Ready Player One

Hello, bookworms! It’s been forever and a day since I updated, and even longer since I brought you a review. All I can say is that life is crazier than I’ve wanted it to be, and I’m so behind on my reading. There just aren’t enough hours in the day. While I’m glad that I’m not rushing though stories just to hit my goodreads goals, or to bring half-hearted reviews, I do also feel bad for leaving you hanging for book suggestions or a random update in my little literary world. So let’s get to it, shall we??

So, I’ve been moving slowly through a trilogy, and the reason being is because a few stand-alone novels have jumped the queue in between my series installments. One was a book my colleague loaned to me after a conversation we had about literature and what was in our TBR piles. Needless to say, I didn’t want to be one of those people who borrow books and never gives them back, so I put a pause on one of my current reads to give Ready Player One by Ernest Cline a go. It was quite a journey, so let’s talk about it.

This was a really interesting story and not quite what I was expecting. I think, even though it’s a bit of fantasy and a little futuristic, that it wound up being very reflective of a direction I could easily see our society taking, but I’ll talk about that a little later. I went into it knowing that there were a lot of pop culture references, but that was about it. This book took me in directions I couldn’t even imagine it going.

The year is 2044 and the future looks grim. The majority of people are out of work and living in poverty or absolute squaller. Wade Watts is no different, except for the fact that he’s determined to beat the system and change his life for the better. In a virtual world called OASIS, he’s known as Parzival, and he’s on a mission to find a carefully hidden egg that was placed at the end of many puzzles. However, so is the rest of the world. The winner receives a prize of absolute fortune that was set up by the deceased creator of the game.

Luckily, Wade has spent countless hours, days, and months studying puzzles and 1980s pop culture in order to pass each of the three gates in the challenge and win the game. He also befriended a group of fellow gamers from around the world who jump in to help when they can. While they play for themselves, they see no problem in forming a camaraderie and having each other’s backs.

It’s when Parzival and his crew surpass the first challenge that another group of gamers (known as The Sixers) wind up hot on their heels, and they’re willing to kill in order to take the prized egg from those who deserve it most.

The cover of the book told me this story was a mix of Willy Wonka meets The Matrix. I could see that, but also, so much more. I imagined a bit of Tron as well as other classic arcade games. Incorporate those elements with an unlikely romance (which I didn’t think I’d get in this kind of story), and there’s a lot going on from page to page. As an 80s baby, myself, I enjoyed the look back to items and moments of my early years. The mentions served as fond nostalgia.

As I said earlier, I thought elements of this story were a little reflective of society today, which is scary and sad. However, with Wade and his friends fighting for the better, it gave a glimpse of hope in the wake of fear and an unknown, dismal future.

Ready Player One is a lot to take on just because of the jump back and forth between the real world and the virtual OASIS. Throw in the character conflicts, and many pop culture references, and the cogs of your brain will be moving quickly to keep up, but you’ll enjoy the adventure. I know I sure did!

My Final Rating: five out of five stars

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