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“Ready Player One” Book Review

Samantha Zakrzewski, Writer/Editor

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Written from the perspective of the witty and relatable Wade Watts, readers can’t help but fall in love with Ready Player One. Filled with many 80’s references, ranging from popular video games to pop culture, this book set in the future will at times feel like one set it in the past. Wade is probably one of my all time favorite narrators- his humor is contagious and he takes seemingly complicated concepts and makes them easy to understand. Author Ernest Cline deserves nothing but praise for Ready Player One. It’s an entertaining blast from the past that I’m sure people of all ages will enjoy.

Ready Player One takes place in the not so distant future. Unlike the future that we have all imagined, the one filled with holograms and flying cars, this one is suffering from droughts and climate change. Jobs are scarce and many people are living in the stacks, trailers piled up on top of each other to save labor and space. Obesity rates are high because people are consuming sugary, processed foods as that is all they are able to afford. Since people are in dire need of an escape from their grim reality, they have turned to either drugs or the virtual reality video game called the “OASIS.” Players could be anyone that they want to be and travel to different worlds within the virtual reality. They could even earn money through the game, which can be used outside of the game in reality.

James Holliday, one of the creators of the OASIS, dies and leaves a will with all of his fortunes and complete control over the OASIS to whoever finds his golden egg, hidden somewhere within the OASIS. In order to find the egg, one must locate the three keys and three gates. With each key that they find, they will be given an additional clue that will lead them to their next gate. While this may seem simple, it’s far from it. There are over 27 sectors to explore in the OASIS and within those sectors are worlds and zones. This leads thousands of gunters, the name given to those hunting for the egg, to search for the first key. Halliday left only one clue for the first key and it’s very vague, making the hunt for the key even more difficult.

While the hunt for Halliday’s egg may seem like fun and games, it’s far from it. One group known as the Sixers- an extremely powerful group that has lots of money and knowledge- threatens the legacy of the OASIS. If they locate the egg, they plan on completely changing the OASIS. They want to charge people a monthly fee to use it, which would make it far more exclusive. Currently, to use the OASIS there is a one time fee of $.25, which many people can spare. As I said before, many people use the OASIS as an escape from their impoverished lives. A monthly fee would result in many users to have to stop using the OASIS, since they wouldn’t be able to afford it. The threat of the Sixers causes many of the gunters to team up with one another to try and find the egg.

Although Ready Player One is filled with many technical, futuristic terms that non computer savvy people like me don’t understand, Cline does a phenomenal job explaining these terms. He’ll even repeat certain terms and definitions to make it clear. While some may find this repetitive, I appreciated this. Just like with any fantasy society, there are many terms to learn, so it’s a relief to have our awesome narrator Wade break it down for us.

Unlike many other series, Ready Player One tells you right from the beginning that Wade locates the first key. Although this doesn’t give away the very predictable ending, it’s better than the author trying to pretend that we don’t know that the main character will overcome whatever  challenge they face. Being the first person to find the first key, Wade instantly becomes a celebrity in the OASIS. Many stories are published about him, but they aren’t’ true. That is the reason why Wade writes this book- he wants to set the record straight. I found this to be a very interesting way to start off the book as it adds suspense and makes you want to find out how Wade finds the key.

Ready Player One is definitely a page turner. I found myself unable to focus on other tasks- I wanted to spend all of my time reading. Cline has the ability to play with words and grab your attention. His descriptions are extremely vivid and he makes you feel as if you are actually in the OASIS with Wade, trying to find Halliday’s egg. It’s very rare that I form a strong attachment to a book and become heavily invested in the characters. Ready Player One had me hooked from the opening line to the closing sentence as I actually wanted to solve the clues on my own. If you ever stumble across a copy of Ready Player One, definitely consider reading it- you won’t regret it!

 

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“Ready Player One” Book Review