Review: Ready Player One

Ready Player One
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

First off, I’d just like to say that I could kick myself right now.

Why? Because this book started showing up on my “to-read” and suggested books lists in various places like Shelfari, Goodreads, and Amazon about 2 years ago. Maybe longer. I actually bought it over a year ago with a credit in Audible (unabridged and read by Will Wheaton, yes that Will Wheaton. And I started listening to it/reading it about a week and a half ago.

WOW! I’ve just completed this and I feel that near-gut-punch feeling of having finished a GREAT book. One with no sequel. If you’re a reader, you’ll know what I mean by saying “it feels like I’ve lost a close friend.” This book is instantly in my top 10 of all time and probably in my top 5.

RPO is set in a dystopian 2044 where the real world is ravaged by poverty, food shortages and economic collapse. But most people don’t care because they spend the majority of their “lives” in The OASIS, which is a virtual reality universe. Because of the instability of the economies of the real world, the credits of the OASIS are actually more valuable than those in the real world.

Into this milieu is dropped our protagonist (Wade Watts, essentially a high-school senior) who is a self-proclaimed gunter. The creator of the OASIS has died and left his vast fortune as the prize for the first person to find the ultimate game Easter Egg in the OASIS. Millions of people spend their lives as egg-hunters (hunters) trying to find that egg. Wade has very little in the real world, but he has a good friend “H” and a much-better-than-average grasp of the knowledge needed to find the Egg.

The twist is that the creator, James Halliday, was obsessed with 80’s culture and geeky pastimes. Video games like Pac Man, Zork, and the like, awesome 80’s music and movies. You name it and it’s probably references in Ready Player One.

Through an incredible set of discoveries and adventure, Wade makes new friends, falls in love, nearly calls it quits, nearly gets killed (several times) and takes us, the readers along for an incredibly fun, fast-paced ride into the future AND the past.

If you’re a geek of the 80s (like me), jump in the way-back machine and pick up this book immediately. Just do it. Don’t waste your time waiting. This is a FANTASTIC book.

And if you enjoy audiobooks, I highly recommend the audiobook. Will Wheaton’s performance is fantastic. There’s nothing distracting about it whatsoever. He’s simply the perfect choice for narrating this one.

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