Ready Player One Book Review

by Author Ernest Cline

I’m giving this book 4.5 easter eggs out of 5.

One of the ways I judge a book is by its gravity, so to speak. Do I feel pulled toward it? In other words, when I was away from the book, did I feel like I needed to get back to it. If a day went by without reading it, did it bother me? I listened to the audiobook version of Ready Player One, and let me tell you, it pushed all my buttons (ha!) When my wife asked me if I’d be willing to go pick my daughter up from dance, or to go to the store or (fill in the blank) I quickly said, “yes,” thinking that it was another opportunity for me to flip the audiobook on and keep plugging away at it or a few more minutes. Set in the future, Ready Player One is, in so many ways, a homage to 80’s culture. Movies, music, styles, and especially video games all play a critical role in the plot. When a former video game developer, and rich business mogul learns that he only has a short time to live, he constructs an elaborate contest that he has placed inside the Oasis (online MMORPG type world). There are three phases (gates/keys) to the contest, and the first one to get through them all, wins “the egg,” or his ultimate prize—all his wealth and assets—billions. The story revolves around a less fortunate, yet brilliant, young guy named Wade that spends all his time on the Oasis. Like many others, he is devouring anything he about the 80’s in an attempt to figure out how to progress in the contest. James Halliday, the billionaire that created the contest that would take over just about everyone’s heart and mind,  loved the 80’s, and was rumored to have based the whole contest on 80’s pop culture. So, everyone studied up in order to be able to play the game, including Wade. This was Halliday’s way of resurrecting the 80’s, maybe buying it an extra life, as it were—deposit your quarter, right here, thank you very much. The author does a fabulous job world building not only interesting things about the 80’s, but the futuristic world that would obsess about a dead man’s fortune, and stop at nothing to get it. He’s included the folks that dedicate themselves to hunting down the egg, the commerce system inside the Oasis, a military group established by an evil corporation with ulterior motives, epic battles,   PVP vs non-PVP worlds, and even the naming and description of artifacts and epic weapons in the game…and so much more. This book was a wild ride down memory lane. I’m proud to say that I got most of the book’s references. I did have to look a few up, however, especially the Pac-Man trick (cool!) Ready Player One is well-written, and the plot was good fun.  It has murder, mystery, tons of 80’s backstory, and even romance. The ending was even enjoyable 🙂 If you like gaming, good writing, and the 80’s, and you haven’t read this book yet, once you have, you’ll wonder what took you so long.

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