Originally posted 2015-09-23 12:30:42.
Title: Ready Player One
Author: Ernest Cline
Published: August 16, 2011
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Dystopia
Kid Friendly Rating: 14+ for some trash talk language that includes the F-word; video game violence. Click here for the Common Sense Media Rating.
Synopsis: The year is 2044 and pretty much everyone lives in a virtual utopia called OASIS. The real world still exists but it is a dark, dirty, and ugly place. When Wade Watts, also known as Parzival in the OASIS, happens to put together the clues to the mysterious part one of the three part quest started by OASIS’s creator James Halliday, he becomes an instant star and sets off a chain reaction of others trying to find the prize as well. As he battles through more puzzles and clues, Wade makes some interesting friends, and enemies!
Most people who identify themselves as a geek or geeky have probably read this book due to the constant admiration of others. There are so many pop culture/80’s/gamers references in this book that at times it will make your head spin. But I loved being able to call out a reference and actually know what I was talking about!
This is the first novel I have read by Ernest Cline and I will say that it has made me want to read more of his work. In fact, I just finished Armada and I will agree that it was good, just not Ready Player One quality.
But I digress, from the first page I was pulled in. I actually loved all the characters and felt that they were just like some of the people I have met from my online gaming experience (World of Warcraft). I could relate that they were looking for a common goal, and worked together (some of the time) to achieve it. In many types of gaming, this is noticeable issue. Everyone is out for their own personal gain, getting better loot! There are many games, like World of Warcraft, that try to make you get with groups in order to obtain the better loot goal, but there are plenty of individuals that make grouping up difficult with poor attitudes and rude behaviors. I would hope that gamers reading this book would see that working together and being polite goes a lot farther than any other option. This is something that I think is important for kids to learn too. With my own I even notice they do not work together as much as I would like and when they do work together, there is usually yelling and sniping.
Another big theme expressed in the novel is the idea of freedom and keeping the “little guy” out of the clutches of the big corporation. You can really feel the plight of the characters as they are scared that the entire world will change and not for the better. They work for a noble cause and it is plain to see that they are the good guys in the situation. I felt this had a different range than a book like Ender’s Game where the adults were taking and controlling the children in their own manipulated way. This world wanted everyone to be on the same playing field in terms of age, but there was the gap of economics that was the big hitter; sort of a Robin Hood tale where the little man comes out on top at the expense of the king.
Make sure you read this book now as a movie has just been announced and is due to be released December 2017 with Steven Spielberg directing!
Final Thoughts: There are plenty of people who disagree with the abundance of all the references and found it to be too daunting on the story. This is a personal preference for sure, but even if you think you might not like to hear all about video games and 80’s culture, I would still give Ready Player One a try! It is a deeply rich novel which shows that teamwork is more important than personal gain. I give it 4/5 stars.
Have you read this book? Give us your thoughts!