A Book Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Let me just say that there are few things that I like more in novels than eccentric billionaires. Why? Because they nearly always make things interesting. In Ready Player One, our eccentric billionaire, Halliday, certainly does not disappoint. I absolutely loved him and this novel penned by Ernest Cline.
The Good: The setting is something that is both terrifying and realistic. It takes place in a world where humanity has turned to escape in virtual reality (called OASIS) leaving actual reality poverty stricken and neglected, in the clutches of an energy crisis and just generally terrible conditions. Despite the fact that it may sound far-fetched and futuristic in this review, Cline made it seem not only totally plausible, but perfectly real, The world was wonderfully conveyed and described to the reader. One of my favorite parts – Cline is not preachy, nor is this book ever white or black (except for the existence of the Sixers). Still, OASIS is both good and bad for humanity, and I appreciated the balanced approach that Cline gave.
The plot is also pure genius. I love the idea of hunters (called gunters in this novel) searching for Halliday’s “Easter egg” in order to inherit his entire fortune. The riddles, mystery, and adventure of it all reminded me of the clues Harry would receive in the Goblet of Fire for the Triwizard Tournament. I never had ANY idea what the clues were alluding to as I, unlike Wade Watts, am not well-versed in obscure 80’s trivia, but it was still fun to read and exciting to see where the clues would lead him. Likewise, the transformation of Wade Watts was fittingly reminiscent of every 80’s movie ever, and I really appreciated it.
The Bad: There were moments where I found Wade Watts a bit… well, stupid. However, he is young in this story so I suppose it is believable. Plus, it was a way for Cline to show how much Watts was growing and changing throughout the contest/hunt for Halliday’s “Easter egg”. So I suppose it was necessary. It by no means lessened my enjoyment of the book. But I did wonder to myself, What are you doing, Wade, you crazy reckless person!? at least two times.
The Verdict: If you are a gamer, you’re probably going to love this. That said, I think anyone will enjoy this read, and I am going to add it to my must read list of 2014. I absolutely loved this novel.