RELEASE DATE: April 05th, 2012
AUTHOR: Ernest Cline
GENRE: Young-Adult, Sci-fi, Adventure, fantasy.
PUBLISHER: Arrow Books
It’s the year 2044, and the real world has become an ugly place. We’re out of oil. We’ve wrecked the climate. Famine, poverty, and disease are widespread.
Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes this depressing reality by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia where you can be anything you want to be, where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. And like most of humanity, Wade is obsessed by the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this alternate reality: OASIS founder James Halliday, who dies with no heir, has promised that control of the OASIS – and his massive fortune – will go to the person who can solve the riddles he has left scattered throughout his creation.
For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that the riddles are based in the culture of the late twentieth century. And then Wade stumbles onto the key to the first puzzle. Suddenly, he finds himself pitted against thousands of competitors in a desperate race to claim the ultimate prize, a chase that soon takes on terrifying real-world dimensions – and that will leave both Wade and his world profoundly changed.
This book has been sitting on my shelf for a very long time but the huge hype surrounding the movie piqued my interest so I finally gave it a shot and I really liked it. This is such a nostalgic read for all the classic video game lovers. It has a heavy dose of 80’s pop culture references and I really wasn’t familiar with all of them because I’m a 90’s kid but I still enjoyed it. I grew up playing classic video games like galaga, pac-man etc., and this book brought back some memories. The idea of virtual universe is always a fascinating aspect in sci-fi books and the author did an amazing job of portraying it in Ready Player One. It was the major highlight of this whole book. The characters were good but I liked Artemis and Aech more than Wade Watts, our main protagonist.
The story is set in a dystopian future 2044 where earth has become an ugly place to live. Climate has changed to a dangerous degree, there is food and fuel crisis, disease, famine and poverty spread everywhere. Like everyone else, to escape this ugly reality, Wade Watts spends his waking hours in Oasis, a virtual reality world created by James Halliday. In this world besides playing games, you can transform your looks and live as you want, and wherever you want in any of the planets. Before James Halliday’s death he hid a lottery ticket i.e. an easter egg somewhere in this alternate reality and the person who can find this egg after solving all his puzzles will gain his entire fortune. For five years, millions have tried to find this prize but everyone failed. Wade has spent years to learn everything about James Halliday and the 80’s pop culture. When he solves the first puzzle and gains his first key, everything becomes chaos. Hence the ultimate chase for the prize begins where he is hunted by dangerous people who want the prize for themselves. With such heavy competition, Wade needs to be anonymous and find the remaining two keys that will lead him to the ultimate prize.
Wade aka Parzival is a good character but honestly, he isn’t really my favorite protagonist. I don’t hate him but I don’t love him either. He’s a smart guy but sometimes his actions really annoyed me. Artemis and Aech are pretty good characters and it’s too bad that this book didn’t have their own POV’s. I loved both of them. It’s one of those cases where you liked secondary characters more than the protagonist. I loved Artemis’s spunky cool attitude and Aech’s fun personality. Both of their real identities is a mystery till the end. The little romance between Parzival and Artemis is kinda cute and it’s the perfect amount without distracting us from the story. I also enjoyed the friendship between Aech and Parzival. It’s one of the aspects I loved. The two Japanese kids Sho and Daito are nice additions to the plot although they didn’t played much part in it. The villain in this book isn’t that impressive but he isn’t bad either. I was really expecting a strong intimidating villain.
The plot was great and very unique. I expected it to be fully action packed but it’s really not. The whole book is all about solving puzzles by playing video games while escaping the enemies on your tail. The only real action you’ll get is at the end of the book, the ultimate battle which is my favorite part in this entire book. Also this book has a lot of 80’s pop culture references and people who aren’t familiar with them will definitely have a hard time connecting to them cause you don’t know what he’s talking about. You can say it’s one of the minor issues I had with this book. To be honest, I did liked them but I wish it didn’t have too much of them. The other issues I had was that the pacing felt uneven to me sometimes it was fast and sometimes it was very slow, and there are some info dumps which felt unnecessary to me. The plot twists were really good. when Aech’s real identity was revealed, I was totally surprised. The writing was okay-ish. The story was told in Wade’s POV but I wish it was told in multiple POV’s. The world building was fantastic. As I already said It’s the best part of this whole book. Oasis is a virtual paradise for all the geeks and the nerds.
Overall, it was a solid four star read for me. Despite issues, I really enjoyed this book. I wish I could give it a five star but I can’t ignore the issues. Nonetheless, It was a good read and I would love to check out Ernest’s other book Armada.
I highly recommend this book to all the YA sci-fi book lovers!
MY RATING:[4/5 Stars]