I’ve never considered myself ‘geeky’. The only video games I’ve ever played are Pokemon (I was a real poke-fan as a kid), Mario, various DS games (most about horses), and Sims. Again, I’m not really geeky in that sense.
But oh my goody gumdrops, did I feel geeky reading Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Packed with ’80s pop culture references and based around an online immersive video game, this book is something I never expected to love.
It’s the year 2044, and the real world has become an ugly place. We’re out of oil. We’ve wrecked the climate. Famine, poverty, and disease are widespread.
Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes this depressing reality by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia where you can be anything you want to be, where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. And like most of humanity, Wade is obsessed by the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this alternate reality: OASIS founder James Halliday, who dies with no heir, has promised that control of the OASIS – and his massive fortune – will go to the person who can solve the riddles he has left scattered throughout his creation.
For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that the riddles are based in the culture of the late twentieth century. And then Wade stumbles onto the key to the first puzzle.
Suddenly, he finds himself pitted against thousands of competitors in a desperate race to claim the ultimate prize, a chase that soon takes on terrifying real-world dimensions – and that will leave both Wade and his world profoundly changed.
I actually first heard of this book via Youtube from a vlogger called Kristina Horner, whose videos I’ve watched for years. I decided to give this book a go even though I thought it wasn’t a book I’d particularly like, but oh man was I wrong. The world Cline creates just has these very imaginative pieces, my favourite being the concept he calls ‘The Stacks’ which is the future shanty town of caravans stacked up on top of one another. His writing style draws you into the story and the characters are just fantastic.
Wade, the protagonist, is a character I didn’t really want to like at times, but still rooted for all the way. You see him change so much through just a few pages, from a shy boy into something much more. His relationship with video games is something that I think will relate to people wordwide – even me, Miss Sims, found some of his mentality familiar. Except instead of throwing myself into a video game to hide from the world, I normally turn to books. #
I’ve been recommending this book to all my friends and family I’ve seen since I finished reading it – and, yes, I did finish it within 24 hours. Once you read through the first few chapters that set up the scene and you finally reach the action, things seem to take off at full speed.
Another thing that I loved about this book was that I couldn’t predict what was going to happen. Of course, you always think ‘oh, it’s going to work out in the end, surely’ but with this book you had no clue. Every moment you thought all was well, BAM, it changes. There are different plot twists thrown in, a few explosions here and there, and so many fantastic references that you can’t help but grin at when you understand them.
A book that you’d assume is just about a game, but so much more. It’s about our relationship with technology, and our dependency on it, as well as friendship and love – and where they fit in. Discussion of an online platform, worries about catfishing and other internet issues. It’s nostalgic, it’s geeky, it’s fun, and it’s exciting. If you want a guaranteed good read, then pick up Ready Player One.