**MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD**
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline was an unexpected adventure. It was a recommendation from a friend whose taste I admire, so I got the book. The blurb sounded ok, but I’ll admit that it wasn’t something I was eager to dive into.
The first chapter wasn’t all that inspiring, only because it’s not a genre that I tend to choose, but it set up the rest of the book nicely and was intriguing enough to hook me. In retrospect, I’m really glad I stuck with it, because the characters evolve into truly rounded characters, the action is intense, the plot twists are exciting, and the end is satisfying (though, it breaks away from the dystopian and tragic endings trending right now in entertainment). At times, the pacing seems a little off, but not in a way that detracts from the story. It may just be personal preference.
Set in the not-too-far-future, the story follows the pursuits of main character Wade whose obsession with 1980s pop culture helps him solve a series of puzzles in the virtual world, The OASIS. He’s not just playing for fun; he’s playing against every other person in the world to be the first to find the game’s ultimate prize: the easter egg placed somewhere in the multiple worlds created by the designer of The Oasis, the late James Halliday. The stakes are upped by the fact that the lucky finder of the easter egg will receive riches and power beyond imagination. So, when Wade becomes the only person to solve the first puzzle in the series after literally years of world-wide failures, it naturally follows that others are out for blood, not just in The OASIS, but in the real world.
My favorite parts were those dedicated to the 1980s. Yes, it takes advantage of my nostalgic tendencies, referring to music, media, and games from my childhood (who doesn’t love a good game of D&D?), which makes it that much more engaging for someone my age. But, I think it allows for younger readers to relate since the time period has been placed within the more familiar framework of our current technological age.
If you haven’t read this book, you should. It offers something for everyone. You can get Ready Player One through Amazon, or you can listen to the amazing audio book, narrated by Wil Wheaton (which is a nice little touch, since Cline includes a cameo of Wheaton in the book!).
And if you’re just not that into reading, you won’t have to wait long for the movie version. Ready Player One is slated to come out in theaters March 30, 2018 and from the looks of their cast, it’s going to be stellar. (If you haven’t read the book and plan to before the movie comes out, stay away from the IMDB page; there’s a major character spoiler.)
The trailer packs a major punch and if you watch, you’ll notice lots of pop culture cameos. It looks good, but it’s got me nervous. The graphics are amazing and there’s a lot going on, but a film version of this particular book walks that fine line between just enough and way too much. There’s definitely the potential to include too many references for the sake of nostalgia and those who’ve read the book and are waiting anxiously for the movie may be able to relate. The guy over at MovieBob Reviews on YouTube best sums up my anxieties in his review of the Adam Sandler move Pixels, which had the same potential, but took it too far. You can watch it here: MovieBob Reviews: PIXELS (2015), but be warned: EXTREMELY OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE. If you’d like to watch a breakdown of the Ready Player One trailer that includes EVERY EASTER EGG in the trailer, this is definitely the video to watch, but be forewarned, there are MAJOR spoilers.
In the meantime, I’m waiting for March 30th with nervous excitement, in hopes that it can at least hold its own against its literary counterpart. Until then, you’ve got plenty of time to read this book. I know I’ll be revisiting it before then.
If you like this review, check out this literary character breakdown of Metroman from Pixar’s Megamind and don’t forget to subscribe below to get updates on new reviews!