Author: Ernest Cline
Source/Format: Blogging for Books; Paperback
More Details: Science Fiction
Publisher/Publication Date: Broadway Books; August 16, 2011
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Synopsis from Goodreads...
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...
The OASIS was described as a “vast virtual world where most of humanity spends their days”, which is the only accurate way to describe it. There were more than a dozen different worlds within the game, made up of original places or franchises licensed for use in OASIS. It was open platform and the majority of the setting (where the story played out) was within OASIS. It wasn’t just a recreational pastime, but also a place to learn and make purchases using real money. It was also a place to form friendships and even romantic relationships.
The plot focused on the contest, or “the Hunt”, left behind by James Halliday (the creator of the OASIS). So, Ready Player One is a Willy Wonka-esque story with a heavy emphasis on virtual reality, peppered—almost on every page—with references to pop culture primarily from the 80s. There were mentions of Star Wars, Back to the Future, and many others; as well as video games and consoles, for example the Atari 2600. But, this was a book that also had something else to say: an underlying message mixed in with the action and the Hunt, kind of about escapism via virtual reality told through the experiences of past and present characters.
And that brings me to the characters. I thought Wade Watts was a relatively interesting protagonist. He was down on his luck and had horrible relatives. His situation wasn’t the best and the OASIS was his escape from his life in the stacks. He was also like a walking dictionary for 80s pop culture. But then again, so were a lot of the “gunters” involved in the Hunt.
So, I thoroughly enjoyed Ready Player One and will definitely read future books by this author.
Disclaimer: this copy of the book was provided by Blogging for Books for this review...
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