Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

4 Stars

My boss has been pestering me to read this book for nearly a year now.  I think every time he’s seen me with my Kindle or with a book, his immediate question was, “Have you read Ready Player One yet?!”  I finally caved in and pushed my TBR pile aside and made time for his recommendation.  Being a geek and a book lover too, I figured he wouldn’t steer me wrong…and I was right.

A lot of people have described this book as nostalgia porn.  Yep.  It is.  Especially for those of us who grew up in the 80’s.  You don’t have to be a geek, gamer or a child of the 80’s to enjoy the book, but it does help.  Without at least a little bit of geek knowledge, you might get a little bit lost during the beginning.  There is a LOT of reference to old games, movies, TV shows, music and other cultural phenomenon that made the 80’s such a kick-ass decade.

The book takes place in 2044 and reality sucks.  The economy went into the toilet due to an energy crisis, public schools are closing down, no one can find a job and life is just generally horrible.  But there’s still OASIS.  The virtual utopia that the world’s population plugs into to escape their sad and depressing lives.  The economy in OASIS is more stable than any real-world economy and even the virtual schools perform better than their real-world counterparts.  This is the world that Wade Watts lives.  He attends school inside OASIS and he feels more alive when he’s plugged into this virtual world than he ever has.  He’s spent the last several years trying to solve the ultimate puzzle, to win the fortune of the late creator of OASIS and control of his universe.

The creator was a recluse video game genius with an obsession with all things 80’s and in his will, he decided to leave his fortune to the winner of the ultimate treasure hunt.  Somewhere in his vast universe he’s hidden three keys.  To find these keys, you have to solve his riddles.  And of course you have to stay alive while trying.  With a prize this big, people are willing to lie, cheat, steal and kill to get ahead.  This is what Wade has to deal with when he stumbles upon the first clue that leads him to the first key.  Suddenly his life is in danger and he will have to confront the real world, the one he’s spent his entire life escaping.

It took me awhile to get into the book, but once I got in, I was hooked.  I had a blast living through some of the funnest moments of my own life through the eyes of Wade and his friends.  It brought back a ton of memories and I was laughing by the time I finished the book.  Definitely an awesome read for anyone who has a little bit of geek in them.


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