Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Time to Talkback: Review on Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

The Authors had their time to talk now it's Time to Talkback. This gives me the chance to review the book or books I have been reading. Now I'm all for a honest review and at times I can be a bit harsh with some of the judgements I voice, as far as book go. But it has nothing to do with the author(s) for without them what would my imagination be (goodness help us all). It is just my own opinion, constructive criticism (I say) and I just want to state it as so many of us sometimes do. Good or Bad, I am always thankful for the books I read and the author(s) who wrote them. So, welcome to Talkback and here to a honest review.

Title: Ready Player One
Author: Ernest Cline
Author Info: Website | Twitter | Goodreads
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre Type: Sci-Fiction
Publication date: August 16, 2011
Publisher: Random House
Format: Paperback
Pages:  372 pages
Source: Barnes and Noble, Bought
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ernest Clines brings an epic tale filled with suspense, romance and a lot of humor; Ready Player One. Avid gamer fans, geeks, nerds, and lovers of the eighties will obsess over this will wonderful action packed thriller. The adventure and excitement not to mention the non-stop 80's pop-culture references is relatable and nostalgic.

We are in 2044 and the world is in ruin, fossil fuels and inflation have brought most of the population to poverty and the only escape is through a world wide reality gaming network called the OASIS. The OASIS was created by one James Halliday, a world renowned game designer and all round computer nerd. OASIS allows its players to leave the real world around them and 'jack into' a virtual world inside the game. Within the game you can choose your own name, gender, appearance, sex, race, the possibilities are endless and as for the game itself you can visit anywhere you can imagine from Tolkien's Middle Earth to a Death Star. Although it is free to enter OASIS it still costs to pay for things such as weapons, travel and clothing.

Although most people use the OASIS to escape the horror of their real lives there is also another incentive. On the day of James Halliday's death a message was broadcast to all users of the OASIS telling them that his vast fortune (in the billions) was hidden in the game somewhere and the first person to find it would receive it all plus ownership of the OASIS - very Charlie and the Chocolate factory. To find this illusive treasure they must first find three keys that in turn open three gates, thus leading them to the fortune. This became known as 'Halliday's Easter Egg' hunt.

Most of the storyline in the book is set in the virtual reality world of the OASIS, where we are introduced to the main character Wade Watts or 'Parzival' as his gaming avatar is named, an eighteen year old uber yet classic geek, who spends most of his days plugged into the OASIS, his main goal being to find Halliday's Easter Egg. For five years since Halliday's death no gunter/“egg hunter” or sixer/”IOI” has found any clue as to where the first 'key' was hidden, this is until ‘Parzival’ suddenly shoots to the top of the scoreboard on Halliday's website. He has found the first key.

From then on the story centers around Wade's hunt for the egg. But he has enemies; the demonic company 'Innovative Online Industries' is obsessed with not only finding the egg but killing anyone who gets in their way. IOI wishes to win the fortune and take control of the OASIS so they can charge monthly fees to anyone who wishes to play.

Though Ready Player One is a wonderful and exciting adventure, it is a flawed book. It is hugely front loaded with clarification and even when the plot finally kicks in, expositional infodumps sometime arrive to bring the story to a grinding halt. There is no artful integration here and Cline is just providing information about the extensive world he’s imagined or explaining something about a game, movie, TV show or band, to a hapless noob who’s never even heard of family ties. It is called Wikipedia and Google; learn it, love it. The book tries a little too hard to appeal to a broader type of audience, when this is clearly a niche book. Through this book does have some flaws, it is exhilarating when you are not getting a major infodump.

Cline’s characters and world building are greatly describe in a glorious matter however, making it feel like this could be the not so far future. Cline made this story into such a fun quest for the elusive riches, that we feel involved in the interaction of the story; with the bad guys clearly bad enough for us to hate (Evil corporations are Evil!) and the protagonist relatable enough to wholeheartedly cheer for him in his efforts - after all, we love rooting for an underdog, right? Ready Player One is an intense, action-packed story. Incredibly enough, it is Ernest Cline’s debut novel. I can’t wait to see what he does next!

Overall, Ready Player One was fabulous, and it’s definitely gotten the hype it’s deserved. Certainly a brilliant addition to the sci-fi genre and I’d highly recommend it to all geeks and non-geeks alike. You definitely won’t be disappoint as you follow Wade through his journey to find Halliday’s Easter egg.

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