Book Review – Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Title: Ready Player One

Author:  Ernest Cline

Format: Hard back

Publication: 2011

It was a fellow co-working who put me onto the book Ready Player One.  He told me about this book saying it was really cool and a must read for me as I was a fellow geek.  He said how he shares his book with pretty much everyone he can and listed how many people read it and powered through it and gave me his copy of the book.  Considering he had given me his personal copy I felt a bit obliged to go ahead and read it as he did ask me about it on occasion.

Despite the obligation to read the book I am very glad I read it! My coworker was very accurate about the concept of me liking the book.  Ready Player One is the grail of geeky-ness.  It is a book that is set in a dystrophic future where people spend most of their time in a virtual reality called the OASIS to escape the problems of their lives.  In this future the virtual reality is practically as real as true reality.  In the book the creator of the OASIS James Halliday was a man who grew up in the 80’s and had a deep love of the decade.  As such he incorporated a lot of aspects of said love into the alternate reality.  On top of that, at the time of his death he informed the world at large that he hid an easter egg in the reality and that they would need to solve his riddles and prove themselves worthy to get his mass fortune and control of the OASIS.  Once this announcement was made the entire world delved back into 80’s pop culture, as well as geek culture which are two loves of Halliday’s.

If you have any love of the 80’s or even lived it like I did you’ll enjoy the book for some of the references to that time period and things you and I remember well, as well as a few slightly more obscure things as well.  You can jump in and do the research like my friend did or just coast along reading it like I did and still have a fantastic time.  Also if you are a geek of any sort you will love some of the geek references such as tributes to Star Wars, Firefly, Whedonverse, Star Trek, Back to the Future and many more.  Additionally if you are a gamer of any sort the amount of games brought up is phenomenal.  I was loving it as the Atari and one of my all time favorite game Kaboom was mentioned and just enjoying the whole game play aspect of a lot of things.

Beyond just the geek, gamming and 80’s pop culture references, a good story is told and crafted, one that just pulls you into the world of the book as you follow the adventure Wade/Parzival  as he searches for the easter egg and faces more challenges than just figuring out the puzzle that Halliday put before him.  He also has to face threats upon his life and fight to survive in the real world and fight to keep the reality that he’s grown up with and come to love safe from those who would seek the easter egg to exploit and ruing the OASIS for most everyone by making it a massive corporate machine.

Over all, I loved the book and was quickly immersed in.  I will admit the start can be a little slow but if you can make it in just a few chapters the action really builds up quickly and stays pretty strong.  There is a small slow down in the middle of the book but if you keep plugging away for just a few chapters you won’t regret it!  You will find yourself thrown back into the action and from there it does not stop and it is a real page turner, I found myself struggling to put the book down when I had to and taking a full day just to sit and read and finish the book.  It was very good and left you with an ambiguous but completed ending.  It’s a book where I could see and love to read more only to go back to the world the book created and see what becomes of the characters after the end but I’m not left with the feeling that I’ve been cheated if I don’t have a second book.

With that said I would recommend this book to any gamer, any geek, and any person who has lived in or has a love of the 80’s.  Though this book may not be for everyone, this is a book that I think everyone should read and give a try because not only did it have some great flash backs to the past and geek and gaming culture it also crafted an interesting story that I struggled to put down.  Thus I am going to go ahead and give this book a 5 out of 5 page review and suggest that you get your hands on a copy now and read it!

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