(⭐️⭐️⭐️ – 3/5 stars)
Ready Player One….
Welcome to the OASIS… Or should I said The Matrix or Room 13 or Second Life or World of Warcraft in the future. So yes, you guys get the idea. This is a story about a future society that lives online (At least the majority) in a virtual reality world called The Oasis. The author is Ernest Cline and he has another book called Armada (similar stuff).
It follows the story of Wade, a 18 year old dude that even study in the Oasis and it is obsessed with 80´s pop culture (As everyone else) in the 2040´s. Wade is a Gunter, part of a massive group that spend every little single second outside of school looking to play the ultimate game: a quest all over The Oasis to find an egg the founder of this virtual reality (An 80´s geek called Halladay) put somewhere – the winner will take billions of dollars and the control of the Oasis.
It is said that Steven Spielberg is looking forward to do a Film about this book. That could mean really good news (Jaws) or not so good ones (A.I). If it´s true, it won’t happen for a while know. I think it´s the future´s Elder Scroll (ehww).
I´m a 90`s kid: so you should take this review with a pinch of salt.. I you lived the 80´s in your prime or if you are obsess with the decade, especially if you play D&D and all kind of classic video-games, please go ahead and read this book – you will have a blast! For the rest of us, let´s see how this unfolds:
THIS is the place where you STOP if haven’t read the book, because I can get some SPOILERS over the lines!
Things that I liked about RP1:
✔︎ It was fun. For sure, light and fast reading that will entertain you. It does not matter if you do not get every little reference. The story unfolds quite fast and everything happens in a straight fashion. There is some romance, but mainly adventure and action.
✔︎ 80’s pop culture. It is amusing. Pacman, D&D, everything Matthew Broderick did, War Games and Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Plus, the song about The Piña Colada (who would love that! c´mon!). There is a first plane where the 80´s references habit and all makes for a great background.
✔︎ The futuristic failed society is a great one. I think there is a nice message there: we, as a society, think we are facing huge perils in the near future because of recent global financial problems and global warming. If things follow the path news portrayed the world everyday it looks like we will, sooner or later, reach a point of extreme depression. I loved the “real world” where Wade and everyone else lives in – a group of trailer stacked one over the other (20-30 high) in order to create an improvise building – fascinating background. It is that world of depression.
✔︎ The idea of avatars as a mean to do things you would not do in real life…. But wait, what it´s real life? (Is this the real world, or is just fantasy… you can go on in your head). This is a thing we already see all over the internet, please visit the comment section in youtube or any sub-reddit and you will find human nature without any restraint. It is a nice touch and theme present in the book. There is some gender issues and people looking for themselves.
✔︎ The research: astonishing the amount of detail – particularly with the 80`s references.
Things that I did not liked about RP1:
✘ It was fun. But it wasn’t good. At least was not perfectly written, too much flaws and predictable outcomes. Do not get me wrong, this is a fun book, but it is not as intelligent as it could be. I did had a good time, it was not cerebrally challenging – think Elder Scroll and not Dune/Foundation.
✘ 80’s pop culture. Too much for me. Again, if you lived the decade and loved it, no problem. But do we really have to listen to every single obscure little easter egg about the 80`s. I know that you are thinking: but Andrew, isn´t that the main reason of the book. Well, yes; and it does add some nice texture to everything in the story; but I do not think the 80´s was as memorable as Ernest Cline thinks it is…. 90`s kid here, I told you.
✘ It’s full of laughable impossibilities: like a 18 year old having seen every episode of every 80s TV show somehow, and being an expert in Pacman and a great player of Joust, Tempest, and the 1000’s of other games that you think may be important in the quest including knowing the script of every movie and all Japanese anime references… too much. I understand that he is obsesses over all of this, but there is no time to know all that in a life time. Sorry.
✘ Finally, towards the end of the book I did not fear for one second for Wade and his friends. He seemed to experience almost no actual barriers to success and the bad guys were very incompetent (a Google like multi-billion enterprise) vs a bunch of 18 year olds. Aha, not believable and too easy for our heroes.
This a 3/5 for me. A good read for a casual reader and a great read for a 80`s kids. Overall: good nice book. You can pass on it if you are not intrigued.
As always… thanks for reading.