Tuesday, 17 June 2014

ready player one by ernest cline (spoiler-free!)

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hello readers! today i'm reviewing 'ready player one' by ernest cline (goodreads), published by broadway books, and i'm mixing up my reviewing style a little so please let me know what you think in the comments!

'ready player one' is set in a time when the OASIS rules all; it's a virtual reality video game (think the sims or second life but on a much huger scale) that involves everything - you can go to school in the OASIS, go to work in the OASIS, it acts as a virtual library with every book, film, tv show, and so on instantly available, and it's replaced the regular lives of most people as conditions on earth have gradually deteriorated. the story starts as creator of the OASIS, james halliday, dies and releases a video stating that he's hidden 3 keys and 3 gates inside the OASIS, and whoever finds them all and completes all the challenges will be awarded his entire fortune and estate, including the OASIS network. the story then follows wade watts, or 'parzival' as he's known in the OASIS, as he searches for halliday's OASIS easter egg.


  • the world! the OASIS is such a rich environment and a place where anything goes is a fantastic place to set a book. the rules of the OASIS were explained really well (such as no PvP zones, where fighting and battle was banned) which made the whole setting so much more realistic, and i could definitely see this being an actual virtual reality game. 
  • the depth of back-story! there are lots of sections in this book where we're told lots of things about the OASIS and the creators and the development of companies and things, and i loved reading about it. ernest cline had put so much detail and depth into the companies behind the story; at times it was like i was reading articles within the book, it was so realistic, and it really added to my understanding of the world. i loved reading about the OASIS, and james halliday (the creator) was one my favourite characters, even though he wasn't alive throughout any of the story (that's not a spoiler by the way!), because his story was told so well throughout the actual story (story-ception?). 
  • the information! other than an excellent work of fiction, this book could be given a second purpose as a reference book of 80's pop culture. it was so interesting to read about, and i feel like it allowed readers to go behind the whole 'leg warmers and WHAM!' feel of the 80's to what living in that decade was actually like. 
  • the references! i laughed out loud at so many points in this book when they referenced something that i love, like slipping, "answer the question, claire" into conversation (that's from the breakfast club, by the way) and parzival ordering a 'pan-galactic gargle blaster' (a drink from the hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy) in a bar. 
  • the characters! the story centres around the 5 characters who first find the first key - parzival, aech, art3mis, shoto, and daito, plus their rivalries, the IOI, who want to obtain the easter egg to gain control of the OASIS and make a fortune by charging people monthly to access the game. there are also some side characters, like james halliday, and ogden marrow, who was his partner in their gaming company. the characters were so well-formed and i LOVED how ernest cline tackled the 'virtual reality' aspect; exploring avatars, how you might perceive a person based on their avatars, and how they differ in real life. 
  • the tension! i read the last 100 pages entirely with my mouth open in awe. i was so invested in this book and the characters that at points i had to put the book down to take a break and calm down, it was that tense! some horror/thriller authors need to take lessons from ernest cline, seriously.


  • sometimes i felt like there was TOO much information in this book. when i started reading i was panicking a little that i wouldn't be able to remember all the pop culture info and back story that was just thrown at me in the first 50 pages and that that might affect my ability to understand the story. thankfully it didn't, so this isn't too big an issue.
  • occasionally it was a little confusing differentiating between life in the OASIS and life in the 'real world'. my main issue was the ability to use OASIS credits as real-life currency, which seemed a bit odd, and sometimes figuring out whether he was referring to real purchases or virtual ones was quite difficult. again, though, this is quite an insignificant issue and didn't really affect my enjoyment of the book at all. really, i'm clutching at straws here - this book was too good for negative points. 

overall, this book blew my mind. it was incredible and not only did i love the story, reading the book itself was an absolute pleasure and i didn't want it to end. it was a good old Good V Evil storyline but with so much depth and development. i gave it 5 STARS and would recommend it to absolutely anyone - it was FANTASTIC! please let me know if you've read 'ready player one' and what you thought of it in the comments. thanks for reading guys! x

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