Review – Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

I’ve just finished reading Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. This book was #7 on my Book Riot Read Harder Challenge list: read a dystopian or post-apocalyptic novel.

It was I N C R E D I B L E.

I had a nerdgasm.

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You know a book is going to be good when it name checks everything that was good about your childhood. As a fully paid up member of the fantasy book geek club you know you’ve connected with the author when they mention Pratchett, Gaiman and Zelazney in the same sentence. At this point (about 25% in) I would have been prepared to cut Ernest Cline a fair bit of slack when it came to the storytelling. However, the book was as magical, exciting, clever, nostalgic and utterly thrilling as I could ever have hoped for.

I read the book as part of the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge (#7 read a dystopian or post apocalyptic novel). Set in 2044, Cline details a future where poverty, war and famine have lead the general populace to despair. To deal with the horrors of everyday life, most people plug in to the ‘OASIS’, a computer generated virtual reality world where they can live out their virtual lives through their self generated avatars. The main character Wade (avatar name Parzival) joins a quest invented by the author and owner of the OASIS – a geeky recluse called James Halliday with a passion for all things 80’s – to win control of the entire world. The genius mind of James Halliday is explored as Parzival battles against an evil corporation planning to win the competition so they can use the OASIS for corporate gain.

The book name checks a wealth of early computer games, fantasy and sci fi films and books, 80’s films and music, role playing games and all round general geeky general knowledge to build a futuristic world which is uncannily retro and familiar. There’s a host of in jokes as well as fiendish riddles to solve. However, central to the story are the relationships between the players and their loyalty to each other, despite only knowing each other virtually.

If I had one criticism of the book I would say that the story is a little simplistic – I was waiting for a plot twist that never came. Apart from that, the book is a must read for anyone who has fond memories of the 80’s or any of the technological advances made during the decade.

I loved it.

Overall rating: 9.5/10.

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