BOOK REVIEW: Ernest Cline “Ready Player One”

ready-player-one-book-GalleyCatTitle: Ready Player One

Author: Ernest Cline

Genre: Science Fiction

My Rating: 4.5/5 stars

 

In the year 2045, 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.

*Summary provided by Goodreads.

My Thoughts:

This book was amazing. This was a treasure trove of geeky, 80’s awesomeness and I adored it from start to finish. This was National Treasure inside a vast, limitless virtual world with references to a wide range of classic games, film, music, etc. This was absolutely perfect.

I can’t say enough good things about Ready Player One. The pacing was surprisingly flawless considering the length of the book and the time range/information that this covers. It’s a rags-to-riches story about dedication, quick thinking, clue-solving, etc.

The story starts with the death of James Halliday, creator of the OASIS, a vast and ever-growing virtual world, and lover of all things from the 80’s. He describes in a video made before his passing, a competition: whoever can find the Easter egg that he’s hidden in the OASIS will win his inheritance, which is sizable to say the least. Halliday leaves for the world one clue, and for 5 years, no progress is made in the search for the egg.

Wade Watts, our main character and total underdog, has no real chance of coming out on top. He doesn’t have the money to pay transportation fees to travel through the OASIS, which means he can’t do two things: actively search for the egg or level-up his character. The only world he’s allowed on is the planet where he attends school virtually; sadly, there are no monsters there to kill for experience, and there is nothing to search. All he can do is study everything there is to learn about Halliday, his thousands of obsessions, and master all of the video games he can get his hands on.

Then, by crazy chance, Wade solves the first clue.

What follows is a wild ride through the endless OASIS in a search for the egg. Puzzles must be solved, clues must be cracked, games must be won, and now there’s competition as other players begin to catch up. After 5 years, the game has finally begun, and Wade can now put to use all the facts and knowledge that he has gathered.

It’s impressive how dedicated Wade was to this game. He spent 5 years watching all of Halliday’s favorite movies and TV shows, playing all of his favorite games, listening to all his favorite music, reading all of his favorite books, hoping to find some clue as to the location of the egg. Wade doesn’t just watch/read/play/listen to once; he’s got most of Halliday’s obsessions practically memorized to the point of concern. Like I’m worried that this may have not been super healthy.

I can’t stress enough how incredible this book was. It was interesting and engaging and I didn’t get bored once. I was hooked from beginning to end, and never once did my enjoyment of the story waver.

So a minor complaint: it seemed that Wade had a way of solving clues at, like, the perfect time. He would always be conveniently listening to something or watching something that would jog his memory just the right way to make the answer become clear to him. It seemed a little too perfect, but dang I loved the story so much that I don’t even care.

Another slightly bigger complaint: Ernest Cline was such a tease with that ending! I was not satisfied by it at all; I felt like I needed so much more. I wanted him to give us a “6 months later” bit or something, but instead I felt it was abrupt. I wanted to know what happened after, so I felt let down.

Otherwise, this book is a crazy, wild ride. I’d recommend this to anyone and I think people of all ages can enjoy this, even if you’re not big into gaming or the 80’s. It’s a timeless story with some really awesome features, characters you can root for, and a story that will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout.

 

Ernest Cline: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

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BOOK REVIEW: Beth Revis “Across the Universe”

8235178.jpgTitle: Across the Universe

Author: Beth Revis

Genre: Science Fiction

My Rating: 1/5 stars

 

Across the Universe has a very Disney’s “Wall-E” vibe to it: a space ship on it’s way to another world in order to start over. The trip is supposed to take about 300 years, so several generations will live and die before the space ship will arrive at it’s destination. However, there is a section of the ship dedicated to more “essential” personnel, people who will be needed on the new world and have been cryogenically frozen until the 300 year mark.

Amy’s parents are essential personnel, and they were able to pull some very important strings in order to get her on the ship and frozen along with them. Unfortunately, she seems to have been intentionally unplugged about 50 years too soon, by someone who may have wanted to hurt her. Amy wakes up to a completely different environment and world than there was on Earth.

The passengers on the spaceship are monoethnic, without political or religious beliefs; basically to eliminate any reason for dispute on board the ship. There are exactly 20 years between every generation because reproduction is regulated, and everyone either acts like robots or animals, depending on the circumstances.

Elder is being trained by Eldest to eventually be in charge of the inhabitants of the space ship, but Elder is now distracted by Amy who is so different from anyone else on board. She has tales from Earth about how things used to be, which threaten the sameness lifestyle the Eldest is trying to cultivate.

My thoughts:

I’m not going to lie: I bought this book strictly because of the cover. You may find this petty, or silly, or frivolous. Yet I have been just lusting after this cover ever since I first joined Goodreads and discovered it. I recently purchased the book just so I could bask in the beauty of that cover in person, but obviously intended to read it as well.

This book was a shipwreck.

Amy wakes up from her cryogenic sleep, understandably terrified and asking for her parents. She wakes to a new world and a new way of life, intimidating people and scary circumstances… and she’s sassing everyone. Literally anyone she comes into contact with, she’s talking crap, bad-mouthing, insulting, being an all-around unpleasant person, and it is not at all how you would expect a young girl to react in a situation like this. Some people may think this makes her strong or fearless, but I think it makes her stupid and annoying.

Elder just wants to have sex. He sees Amy and his hormones are on the fritz. He can’t possibly be attracted to her character since she has the personality of a troll. It doesn’t help that this story takes place during the time of the “season”, which is when everyone is allowed to reproduce. However, in this world, the “season” is when people are allowed to pounce on each other and have animal-like sex in public, which is creepy and weird.

So Amy gets unplugged, and it’s clear to at least two other characters that the act was intentional and it’s vocalized that the possibility of this happening again is high. “Oh no, whatever shall we do? Oh well, let’s leave.” So they leave and then some alarms go off and, “Oh no, someone else has been unplugged! How unfortunate! Why don’t we have some type of security? Oh well, time to go.” Then someone else gets unplugged. It’s freaking ridiculous, you guys, do these people have no brain cells?

Honestly, I couldn’t handle the stupidity of the book and these characters. I hated every moment of this book. I’ll keep it because it’s pretty, but I won’t be buying the rest of the series and I certainly won’t be reading it.

 

Beth Revis: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads