Imagine the WORLD AT STAKE.
An EPIC STRUGGLE between good and evil.
The GREATEST QUEST in history.
The FATE OF HUMANITY resting in your hands.
ARE YOU READY?
Ready Player One REALLY wasn’t what I expected. I was under the impression it’s a scifi adventure kind of story, but to me it felt more like a bleak dystopia for 3/4 of the book. I loved all of the 80s references (even though I probably only got about 3% of them), and the premise is awesome, but it took some time before the book grew on me. One of my main problems was the long, LONG passages of nothing but exposition. The world did need some explaining, but I felt like 50% of the book were expository text. In the book, what we as the readers read is actually supposed to be written by Wade, the protagonist, so I didn’t understand why he felt the need to explain things that are completely common in his time and age, like how the OASIS (a mix of the internet and a massive multiplayer online game) works. I mean obviously we need the information, but the way it was delivered didn’t necessarily make sense to me.
There are basically two “worlds”: the OASIS and the offline world. We don’t find out much about the outside world, and you could say that is because Wade doesn’t really care about it, but it felt a little like the author just needed some sort of dystopian setting to explain why everyone is spending so much time in the OASIS and didn’t really care about the details. This got a little better later on, when Wade actually spends time offline, but I have to admit that I didn’t quite buy the “we have an energy crisis, and there’s been an economic depression for the last thirty years, so everything sucks” premise. (I hope this doesn’t happen in the future, because then this is going to come back and bite me in the ass. Also, I don’t want there to be a 30-year depression, of course. But mostly the first one.) The OASIS, on the other hand, is well-developed and interesting. Of course it makes total sense to focus on it since Wade doesn’t do anything BUT spend time in the OASIS, but I still would have liked some more world development for the rest.
Wade was a bit of a puzzle for me – sometimes I liked him and sometimes he got on my nerves. I can’t say that I really enjoyed spending time in his head. I liked Wade’s friends, but it did bother me that he only met them online all the time, because (as one of them points out), we only get to see what they want us to see. I do like how this concept is used throughout the book and that they’re all so different. Their relationships aren’t without problems, but they have to band together to win the contest and it’s really entertaining to read.
One thing I enjoyed was that the book talks about the problems of the internet – or the OASIS in this case – without damning it entirely. I don’t love it when books are too judgemental, but I think Ready Player One did a fair job of showing both the good AND the bad. The OASIS is a very cool place, but it still can’t give Wade everything he needs.
Well, I’d say for a first try this is one hell of a book. It has its flaws – the long, tedious pages of nothing but exposition being the most prominent – but in the end I have to say it’s a pretty great read. It drags a little in some parts and it was more bleak dystopia than the fun scifi quest I was expecting at first, but the ending is totally epic. Four cupcakes!