Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Book Review: Ready Player One

So this is only a kind of quasi-review and more of an endorsement of the audiobook version. 

I finished Ready Player One (hardcover version) by Ernest Cline last fall. I was totally smitten with the book and loved finding a great YA read from a male perspective - and not just any male, a geeky boy narrator! Ready Player One has picked up some steam throughout 2012 and I have enjoyed seeing all the positive reviews and general gushing. Recently, I found out that the audiobook is narrated by Will Wheaton.

If you live under a rock and don't know who Will Wheaton is, stop right now and go Netflix every season of The Big Bang Theory. Will makes many cameo appearances as "himself" on the show. (Like stars who turned up on Entourage were "themselves" in that they weren't playing the part of anyone else, they were just their own asshole alter egos.) One of RPO's many charming qualities is the glorification of all things 1980's, and as Mr. Wheaton played boy genius Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation, he is mentioned in the novel. I can't tell you how delightful it is to have a self-proclaimed geek narrate a book about a geek in which he is mentioned. It's like the ultimate nerd trifecta!

Ready Player One is set in a tragic future where the energy crisis and economic recession has led to collapse of modern society. Many people spend the majority of their free time in a Massively Multiplayer Online Game called the OASIS. The OASIS is a brilliant virtual reality developed by computer genius and eccentric James Halliday. At the time of his death, Halliday had no heir and left his vast fortune and controlling stock in Gregarious Simulation Systems (the company that runs the OASIS) to the person who could find his Easter Egg (in gaming an easter egg is a hidden message generally left by the game's creator). The hunt for Halliday's Easter Egg took over the world, but five years after his death no new progress has been made. Until Wade Watts uncovers the first of three keys in the challenge. The book follows Wade's rise to super stardom and his quest to find the other two keys and unlock Halliday's Easter Egg.

Filled with endearing 80's pop culture references, Ready Player One takes the reader on an amazing journey through the mind bending world of the OASIS where anything is possible. It hits the mark with themes like user privacy and is an interesting treatise on how we, as a society, are changing the way we communicate, conduct business, and live our lives online. I can't say that I've ever read anything like it and loved the character development and Cline's worldbuilding. The amount of information relayed in the first chapters is a tad overwhelming, but I hungrily devoured all the details (as already stated, I'm a detail glutton).

I encourage anyone looking for something different in the YA genre to read this book and then go pick up the audio version because Will Wheaton crushes it (get it? It's funny because Will Wheaton was Wesley Crusher! Yuck, yuck, yuck).

Educate yourself on the topic in this post:

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