Name: Ready Player One
Author: Ernest Cline
Publisher: Random House NY
Release Date: August 16th, 2011
Although the myriad of 1980s pop culture references were lost on me, this book still had me within its grasp after the first few pages. In Ernest Cline’s futuristic dystopia, the entirety of the population spends its time plugged in to OASIS, a highly complex virtual world, rather than facing the horrors that real life has to offer. Students attend schools, parents shop, entrepreneurs sell products, and families buy real estate, all using real money in a virtual world. Wealth is shown by how much one owns on OASIS.
Wade Watts, our unlikely hero, unlocks the first puzzle piece five years after Halliday’s death using a broken laptop he found and fixed, from an abandoned car near the trailer park where he lives with his begrudging aunt and her boyfriend. If Wade wants to win the ultimate prize, however, he not only has to use his own, albeit large, brain to solve the impossible puzzles, but also has to hide from those willing to kill him to win the fortune and beat his two equally brilliant friends: Aech, his virtual best friend whose name is pronounced like the letter “H”, and Ar3mis, the girl he cannot seem to stay away from.
I was absolutely riveted by this book – even though the plethora of 1908s fantasy, science fiction, media, and video game references went way over my head – and the world that Ernest Cline created. I found myself constantly yelling at the nerdy and somehow innocently charming Wade for spending so much time chasing Art3mis instead of properly searching for the egg, and covering my eyes when he went ahead and pulled some brave yet stupid stunt that almost cost him his life. I was pleasantly surprised at what Wade found out about his friends when he finally met them in the real world. Though Wade seemed to be incapable of keeping secrets from his friends, it was clear that his friends were not of the same nature.
Overall, I enjoyed this book very much! The 1980s references may have been a bit too much for me, but the world that Ernest Clinecreated was brilliant. I could not put the book down as Wade used his seemingly unlimited knowledge to try to solve the riddles that hid the three keys, unlock their matching gates, and race to Halliday’s Easter egg. I was absolutely hooked on Ready Player One and would recommend it in a heartbeat to anyone interested in the 1980s and/or dystopian novels.