In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape. (Synopsis taken from Goodreads)
This has been on my TBR list for a while (a year or more?), and it took forever for the library to get through the 200+ holds in front of me, so when I actually got it I let out a squeal that made everyone in my house jump. And yet, I didn’t read it. I let it sit. Why? Because I was nervous I would be let down.
Wade Watts (so named because his dad thought it sounded like a name of a superhero) spends his entire life in the OASIS. Why? Because the real life, to put it frankly, sucks. The OASIS is his only escape, and even then, he has to hide out when he uses it, because if his aunt sees it she’ll sell it for food vouchers that Wade won’t get any of.
But in the OASIS, no one knows he’s an overweight, eighteen year old kid with acne and a horrible life. He gets to be brave adventurer Parzival. There are worlds upon worlds within the OASIS; you could spend your days in Sunnydale or exploring the Firefly galaxy or the world of Call of Duty. You can do anything, go anywhere, be anything you want. And for a poor kid, that’s something amazing. Even if he is just stuck on the world where he goes to school.
But not only that, Wade is a Gunter. One of the legendary hunters of the Easter Egg that the creator of the OASIS hid somewhere in the game. And he goes from a nobody to instant, world-wide fame when he finds the first key to the egg. Suddenly, everyone is on the move. The Gunters, and the Sixers, the pawns of a large, corporate organization who want to take over the OASIS, so named because all of their avatar names begin with the number 6.
This book was a pure adrenaline rush. There’s no other way to describe it. You’re swept along and pulled through and you just cannot stop reading. I spent the day with the book in one hand and whatever else I needed to be doing in the other. Fully addicting and basically all around-awesome.
What’s stopping me from giving this five starts is that basically the entire first third of the novel is an infodump. About the OASIS. About the world outside. About Halliday, the creator of the OASIS. About Wade’s best friend Aech and his crush, Art3mis. However, later in the novel, this infodumping was a good thing because it explained some things that would have been confusing, and since it didn’t need to be explained, it didn’t take from the pace of the story.
Basically, this is a high recommendation, and if you grew up playing 80s video games, this will be pure nostalgia.
Now that I’ve read and enjoyed Ready Player One, I need to read Snow Crash (which Dad says is just as good and is by a different author), and Armada, which also by Ernest Cline and is recently released. Dad bought Armada, so I’ll read it when he finishes it, and as for Snow Crash I’ll bring it along on vacation.
So…are their any new books added to your TBR list? What’s your favorite 80s video game (I always liked Centipede)? Have you read either Snow Crash, Ready Player One or Armada, and what did you think?