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

BOOK REVIEW: Marie Lu “Warcross”

29385546Title: Warcross

Author: Marie Lu

Genre: Science Fiction

My Rating: 5/5 stars

 

In this technology-driven world, Warcross is a game that everyone, young, old, rich, poor, plays. It’s a virtual reality-type game where you can log on to be strategic and competitive, or just to escape your world and life to be somewhere else for a while.

Still, you can get into a lot of trouble on Warcross with illegal gambling and such, and Emika Chen is the one who catches these guys when the police don’t have time to. She’s a bounty hunter, and even though she has the skills to do so much more, her criminal record keeps this from happening. So she scrapes by on the little bit of money she gets from the guys she catches and finds solace like so many others in the world of Warcross.

That is, until one day when Chen unintentionally glitches herself into one of the most important games of the Warcross Championship, and she’s sure that she’s going to be arrested again.

Except she isn’t. She becomes an overnight sensation and is drafted into the Championship. Still, there’s more than just the games to worry about. Hideo Tanaka, the creator of Warcross, has a special interest in Emika and her hacking abilities, and she has a special interest in him. It becomes clear that someone is trying to sabotage the games, or planning something worse than any of them have imagined, and it’s Emika’s job to stop them.

My thoughts:

I absolutely loved this.

This is the book I’ve been waiting for. The dialogue was believable and the characters were interesting, well-rounded and complex. The action was engaging and the story was unlike any other virtual-reality, video game-related story I’d ever seen or read. Don’t even get me started on the romance. It was electrifying, and I could feel it before they ever even touched each other (which wasn’t until, like, after page 200?). Marie Lu took her time building up the romance and the tension, and I absolutely loved it. I loved Emika and Hideo. I loved everything.

It was just such a fun read that I didn’t want it to end. I actually found myself trying to slow down and take more time on it, and I was so sad to read the last page. Not that we aren’t getting at least one sequel, and since Marie Lu seems to have a thing for trilogies, I’m going to guess there will be two. Still, how long am I going to have to wait to find out what happens next?

I liked that I didn’t predict who the culprit was. Yes, I love to guess and yes, I love to be right. But lately, my accurate predictions have really been ruining the experience for me, and while the end wasn’t exactly out-of-this-world shocking, I was surprised.

One thing I’ll say is that the book seemed short. I suppose I’m not complaining because I like it when it doesn’t take me two weeks to read a book, but I do wish there had been at least 50 more pages of content? However, that’s just me. I was still so pleased with this that I don’t care too much.

Ever since I read Marie Lu’s Legend trilogy, I’ve admired her world-building. I noticed it there, I noticed it in her Young Elites trilogy, and I see it here. Her ability to shape and describe the world that her characters are living in is mind-blowing and I so enjoyed it here in Warcross.

I loved this book so very much and I’m going to recommend it for all of my days. Starting with my blog readers. Hey. Read this book.

 

Marie Lu: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads