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BOOK REVIEW: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

AUTHOR: Ernest Clinereadyplayeroneborder
PUBLISHED: June 5th 2012
PUBLISHER: Broadway Books
372 pages

Rating: 4.5 our of 5

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place. Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune — and remarkable power — to whoever can unlock them. For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved — that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig. And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle. Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt — among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life — and love — in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape. A world at stake. A quest for the ultimate prize. Are you ready?

[Goodreads] [The Book Depository]


I cannot believe this had been sitting on my TBR shelf for so long! If you like sci-fi, you will probably enjoy Ready Player One. And if you’re into gaming and 80’s popular culture references then you’ll probably love it! And how could it get even better you ask? Add a dystopian element! I haven’t read much sci-fi but dystopias are probably among my favorite sub-genres and I did enjoy all the references although I did not grow up in that time. Having said that, I can see why some people found the pop culture references a bit tiring as some might not immediately be relevant to the progress of the story but personally, they didn’t bother me. I’m usually not one for long descriptions, they tire me and I get bored easily. I prefer dialogue. But Cline did such a great job that I didn’t even mind reading very densely detailed paragraphs about 80’s films and video games. I can only imagine how exciting this book would be to someone who actually grew up in the 80’.

Furthermore, the world is extremely well fleshed out, as are the characters. Whenever I picked the book up I was immediately immersed into the story. This to the extent that one morning for a few seconds before my brain completely woke up, I actually thought I was in the story. My first thought was literally “I should get up and get a head start before the others.”

The main character, Wade Watts is very likeable and relatable. I also liked his friends although to be completely honest I liked Aech a little more than I did Art3mis. I found Art3mis a bit annoying a few times.

In a way Ready Player One was not what I expected. I thought it would be a light and fun read but it did have a darkness underlying it. It made me think of what humans are capable of doing when we want something bad enough. And I mean it in both a good and bad way. It is inspiring to see people fight for something against all odds but it is also terrifying to see the other side, people crossing the line in order to get what they want.


♥   Well fleshed out world and characters
♥   Likeable and relatable main character
♥   Lots of 80’s pop culture references (depending on the person this could also be a negative point)
♥   Fun and interesting read
♥   Dystopian element

×   I’m honestly having a hard time thinking of something I didn’t like

 Do I recommend it?


Have you read Ready Player One? What are your thoughts?

One thought on “BOOK REVIEW: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

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