Title: Ready Player One
Author: Ernest Cline
Release date: April 5th, 2012
Rating: 2.5/5 stars
I have had this book on my shelf since the summer of ‘13 and started it no less than a whopping 4 times! Every single time I could not get myself to read past the first 50 pages. However, last week I had a lecture on Virtual Reality and it all sounded so cool! Guess what I realised when I thought about it some more? That’s right, I remembered that I had a book all about VR on my bookshelf! I didn’t even have to go to the store to get it, if that isn’t fate I honestly don’t know what is. So I picked it up and I’m not gonna lie, it wasn’t as good as I was expecting it to be… Read on if you want to know my detailed thoughts.
This is a dystopian story set in 2044, the world has basically gone to shit. People are living in stacked trailer homes, pretty much no one has money and food is running out. Everyone wants to escape their lives and they do that through the OASIS. The OASIS is a virtual reality game where anything is possible, the universe in this game is made up of thousands of different planets. Some only contain schools, some are exact re-creations of fictional worlds.
This world was created and owned by a man named James Halliday. However, five years before the story takes off, James Halliday passed away. And he went out with a bang. He set up a contest to find the easter egg he had hidden in the code of the game. The first person to find the Easter egg would win full control over the OASIS and the immense fortune of Halliday. Five years later no one has been able to figure out the first clue. Until now. This book follows the quest of our main character Wade Watts on his way to find Halliday’s Easter egg.
The characters were one of the main reasons I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I was expecting to. All of them felt very 2 dimensional, I didn’t think there was really any depth to them and I found it incredibly hard to relate to them or care for their journey. The main character Wade Watts kind of annoyed me at times. It didn’t seem like he had any deeper motivation than wanting to win money. His arc was very basic and I knew exactly what he was going to do next and where his character would end up at the end of the book.
Then we have Art3mis, the only (to an extend(you’ll know if you’ve read the book)) female character in the top of the gaming charts. Which is a problem in itself, I mean really? It’s 2044 and there is only one female gamer…? But that’s not even the most annoying part. The thing that really grinded my gears is the fact that the sole purpose of THE ONLY MAIN GIRL we meet in the first ¾ of the book is BEING A LOVE INTEREST!
The only character I quite liked was James Halliday and he’s dead all throughout the book…
The one thing I liked most about this book (and what made me want to finish it) is the thing that made me pick it up in the first place, the premise. It’s just so incredibly cool! An easter egg hunt in an actual virtual reality universe consisting of thousands of worlds. How amazing would that be? I mean, without the living-in-stacked-trailer-homes-and-food-running-out-thing but that’s a minor detail 😉
I created the OASIS because I never felt at home in the real world. I didn’t know how to connect with people there. I was afraid, for all of my life. Right up until I knew it was ending. That was when I realized, as terrifying and painful as reality can be, it’s also the only place where you can find true happiness. Because reality is real. Do you understand?”
As I already explained earlier in this review I really didn’t like the characters. But I feel like I already talked about that enough so I’ll get on with my next point. Pacing. The pacing in this book, I found, was really poorly done. I feel like the fact that I couldn’t get past the 50 page mark 4 times in a row already shows how not-gripping the first part of this book is. It was only when I got to around page 70, that it started to pick up. And then it got boring again. Then it picked up again. Aaaand then it got boring again. Really the entire arc was very up and down for me. It got so bad that when I got to the climax I genuinely didn’t care who won and who lost.
Next, I want to touch on the general writing style and dialogue. The writing was very simple, it might be because this is Cline’s first novel but I didn’t think his writing style was very distinct or extraordinary. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it is when you combine it with dialogue that actually made me roll my eyes more than once (probably even more than 10 times). I actually had to force myself to pick this book up. And that is a shame because the premise of this story is so freaking awesome and I feel like Cline could’ve done so much more with it!
Overall, I wouldn’t say don’t read it. But I would say, go into this book with normal to low expectations. I got into watching booktube around 2012, and at the time this was on everyone’s favourite books of the year list. So I was expecting this book to be an incredible masterpiece, and it just wasn’t. Besides I’m not that into ‘80s pop-culture or games so all the references went way over my head. But if you do have an interest in the ‘80s or video games then this might be more up your alley.
Lots of Love,
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