I heard about this book from an issue of Entertainment Weekly and I automatically said “I have to read this!”
Earth is a dystopia in 2044. Much of the population is poor, unemployed and just down on their luck. The only refuge they have from their reality is the virtual world of the OASIS where people use their avatars to attend school, work or hang out. It’s like an RPG but instead of the obvious computer graphics we know, the OASIS is seemingly realistic.
James Halliday, the creator of the OASIS has died, but instead of leaving his mass fortune and the company to a beneficiary, he created a game within the OASIS with the winner inheriting his fortune.
Wade Watts is one of the many that go in search of the three keys that will unlock 3 corresponding gates. It’s much like a quest- solving riddles, battling enemies and searching for treasure. But there’s a catch to this quest- Halliday had a strong affinity for the 1980s and his challenge has much to do with it- movies, games and music.
After five years of searching, no one has even found the first key and many people have given up. Until one day, Wade (AKA Perzival) solves the first riddle and makes his way to the first key. What happens next is an adventure into a vast virtual world, a surge of 80s pop culture references.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! Even though I was born in 1983 and some of the references went over my head, but for the most part I understood it. I couldn’t get enough of the John Hughes’ references and the mentioning of Commodore 64 and Amiga games I used to play as a child. I went giddy when Perzival had to make his way through movies as part of a challenge, reciting lines like it was the alphabet because he had watched them numerous times. All the movies I can recite by heart are from the 80s.
Ernest Cline had written such a fun read that brought out the young geek in me, but I would only recommend it to those that share a likeness to the 80s culture or who have spent countless hours playing video games (I would definitely liken it to World of Warcraft). A lot of the jargon may be lost on anyone else, or simply they’ll just lose interest. I can easily see this being adapted for the big screen though. So if you’re not much for reading geek jargon, then wait a few years and I’m sure it’ll be playing at a theater near you.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Rating: 5/5 stars