Thursday, April 18, 2013

Book review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

The year is 2044 and the world looks different than today. As many people have foreseen the world is not really big enough for all of us, the energy crisis is a fact and people live in bunkers on top of each other in need of both space and resources. To escape the depressing reality a lot of people also have a life inside of OASIS, a virtual reality where you create an avatar and can go to school, hang out in chat-rooms, play games, make friends and some people even get married without ever having seen each other in real life. The founder of OASIS James Halliday, hid different clues and riddles in OASIS for people to solve before he passed away. The one who finds three keys and three gates will find Halliday's Easter Egg, win the lottery and inherit all of Halliday's fortune and the control of OASIS. Wade Watts is a 17 year old orphan that lives with his not very loving aunt and spends most of his time trying to win the prize. When the story starts he's been looking for five years without finding anything. The only thing he knows is that the riddles are based on popculture of the 80s, Halliday`s big passion. He is of course not the only one looking. When Wade finally finds the first key,  his avatar`s name shows up on the high score list, everything changes and the game is on for real.

What did I think?
This was such an incredibly fun and clever book. Even though it contains plenty of references to the popular culture of the 80s I am pretty sure you will enjoy the ride even though you don't get most of them. I was born in 1980 and I got some of the movie and TV-references but video games have never been one of my biggest interests. I think if you have some nerdy bones in your body, know what it`s like to be obsessed or really into different popcultural phenomenas you will understand. You might say that Ernest Cline get's to the inner nerd in you:-) What impresses me the most about this book are all the details and that it`s so thoroughly done and still so entertaining and thrilling. I have to say the book didn`t capture me instantly but it definitely did eventually. It has been a while since I enjoyed a book this much and it's such a great feeling when that happens. I didn't want it TO end but still I had to know HOW it ended as soon as posible. I also found myself beeing really into the main character Wade and the group of friends he makes during the hunt even though he`s never met them face to face.

Social criticism or pure entertainment?
Ready Player One has everything a novel that`s primary goal is to entertain should have; friendship, a love story, excitement and humour. Compared to many other dystopian novels it doesn't feel as a society gone wrong is a main issue here, more the background of the story being inside OASIS. There are som social criticism in the book, both environmental and about not being present in the real world, living your life online, not having to face reality as I guess more and more people do. OASIS seems very compelling to the reader but on the other hand you see that it's not real, and that it can never replace real human contact. But mostly I think Ready Player One is just a refreshingly fun tribute to geekyness and pop culture. I don't miss more criticism or debth because Ernest Cline does what he knows best and loves the most. His passion shows through the whole book and is a big part of what makes this work so well.

It's not really a YA-book but it received the YALSA Alex-award in 2012, an award given to books written for adults with special appeal to young adult readers. In my opinion this could just as well have been published as a YA-book but then it probably would have been lost for many of the adult readers. Hopefully it won`t be lost for all the YA-readers.

Ready Player One

Gift from the norwegian publisher Vendetta.

My rating:


  1. Sounds good, but then I do like dystopia

  2. I loved this book, and totally get what you mean that it's an adult book which has a high level of appeal for the YA audience. Maybe they should publish a YA edition :)

    1. Yes, maybe that`s the solution. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak was released as a book for adults in Norway and sold really well. I don`t think it would have been as well known if it was published as a YA-book like it was in other countries. Maybe the New Adult categpry is a solution,

  3. Sounds like a great read, and an interesting perspective on what the future might be like.

    Marlene Detierro (Ptarmigan Hunts)

  4. I highly recommend "Ready Player One" to just about everyone I know. It is a celebration of a book -- an electrifying & thoughtful story filled with heart & fun, and written with the sly smartness & authentic sincerity that I'm sure will be earmark for all Ernest Cline books to come. Excelsior!
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Thank you for sharing your thoughts =)