First let me premise this by saying that when I say I have "read" something, that usually means that I have listened to it on audiobook. I have a much higher memory retention rate when listening to something as opposed to reading. (just wish I could have learned this back in high school) With that being said I do enjoy actually picking up a book and reading and I will make sure to acknowledge that when I do a review on something I have actually read. Thanks and enjoy...
If you grew up in the 1980's and resided anywhere on the nerd-geek spectrum, all it takes is the right Rush or Genesis song to bring you back to the video arcade. Or if you’re lucky enough, like myself, to be transported back into your living room, arguing with your sibling over who gets to be first player on Super Mario Bros. for Nintendo. This was before video games became visually stunning and able to be controlled just by waving your hand in the air.
It might not sound like much, but if you're the right age, the feeling of nostalgia can be almost overwhelming. Those arcade games, and those fond memories, are the subject of Ernest Cline's unapologetically nerdy debut novel, Ready Player One. The narrative takes place 30 years into the future.
Set in Oklahoma in 2044, Cline's novel follows Wade Watts, unpopular high-schooler who spends all his free time in the OASIS, a virtual-reality online game that's become something like Second Life on steroids. The country has fallen into near-total collapse, with the majority of Americans living in abject poverty and dodging violent criminals on every corner. "I never wanted to return to the real world," Wade says. "Because the real world sucked."
With no realistic prospects, many people around the globe have dedicated their lives to finding an "Easter egg" that the designer of the OASIS has embedded somewhere in the game's vast expanse. Whoever is first to solve a series of puzzles — all of which are based on geeky 1980's cultural icons like Dungeons & Dragons and the movie War Games — will inherit the designer's enormous estate. When Wade unlocks the first puzzle, he's forced to move quickly, desperate to be the first to find the Easter egg, all the while dodging a team of murderous corporate villains.
There's no doubt that Cline had a very specific audience in mind, but don't let the 1980's-intensive subject matter put you off. Ready Player One is ridiculously fun and large-hearted, and you don't have to remember the Reagan administration to love it. (Though depending on your age, you might want to keep Wikipedia open so you can decipher the references to Oingo Boingo, Real Genius and Max Headroom.)
Cline takes a far-out premise and engages the reader instantly. I never thought I could be on the edge of my seat while reading about a session of the arcade game Joust, but the author's energetic, deeply felt narrative makes it almost impossible to stop turning the pages. Cline is that rare writer who can translate his own dorky enthusiasms into prose that's both hilarious and compassionate. It's more fun than a day at the arcade — you'll wish you could make it go on and on just by inserting more quarters.
I give this a 5 out of 5 - An instant classic
Have you read Ready Player One? Do you love it or hate it? Do you plan on seeing the movie adaptation when it comes out in March 2018? Let me know, I'd love to hear your thoughts.