Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

img_1002Have you ever read a book just for the hype? I’ll admit, I was hardcore jumping on the bandwagon when I decided to read this book (and rushing to beat the release of the movie!). Was the hype worth it? Absolutely.

In Ready Player One’s version of the 2040’s, people no longer interact in person: life happens in the OASIS. Enter Wade Watts: a teenager who has lived his entire life online. He lives in the stacks of trailers outside of Oklahoma City with his aunt and her sketchy boyfriend, attending school online and trying to explore the online world with his exceptionally limited funds. Wade is part of the hordes of users on the OASIS trying to solve a seemingly unsolvable puzzle with the highest of stakes: ownership of the OASIS. When Wade is the first player to make progress in solving the high stakes puzzle, we see him pushed into the spotlight and the danger that accompanies it.

Because everything is online, Wade doesn’t know or understand the true value of real-life, in person interactions. Throughout this book we see him stumble through relationships with his friends, family, people of power, and the girl he’s admired for years. I love how this book tackled the social anxiety of removing oneself from their ‘safety blanket’. We got to see Wade in the real world: where he couldn’t micromanage his appearance and environment and the vulnerability and discomfort that exposed him to. The author didn’t sugar coat how challenging being in the real world was for Wade, he was clearly vastly more comfortable in the game where he was idolized and a celebrity.

I’m not an 80s kid, but I’ll be damned if this book didn’t make me feel nostalgic for that era/ make me want to track down the nearest arcade to me. Ernest Cline’s world building was spectacular: it took a while for the OASIS to be fully fleshed out, but once it was, I couldn’t put the book down. The amount of detail was astounding, everything from the hardware that runs the game to the layout of the game to the pseudo-politics and mannerisms of different classes of players was described. By the end, I felt like an expert on all things 1980s.

This is a perfect book to get someone into the sci-fi genre. Ready Player One also has the added bonus of not being some grandiose series starter- it’s a genre defying stand alone novel. Having a perfectly delivered sci-fi tale in a single book is a rare find, one I would highly recommend to anyone looking for their next read.

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    1. The movie was really good, but I made the mistake of reading the book first (which I really, really loved). The movie’s plot is completely different from the book’s. It’s not a matter of “the book was better than the movie,” it’s that they were two completely different stories, aside from the overall quest for the keys.

      The movie is very good, but it just ruined it for me, knowing how much more interesting the book was! I wish I’d seen the movie first, tbh. If you go on to read the book, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

  1. Really annoyingly, some time since the movie came out, Goodreads has a second book in the “series” listed. So it looks like Cline and everyone else with a vested interest in the franchise is doing the profitable thing and dragging a standalone into a series. Like you mentioned, it’s so hard to find a good standalone! I was really peeved by this change.

    Great review! I haven’t thought about this book in months.

  2. I just finished reading “Otherworld” which has a very similar storyline as “Ready Player One”. Since I loved Otherworld, I might have to pick this one up!! Great review!

  3. It’s great to hear your thoughts on this! I’m actually always hesitant to read hype books in case I don’t like them as much as everyone else seems to but the plot of the book sounds really intriguing especially with how much being online and electronic is apart of daily life for some people now.

  4. Going to add this one to my Goodread’s list now. I didn’t see the movies but the previews looked good and I had no idea this was a book! It feels wrong to see the movie before reading the book to me haha!

  5. The world building in this book WAS amazing, wasn’t it?? It was so easy to picture yourself in Wade’s world. I personally loved the book more than the movie, even though the movie adaptation was pretty solid!

  6. I felt the book was so difficult for me to get into. But I liked the movie even though most of the references went above my head.

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