Saturday, June 30, 2012
Book Review - Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Ready Player One - Ernest Cline
I received this book as a gift from a good friend of mine who told me, "I know you will LOVE this book." He was right. I'm a huge fan of retro arcade games and still love to play classic video games. This book is written for anyone who is nostalgic for 1980s culture, from video games to music and movies. Aside from the 80s references, this book is a really fun adventure story that I couldn't put down.
The story is set in the near future where life on Earth is less than ideal. The destruction of the environment leads to global wars over natural resources, which leads to increased poverty worldwide. Most people escape to the virtual world known as OASIS. When its creator passes away, he announces that his vast fortune will be left to the sole participant who can be the first to find all of the Easter eggs that he hid within OASIS. The novel follows the journey of a teenage boy and the rivals that he faces to solve the clues to fight for the prize.
Cline's writing style is fairly straight-forward making this an easier read (a great summer read!). He does a fantastic job of setting the scene and perfectly describing both worlds - the physical world and the one inside the video game.
I didn't find the cultural references jarring as some other reviewers felt; the games and movies that he mentions fit perfectly within the narrative. I think it definitely helps to have a knowledge of the references - many people who are under age 25 may be lost. My generation does tend to feel nostalgic towards these games and movies, so I really enjoyed the trip down memory lane. I didn't feel like Cline was "name-dropping" at all as the references contributed to the story.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and couldn't put it down. I recommend this book to anyone who considers themselves to be even slightly nerdy for classic video games or retro culture from the 1980s.