Review: Ready Player One (Ernest Cline) 

Genre: Science Fiction

Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis:

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.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved — that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. 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.

A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?

Review: (minor spoilers related to characters!)

This book is….OH MY GOD.

It was so brilliantly awesome that I can’t even begin to describe how well written and amazing this book is!

I finally understand how some guys (and girls) get so freaking addicted to video games. In this book, you see the wonderfully described world of OASIS which is the future’s ultimate virtual reality that kinds of substitute life itself. It’s so easy to get lost in OASIS with all the hundred of planets and countless games/quests contained within it. I was blown away by how well OASIS was created and used as a setting for the novel’s epic Halliday Egg Quest. He did very well in describing some parts of OASIS in detail while gleaming over others to compliment the main ones. Some authors drag their descriptions, and I’m glad Cline never did it like that.

“We live here in the OASIS. For us, this is the only reality that has any meaning…”

On top of that, Cline has made the most epic tribute to 80’s pop culture (music, films and most importantly video games) in this book that you can’t help but to wonder at the brilliant era that is the 80’s. Since I’m a 90’s kid, I missed out on some of the 80’s references but I don’t think it ever hindered me from enjoying the book. I learnt a lot about the 80’s than I possibly could anywhere else and I’m still psyched Wil Wheaton’s name was mentioned as a cameo in the book. He is an absolute delight whenever he appears on the series The Big Bang Theory and if you are fan of that series, you will enjoy Ready Player One hands down.

Cline described the possibilities of the consequences of virtual reality towards the human condition and I found this to be the most interesting aspect of the book (asides the Egg Hunt). While virtual reality is an amazing place for gaming simulations, it becomes a different thing when it takes over actual life. The characters in his books are all social recluses who literally barricade themselves from the real world in order to stay in OASIS living as the avatar they created. It reached a disturbing point when at one point of the story, Wade, the main character, stayed in his apartment for a whole year without ever stepping outside. There was an argument within the novel where it questions the worth of OASIS in replacing reality so much that the real challenges of living are ignored. And that is legit (and disturbingly accurate) in seeing how eager humans want to escape real life and seek solace in a place that doesn’t exist.

“Going outside is highly overrated…”

All of these made the book a gem as it is. It questions the fine line between obsession and power, reality and virtual, and the human interaction synthesized in non-existential conditions.

The only thing I find myself disliking is the character Art3mis. I’m not sure the exact message her character is supposed to bring into the book. An avatar who is very pretty and fights better than most guys and turns out she’s not much different in reality? Women have been objectified constantly in video games and I find the true going on in Art3mis. But this was how I perceived her: arrogant, self-righteous due to her intelligence, and fits every misogynistic trope created in the video game world. (Or am I over exaggerating? Haha)

I still enjoyed the book despite not really enjoying the ending. 90% of the book is pure brilliance and I would recommend this to all gamers and non-gamers!

Have you read the book and what did you think of it?

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