IN THE YEAR 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.
But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.
Review originally written in October 2014:
Ready Player One had all the ingredients for a deliciously good book. It was interesting, new, and fresh, and had just the right amount of friendship and love, next to a wickedly awesome storyline. And let’s not forget the world this book created – the OASIS, a whole new virtual world in which I would get lost in a heartbeat.
Which is what happens, basically. The year is 2044 and the world has gone to hell. The majority of the population is starving, suffering from poverty and all kinds of illnesses. Since reality is so bad, people have created a second identity in a virtual world called the OASIS. You can be anyone you want. That is the beauty of it. When the creator of the OASIS, James Halliday, dies, he leaves behind a quest like no other. Find three keys connected to three gates in the OASIS, which consists of millions of planets and worlds. The person who clears the final Crystal gate wins Halliday’s entire fortune. “Willy Wonka meets The Matrix,” as was quoted on the cover.
I love the idea of the OASIS. I love everything about it. I love the fact that you can be anyone and anything you want, that you can travel anywhere you want (even freaking Jupiter), and do whatever you want. It sounds glorious, and it would be very dangerous for me to own a console like that. I would completely forget about the outside world.
The idea of the über-contest is a brilliant storyline. The search for Halliday’s Easter egg is literally the ultimate quest and takes years. Only the best persevere. The best, and the cheaters: it’s not just honest people trying to solve the puzzle, but there’s also an evil corporate involved. They want to take over the OASIS and make all kinds of changes to it. It makes it all the more exciting. You’re rooting for the good guys and booing the bad guys. It felt like a reality show at times.
I am not a gamer. I’m not that much of a geek, and I know pretty much nothing about the decade of the ‘80s. I’m pretty sure I did not even understand 5% of the references, but they were all explained briefly (video game? TV show? Movie? Song?) so I was able to follow anyway. Despite my obvious lack of knowledge, I still thoroughly enjoyed this book. I loved the characters of Parzival, Aech and Art3mis. Sorrento was a brilliant villain. Everything just fit. Like a key in a lock. Which might take you to a whole new world one day.