Dystopian Review: Ready Player One

Dystopian 1


Virtual reality is my new favorite genre, and it’s all because of this book. (Tweet this)

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Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline is one of those classic examples of an awesome book that requires a disclaimer before I recommend it to someone. This is usually what my recommendation sounds like:

“Oh my gosh, it’s incredible.” *fangirling* *gushing* “But…well, there’s a lot of swearing. And a lot of inappropriate humor. Oh yeah, and the first seven chapters are a bit like reading a textbook. BUT…if you push past that, and read my black-markered version…I think you’ll really like it!” #facepalm

You read that right. I black-marker some of my books. (Throw tomatoes all you want. They’re mine. I paid for them…and I like my markers.) These are the books with stories that will stick in my mind as masterpieces. Sadly, there are also other things that will stick in my head like nasty ABC gum. Blacking them out with a marker helps me skip over them and then allows me to lend out my copy.

But enough about me. Here’s the book blurb:

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.

And here are my two-cents about the book:

Main Pros in Ready Player One:

  • Originality: Willy Wonka meets Matrix. That’s how USA Today put it, and I couldn’t sum it up better myself. This book is stepping into an alternate universe set in a dystopian society and centered around a giant treasure hunt. The concept is awesome.
  • Plot: SURPRISE! This plot is not predictable (either that, or I am just slow.) It’s the type that has such awesome “shocks” that I found myself spewing spoilers to hubby because they were just too good to keep to myself. (Then I ended up reading the book out loud to hubby during a road trip and I felt awful that I’d given everything away already.)
  • The overall message. This is a world of virtual reality, where people spend so much time logged into the virtual OASIS that they starve to death in real life. By the end, the overall message is…unplug. In a culture where the Wii and smartphones and tablets are becoming every kid’s new best friend, it’s a book that appeals to their interests, but ends with a good reminder that real life is where the true quality is out.

Main Cons in Ready Player One:

  • ready-player-oneYou have to push through the beginning. A lot. I guarantee it gets better, but the first few chapters are S-L-O-W. It’s clear the author has a few soapboxes to dust off, some backstory to drown you in, and doesn’t grasp the concept of “hook the reader” quite as well as we’d like him to.
  • If you don’t like the 80s…you’re about to know way too much about them. I didn’t grow up in the 80s enough to fall in love with its quirks, but I think the author did. The entire book is written around 80s trivia and paraphernalia.
  • Some inappropriate messages. If you read my blackened-out version, this won’t be a problem. But there’s certainly some messages about “sexual health” that I don’t agree with. Also the author seems to have a certain snubby attitude about God. It doesn’t take over the message of the book, but those messages are there. There’s also quite a bit of language and crude humor.

You can read my full review of the book on Goodreads.

This stand-alone novel is certainly worth a read — I think it is the beginning of a new genre trend. It’s also set to become a movie, directed by Stephen Spielberg. (*fangirl squeal*)

Find Ready Player One on Amazon

Find the book on Goodreads

With reservations. Ages 16+

5 stars with reservations. Ages 16+

 

Have you or will you read it? 

What’s your favorite virtual reality book?

 

 

 



About Nadine Brandes

Nadine Brandes is an adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold imagination. She never received her Hogwarts letter, but rest assured she’s no Muggle (and would have been in Ravenclaw House, thank you very much.) This Harry Potter super-nerd has been known to eat an entire package of Oreos (family size) by herself, and watches Fiddler on the Roof at least once a year. She writes about brave living, finding purpose, and other worlds soaked in imagination. Her dystopian trilogy (The Out of Time Series) challenged her to pursue shalom, which is now her favorite word (followed closely by bumbershoot.) When Nadine’s not taste-testing a new chai or editing fantasy novels, she and her knight-in-shining armor (nickname: “hubby”) are out pursuing adventures.
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5 Comments

  1. *raises hand* I’ve taken a black-marker to my books before. Same reason. If I know I’m going to re-read it or loan it out, I’d rather have a cleaned up version. I’ve even ripped a few pages out of a book before. *ducks flying tomatoes and rotten turnips*

  2. I wasn’t going to comment on this, because, well, I don’t usually comment on book reviews.

    But Nadine’s revelation about blacking out passages in books and Tricia’s response prompted me to write. I actually laughed out loud at Tricia’s thoughts on “ripping pages out”. Usually, I close the book and never open it again!

    I probably won’t read Ready Player One for the reasons Nadine cites…. I just have too many other books on my to be read list that don’t require personal editing.

    However, I appreciate the openness of you gals in saying you do black-marker some of the books you intend to read again.

    • Glad you don’t mind us defacing our books! It really is quite nice when I find the story amazing. Like watching the “family version” of a PG-13 or R movie.

  3. Pingback: Dystopian Review: Matched, by Ally Condie - Nadine Brandes

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