Monday, 20 August 2012

Book Review- Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Title: Ready Player One
 Author: Ernest Cline
Series:  N/A
Published:  5 April 2012 by Arrow
Length: 384 pages
Warnings: violence, sex references, 13+
Source: Library
Other info: Ernest has also written a set of poems about his life. Ernest is also running a similar contest onlne, for adults in the USA, but not Florida and Columbia, and the prize is a car.
Summary : 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.  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.  A world at stake. A quest for the ultimate prize. Are you ready?

Review:  Wade is a Gunter. One of many who, since the death of Virtual Reality OASIS's CEO and founder Halliday, has been hunting for Easter eggs scattered all over the virtual galaxy. Finding them, and keys and gates before any other Gunter means that they will gain inheritance of OASIS. Many a dedicated Gunter wants this. But as well as playing against OASIS, they're playing against IOI, a company that will do anything to win-even kill.
From the start, I was pulled in. It's a premise that's different from anything I've read before, except maybe Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and that didn't take part on a computer generated universe.
The 2040s world is built up quickly, explaining what went wrong in the 10s, and how Earth went downhill from there. The concept behind the Hunt and the OASIS is also quickly explained, and is easy to pick up.
You get a large cast of characters. Wade is our protagonist, appearing in OASIS as Parzival. In addition to him is Art3mis, well known Gunter with a highly successful blog, best friend Aech(despite never meeting in real life)and Japanese duo Daito and Shoto. None of them are who you think they'd be when you meet them properly, but Aech, Art3mis and Wade are built up really well, and I got really attached to all five gunters, even though for the majority of the novel, we know four of them as online avatars.
Wade is clever, resourceful, thinks outside the box and is very likable. Once IOI make their intentions clear, he does quite well at staying one step ahead of them, and is obviously very dedicated to the hunt. He's also gone through major character development by the end, with a really cute ending. 
Although most of Ready Player One is set in OASIS, the cuts to the real world are great. They give a sense of reality, and remind you that there's a person playing this game. What I don't understand is if they're in the middle of an energy crisis, why are they, as in the whole world, stuck on a computer?
Not that I blame them. In Oasis, anything could happen. Most of what we see is connected to 80s geek culture. Dungeons and Dragons and other video games are the most prevalent, but for anyone who grew up in the 80s or who has/had an obsession with that time, this is amazing. And if you didn't, it's still amazing. Not knowing the D&D games inside out isn't a problem for the reader, because Wade does. There's so many references to so much stuff, it's unbelievable. And while it's less than 400 pages, there's so much happening (both storywise and to do with the fact the print and spacing is small) that it seems so much longer. In a good way.
And the whole scale of it I said, IOI will kill for the win, a fact that's made clear once Wade gets a lead. The stakes are so high, the writing so gripping, the characters so engaging, the plot so exciting, that it's impossible to tear yourself away.

Overall:  Strength 5 tea to a truly epic story that everyone will find something to love in.

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Thanks for taking time to read this!
Comments are much loved.
Nina xxx

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