Another In My Opinion review coming at you! This post I’ll be talking about a fantastic novel that I can’t wait to see turned into a movie. Ernest Cline is a true 80s lover, and he did an excellent job of bringing back the unique culture of the 80s in the best possible way in Ready Player One.
The year is 2044 and the world is a crappy place. Our atmosphere is practically gone, our resources are just about used up, more than half of the global population is starving, and only a few metropolitan areas still have reliable electricity. Oh, and virtual reality was created in a such a monumental way that it’s become a cornerstone of everyday life for most people. THE OASIS, the virtual reality world is called, and it serves as an escape from the hellish world people actually live in to a computerized fantasy. The creator of this spectacular VR, Halliday, dies unfortunately, and has no heirs or friends to give away his vast wealth of several billion dollars to. So instead, he devises a game. Halliday planted an easter egg in The Oasis, a little hidden code that only he knew about. When he died, he has in his will that whoever finds this easter egg will be granted all of his wealth and inherit The Oasis itself. However, Halliday grew up in the 80s and sort of never left. So every clue or hint about the easter egg is mired deeply in 80s pop culture, and anyone who wants to find the egg has to start doing research on the 80s. All of it. And that, is how Ready Player One begins.
PLOT: So that’s how the story starts, but isn’t all of it. The main character is a boy, Wade Watts, in his late teens who is a Gunter, or Egg hunter, and a Halliday scholar. Wade has been studying 80s culture ever since Halliday died, and he knows his stuff. But so do thousands of other people who spend their free time watching 80s TV shows and movies to help give them clues to where the egg is hidden. The story is a race to the finish as a select few elite Gunters start to get closer and closer to Halliday’s egg. There’s betrayal, there’s alliances, and there’s a lot of surprises.
CHARACTERS: Ernest did a grand job of capturing authentic human emotion in his characters. Only rarely did they seem to not be genuine in their motives or actions. Through most of the story I felt I was reading about very real people with very real problems and issues. The conversations and banter between friends is priceless, and Ernest does a pretty good job of showing just how awkward and passionate young romance is.
IMAGERY: Spot on. From the dark descriptions of what our country looks like in a few short decades, to the infinite expanses of different worlds and sectors within The Oasis. Ernest does a great job of not weighing down descriptions with too much detail. He can sum up what the reader should be seeing with a clever metaphor, and he does it often and well. Two thumbs up.
VERDICT: READ THIS BOOK. In my opinion it is hilarious, it’s full of action, and it’s characters are real. The story is fantastic. Even if you don’t get all the subtle 80s references to Lady Hawk, Rush, or Pac-Man, you’ll still enjoy the heck out of this book. And you should read it sooner than later before it’s made into a movie and everything about it changes. Read it! In fact, you should actually listen to it. I listened to the audio version and it was narrated by Wil Wheaton. How cool is that? Read it, listen to it, whatever. But find a way to get this story into your life.