conflicts with random fate inspired preparation or having something randomly come along, I felt less invested.

Despite this, I think the novel is definitely worth reading. If you are a child of the '80s and remember all these references then get ready for a nostalgia trip. The novel overall is very immersive. 

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