Book Review: ‘Ready Player One’ by Ernest Cline

Book Title: Ready Player One

Author: Ernest Cline

Genre: Science Fiction / Speculative Fiction

Summary: In 2044 the world is a grim place – overpopulated and under financed, there is little hope for the future of the people living in it. Respite from this world comes through OASIS, a virtual utopia that usurps reality. Here you can attend school, go to work, and be entertained – and this is exactly what Wade does. Like many, he is searching for a way out of his grim and depressing reality, a way that is attainable but virtually impossible; OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden puzzles within OASIS, but that was years ago and no one has found any clues or signs that the prize will ever be won. The prize? Halliday’s fortune and ultimate control over OASIS. When Wade stumbles across and solves the first puzzle, the race to the final prize becomes more than just a game.

Favourite Scene: Too many. I especially loved the nature of the second puzzle! (Go on, read the book.)

Favourite Character: Ogden Morrow – he plays a minor role but he seems like a pretty cool guy.

Review: Love. Love. LOVE. This book was recommended by the ever wonderful Katy and the promise of ’80s pop-culture and gaming references was too good to refuse. And I am so glad I got my hands – and mind – on this book. In typical Stef-style, I churned through the book in a single sitting, absolutely absorbed by the characters, setting, and plot. The narrator’s voice was unique and easy to follow, so much so that it was easy to imagine this was a conversation being had over coffee.

The world constructed in Ready Player One was eerily believable. As is the case with most good dystopian novels set in “the not-too-distant-future”, Cline utilised the harsh realities of the early 21st Century to create a frighteningly plausible future. The book was published in 2011 and this makes the dates and characters especially relevent right now – the setting is 32 years away and the generations depicted in the novel are uncomfortably familiar. Referring to his aunt, Wade laments:

“Her generation had it the hardest. She’d been born into a world of plenty, then had to watch it all slowly vanish. More than anything, I remember feeling sorry for her.”

The characters were it. I could easily imagine some of my gaming friends sitting in and contributing to the conversations that took place in the book, and the ’80s pop-culture references and gaming scene were nerd-tastic.

I’m keeping a vague list of books I’ve reviewed this year that have been added to the “If you read ONE book this year” pile (let’s face it, I’ve said it a few times) and Ready Player One is definitely up there.

Read it. If you’re ready. 😉


6 comments on “Book Review: ‘Ready Player One’ by Ernest Cline

  1. YAY! This is my book of the year. I love, love, loved it. So original, and such rollicking fun! I think part of its appeal is that it has so many different 80s (and beyond) references that every reader will likely find something to appreciate. My mum read it, and never having played a video game in her life still rated it in her top 5 books ever (yeah, my mum’s pretty cool).

    Thanks for the mention, Stef, and so glad you enjoyed it as much as I did! I can’t recommend this book highly enough.

    • I was having a conversation with a friend recently and we both agreed we weren’t fans of the ending, but this is the kind of book that is such an amazing ride that ANY ending would feel anti-climatic for the simple reason that the ride has come to an end!

    • I’m not a massive gamer myself – I know enough to appreciate a lot of the references but my gamer friends are recognising even more. If you have an appreciation of the ’80s then you’ll still get a lot of references to movies, television, music, etc as it’s aaaaall in there!
      If you do decide to read it, let me know what you think! 🙂

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