|Ready Player One by Ernest Cline|
August 16, 2011
Random House NY
Source: Personal Audible Purchase
It's the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.
Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.
And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune--and remarkable power--to whoever can unlock them.
For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday's riddles are based in the pop culture he loved--that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday's icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes's oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.
And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.
Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt--among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life--and love--in the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.
A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?
Narrator Review: Wil Wheaton was simply amazing in his narration. I’m so glad I chose to listen to this book rather than read it, because I don’t think I could have done a better job. He was able to bring intensity, drama, emotion, and vision to his reading, and left me completely entertained. I loved his voice as Wade. I give Wil 5 Stars for narration.
Book Review: I really liked the whole concept of Ready Player One, using 80s trivia incorporated into a puzzle-solving game to find Halliday’s egg (aka, trillions of dollars from his will). The 80s pop culture references were amazing and so well thought out and researched. Having been alive in the 80s, I could truly appreciate all the references. If you are not familiar with the 80s, perhaps this would not appeal to you as much.
I also liked the storyline following Wade, a 17 going on 18 year old boy, who is a poor, lonely, orphan living the majority of his life in this simulated world called the OASIS. But he’s not the only one. The entire world, apparently, has fallen apart, so people plug into the OASIS and live vicariously through their avatars. It’s actually quite a sad reality, and we watch how Wade has to come to terms with his reality of limited human contact, and is the OASIS really all it’s cracked up to be.
Plus, Wade and just about everyone else in the world, are searching for this treasure that Halliday, OASIS' creator, left. But this is a dangerous, even deadly, journey. Trust is tested. Friendships are tested. Humanity is tested. Wade, and his friends, must determine how they are going to win this treasure hunt and keep the treasure away from the people who would use it to make the world even worse, and determine if they can truly trust people they have actually never even met.
Despite what I felt like was a slow start, the story picked up and had me very entertained, and by the end I didn't want to stop listening. I liked the ending, appreciated how the social implications of living in a virtual world were addressed, and loved Wade’s character development and who he became by the end of the book (and his journey).
My only real issue with this book was Ernest Cline’s soapbox speech in Chapter One refuting the existence of God, how people who believe in God are weak-willed, and how there is “scientific proof” about the how the world began without God, etc., etc. Honestly, I believe in God but I do not live in a bubble where I think everyone else shares my beliefs. I also don’t have a problem with authors writing what they want. Hey, it’s your book, do what you want. My main issues were the “scientific proof” (sorry, his “proofs” are still only theories) and the fact that this whole diatribe did not play into the actual storyline. He could have simply said Halliday was an atheist, maybe a short blurb, and left it at that. Instead it felt he had an agenda to get this opinion out there, and that was a real turn off to me, to the point where I almost stopped listening, and my husband hasn’t listened to the book since he started it. I persevered past that chapter and came to really enjoy the storyline, but in the back of my mind I was wondering if this issue would ever be addressed again, giving it a reason for being in the book in the first place. Unfortunately, it never was, and that was disappointing to me because I never saw the purpose of this spiel, thus essentially lowering my rating of this book.