Virtual reality is my new favorite genre, and it’s all because of this book. (Tweet this)
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:
- You 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*)
Have you or will you read it?
What’s your favorite virtual reality book?