Monday, February 26, 2018

#BeattheBacklist Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One
Ernest Cline
Release: August 16, 2011
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In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he's jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade's devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world's digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator's obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade's going to survive, he'll have to win—and confront the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.

Like a lot of people who haven't read this book, it took the news of the movie coming out to get me to pick it up. Initially, I was scared it would be overhyped but I shouldn't have worried. I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH! And listening to the audiobook narrated by Wil Wheaton made it even better!

Ready Player One is a love letter to the pop culture of the 70s and 80s and video game culture and my little geeky heart loved it all. I was born in the 80s but don't remember much of them since I was a little tyke but I grew up watching 80s movies, listening to the music, and playing old Atari games with my dad. So I caught most of the references but there were still some obscure ones I didn't get.

As plenty of others have stated, this book takes place in a world both like and vastly unlike our own. Energy, food, health, and economic problems have grown to a point where a sizable segment of the world spends most of their time living their lives in an immersive online environment. Addicted to Facebook? Twitter? Youtube? 4Chan? Then you'll have no problems connecting to characters who find freedom and society within the realms of OASIS, an expansive MMO that has taken the place of the 2-D internet we are so familiar with today.

The creator of this world and massive fan of pop culture, James Halliday, dies leaving behind a massive fortune and the OASIS itself to the first person who discovers his golden egg. So upon his death he created a contest. There are three magical keys hidden throughout the OASIS which will each unlock a gate. The first person to find all three keys and opens all the gates will find the golden egg and complete the quest winning Halliday's fortune.

This is where the main character, Wade Watts, comes in. He has dedicated his life to James Halliday's quest and has cultivated his own obsession with the 1980s and its pop culture in order to find these keys. While scouring this virtual world, Wade manages to make friends, enemies, and maybe even find love and it is one hell of a ride. I couldn't stop once I started it.

This book will hit every nostalgia button you have. If you're looking for a book full of 80s pop culture references, video game nostalgia, and nerd culture as a whole set in a dystopian future, Ready Player One is the book for you! If you just like action, interesting characters, and good writing ... well then you can devour it too! I can't recommend reading this one enough!

  4.5 / 5 Stars

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