Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Book Review | Ready Player One. Ernest Cline

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
(on Goodreads)
My rating 

It took me way too long to finish this book, and I really don’t know why, because it was such a fun read. There were many parts, where I rushed through the pages, just to find out, what was going to happen next. And then there were days, when I would completely forget about it and read something else instead.

Ready Player One is a dystopian novel, which shows us the world of 2044. In this world computer technologies and virtual reality have penetrated every aspect of human life to the point, where people no longer care about the real life. And why should they?  The whole world is drowned in poverty, overpopulation, pollution and lack of resources. James Halliday, a computer nerd and genius, has created a global computer simulation, known as OASIS. People use it to study and work, but first of all it’s a multi-player online computer game.

The book starts with a shocking announcement, that disrupts OASIS. James Halliday has died and left his whole fortune to one lucky player, who will complete his final quest. The player has to find three keys, open three gates and finally get the Easter Egg, hidden somewhere in the OASIS. Halliday has left riddles and hints that lead to the Egg, which all have something to do with his favourite games, movies and books from back when he was a kid.

After the prologue, we fast forward five years since the start of the hunt. Wade Watts spends all his time in the OASIS, trying to escape the morbid reality and find the Egg. This proves to be almost impossible, since he’s too poor to go anywhere in the game world, except for the planet, where he goes to school. But I don’t think, I’ll spoil you anything by saying that he indeed gets the game going and finds the first key (he’s the main character, of course he’ll eventually find his way to the big prize). And so the game begins!

The story had many intense sequences and I actually really enjoyed the final battle. At times it seemed that Wade was too lucky or over prepared, when he had to crack yet another riddle, and “immediately knew what it was all about”. But then again, he’s a nerdy recluse and he has dedicated his whole life to this game. These moments of his brilliantness were somewhat annoying, but they’re at least partly justified. I was quite happy with other gunters (egg hunters), except for a few times when they acted a little out of character. Thankfully they were brief enough, so I didn’t let them disrupt me from enjoying this book.

I’ve seen a lot of negative reviews, saying that this book is like nostalgia porn, and only people who’ve experienced life in the 80s can truly enjoy it. But this was never an argument for me. I grew up watching foreign TV shows, which weren’t even close to what my everyday life looked like. Even now what most people have in the first world countries, is completely alien to those living in second, and I don’t even mention third world countries. Even the most basic things. Still this doesn’t mean, that they won’t be able to understand it. Besides isn’t this what fiction is for? Experiencing things, that you don’t get to see on a daily basis.

2 comments:

  1. I'm shocked that you've read negative reviews because I've only heard insanely positive ones. I would love to read it but I don't know how I feel about it being dystopian. Is it anything like other dystopian novels?

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    1. Most of the time the characters are either playing the game or researching for it, so I'd say it feels more like an adventurous sci-fi with a lot of pop culture references.

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