Sunday, August 7, 2011
Sci-Fi: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Date: August 16, 2011
Format: ARC (cover pictured is of final copy)
Acquired: from the publisher
Read: for review (I received my copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review.)
Reading time: two days
In 2044, most of the world spends as much time as possible in OASIS, a virtual, near-utopian world where just about everything can be created and experienced. Eighteen-year-old Wade Watts even goes to school in OASIS, using the online program to escape his poor, unsupportive home life. Wade, otherwise known by the screen name Parzival, shares the dream of many fellow OASIS users: to find the "Easter egg" hidden by OASIS's creator, Halliday. This egg will make him the inheritor of Halliday's massive fortune, as well as give him the control of the virtual reality. But it's been five years since Halliday's challenge began, and no one's been able to find even the first clue. Then Wade stumbles across it, and the 1980s pop culture-inspired race to be the first to locate the egg begins between Wade, four of his friends, and the malevolent, corporate-sponsored "Sixers," who will use the power and wealth the egg brings for their own nefarious purposes.
Ready Player One is the first book in a long, long time that I've actually been unable to put down. I just didn't want to stop reading it! It's both exciting, with great action, and fascinating, with the ways '80s movies, television, books, music, and games are worked into the story. Even though I'm not at all familiar with 1980s culture, I stayed interested (not to mention unconfused) with the '80s-detailed-driven plot. For readers who actually know a lot about the era, either from having lived during it or from having an obsession with it, Ready Player One must be infinitely even more alluring! I felt like such a geek, enjoying it so much...
There were few slow points to the novel, only occurring during the first sixty or so pages as Cline built up his version of 2044 and in about the middle as an interlude between the action. These weren't boring; I was just ready to get on with the more exciting parts by the time Cline started to move into them. I started reading the book thinking of it as written for an adult audience and continued in that belief for a while, though the author's writing seemed to become increasingly more young adult-oriented the longer I read. Ready Player One is suitable for both audiences, then, both content- and writing style-wise. Speaking of which, Cline has a decent writing style. It's fun, though not in the cheap paperback, end-up-on-the-ten-cent-rack-with-a-bunch-of-other-forgotten-and-discarded-sci-fi/fantasy-books variety. Ready Player One is memorable for both its attention-grabbing action and for its interesting '80s basis.
Maturity Factor: Profanity.
I think it would be cool for teenage/young adult readers of Ready Player One to ask their parents about all the '80s pop-culture references. I'd love to discuss them with mine, but my mom and dad were thoroughly entrenched in college/grad school at that point. They've already admitted to having no lives during that decade. I can't really see my dad playing Dungeons and Dragons, anyway.