Review: Ready Player One by Earnest Cline

Posted July 25, 2016 by Emily in Review / 2 Comments

Review: Ready Player One by Earnest ClineReady Player One by Ernest Cline
Published by Crown Publishers on August 16th 2011
Genres: Action & Adventure, Sci Fi
Pages: 374
Format: Audio
Source: library
Buy on Amazon
four-stars

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. 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.

Reading Ready Player One wasn’t 100% my choice. I had heard about Ready Player One, specifically from Penny Arcade (an online webcomic for you non nerds). The review seems to be long gone now (it was in a news post) but I remember it wasn’t all that good. I didn’t pick it up then and I forgot about it for a long time. Some friends were reading it for their book club podcast, The Blind Spot Book Club, and I wanted to be ready for the next show. In a side note, The Blind Spots haven’t posted a new podcast in over a year and I miss them! Maybe mentioning them here on my blog will help get them up and running again.

Any negative feelings or impressions I got about this book were way off. I thought it was hilarious from start to finish. It was a like a love letter to my childhood and reading it was like a stroll down memory lane. It was both familiar and surprising. I listened to the audio book, narrated by Wil Wheaton. I think that there is no better way to read this book. Hearing the story in Wil Wheaton’s quiet, confident cadence is like stepping back to the 80s and wandering in a forest of nostalgia.

Therein lies the only issue with this book. This book is a no holds barred and unapologetic love letter to the 80s. It’s also a beautiful celebration of nerd culture. If you aren’t an 80s child or a nerd, some things may be confusing to you. This book also relies heavily on nostalgia. If arcade video games, John Hughes movies and Rick Astley don’t hold a special place in your heart you may not understand what all the fuss is about. Even if you understand the jokes and revel in the references you may feel pandered to. Parts of this book seem specifically designed to tug the heart strings and there are only so many references an author can make before they feel forced.

All in all, I loved this book. Ready Player One is a quick, fun, hilarious read. However, start this book with a clear picture. It is about video games and all things 80s. If that’s not your thing, steer clear.

four-stars

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