All of us have dreamed of living in another world, one in which we can shape our fates and how we live. Perhaps that is the attraction of dystopian novels: it allows the reader to escape, at least for a time, to another world where survival becomes harder with every breath you take. With the unveiling of Ready Player One, a future is created that has a definite quality to it. The book has since been unprecedented in its epic take of how low the human race can become.
Written by Ernest Cline, Ready Player One is the story of 18-year-old Wade Watts, a teen living in the crumbling dystopian society of the US, fifty years after the turn of the 21st century.
In the book, James Halliday,a brilliant video game designer, creates the perfect virtual utopia: the OASIS. To escape the dreary, monotonous existence of their everyday life, the OASIS provides every comfort. Inside of the OASIS, a player can create an avatar in any form they desire; they can become anyone they want to be.
Upon his death, Halliday left a video that details an extravagant “Easter egg” contest within the OASIS. Following an obscure trail of clues throughout the entire massive virtual world, players compete against one another to find the final “egg”. Once found, an automated system transfers Halliday’s massive fortune – containing billions upon billions of dollars – to the winner’s account, all of his extensive property made out in their name.
This scavenger hunt leads to the rise of millions of “gunters”, or egg hunters, who dedicates all of their free time to search for the egg. As time passes, only the truly resilient remain, and that is where our protagonist comes in.
Because James Halliday had maintained a passion for everything created in the 1980s, Watts studies everything from that time period. From videogames to bands to movies, he has become an expert in them all.
When Watts deciphers first clue and he enters the first “gate”, the news broke out across the world, however, other gunters and major corporations are willing to resort to anything to get ahead and find the egg first, including eliminating the competition…permanently.
This was a thrilling, fast-paced book that kept me guessing. It has so many aspects contained within its pages, from historical fantasy and sci-fi to romance, that it has garnered appreciation from people of all shapes and colors.
By writing from a first-person perspective, Cline is able to portray Watts’ reasoning, thoughts, and emotions on every step of his journey. The reader can follow his motivations and passions throughout the entire novel. It draws the reader into the book to the point that they can scarcely think of anything else.
Although the entire book is infused with 80’s pop-culture and video-game references, it contains all of the essential elements of a good read. With a developing romance running the length of the story, along with friendships, betrayals, adventure, and danger, there is such a variety of elements within it that appeals to almost everyone. For those who do not enjoy the nuances of video-games and the brilliancy of the 80’s era…well, this is not the book for you.
Throughout the entire novel, multiple video game and 80’s pop-culture references were made. This is partly due to the author’s deep fascination and appreciation for that time period.
He presents all of that information as if it were the coolest thing, however, that it almost makes the reader inclined to learn more about that era themselves. For those readers who are already intimately – or even vaguely – familiar with 80’s era culture, try not to faint from ecstasy.
To name just a few, included within the novel are references to Doctor Who, Back to the Future, Dungeons and Dragons, and Star Wars.
Though everyone knows this writer’s opinion on the subject, the book contained a fair amount of foul language. However, it did not overload the reader with word after dirty word for those readers who do not enjoy reading that sort of language. Many teens find it easier to relate to the characters in the book due to this, so for others, it helps them to connect with the protagonist more thoroughly.
The clever plot and intricate world that Cline fabricated demonstrates the brilliancy of his writing, proving to be a hit for years to come. With such wide appeal concealed within its pages, Ready Player One promises to draw the reader into its depths with an intensity that he will be certain to enjoy.