Title: Ready Player One
Author: Ernest Cline
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.
But 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.
Funny story, I actually picked this one up on a recommendation from my boss. We were doing a catch-up meeting and he mentioned this book, told me a little bit about it, and before the meeting was over my copy was already ordered on Amazon. And then it took me months to actually get through it, despite how excited I was.
It starts off a bit slow, which is why I had trouble sticking through it, but once it picks up I couldn’t put it down! The author does a great job of painting a world that really doesn’t seem very far off. As someone who’s played in virtual reality before, it’s easy for me to imagine being in Wade’s situation, addicted to an imaginary place the way he’s addicted to the OASIS. We spend most of the book following Wade, the main character, in his quest to inherit the OASIS. The cast isn’t huge (Wade spends most of his time alone) and yet the time we do spend with other characters easily brings them to life. Each person felt like they had an entire story behind them, and I’d definitely be willing to read them!
All in all, it was a pretty great book. Other than the slow start, my only criticism is that the end was too abrupt. It left a lot of unanswered questions, yet not enough for me to necessarily need a sequel. A couple of times throughout the book the author chooses to tell, rather than show, and that served the purpose of those parts of the book just fine. I think he could have wrapped the book up similarly, tying the loose ends I still have questions about. The ending is the only reason it doesn’t have 5 stars.