Let me preface this by saying that this is not the type of book you’d usually see me reading. And that’s actually kind of sad. Because although I do adore a lot of the books I read, there’s so much more out there that I need to also dive into. But anyway yeah, this isn’t a dystopian book centred around a girl who fights the government and gets two boys to fight over her and that’s okay.
Ready Player One was recommended to me in this person‘s book rec vlog and I was just like “okay, yeah, I’ll order it at the library and see if I have time to get through it. The cover’s kind of cool or whatever.” Like it caught my attention but not in the I’m Going To Die If I Don’t Have This In My Hands Within The Next Hour way. (Kinda like Blood Red Road, actually.)
I brought it with me to read on a long car journey and couldn’t put it down. It’s an almost 400 page novel and I finished it in two nights plus the car ride. Seriously it was fantastic and I couldn’t get enough of it. There were so many puzzles and the characters were amazing and I probably had a smile on my face while reading some of it; it was really that great.
I’m going to try and give you a little synopsis so here we go: Our main character is Wade Watts. His dad named him that because he thought the alliteration gave his name a sort of superhero vibe (a la Peter Parker or Clark Kent) but that’s not important to the plot, I just thought it was cool. Anyway, this whole thing is set way into the future where basically all anyone does is go on the Oasis which is a video game turned virtual reality thingy where you can live your life in a cooler way than you ever could in real life.
The creator of all this is a dude named James Halliday whose death marked the beginning of this book. Obviously he was all kinds of rich and obviously he was an antisocial recluse that didn’t have any heirs to pass down his massive fortune to. SO he thought “hey, why not hold a contest where I hide three keys for three gates in my little Oasis game and whoever goes through all the gates gets all the money! That cool with everyone?”
Obviously everyone went crazy trying to find them but this world had thousands upon thousands of planets and you really had to know what you were looking for to get there so it really got nowhere and a lot of people gave up. But not our Wade. Despite being so poor that he can’t even pay to get off the planet he’s on right now, he’s decided he’s going to be the one to win this contest and basically devotes his life to being obsessed with everything Halliday was every obsessed with. Aka anything to do with 80s culture and also videogames.
I’m not going to go into any more detail but there are friends and there are bad guys and there are eureka moments and it’s just one of the best things I have ever read in a while.
I can’t imagine what reading it must be like to people who actually know more than your average human about 80s pop culture because I am not well versed in most of that yet I still really enjoyed reading about it. Like every second page was just full of release dates and artists and producers and the most minute details on random things like Monty Python or Atari or John Hughes.
All the strategy and hardcore clue solving made me giddy as the whole process was described in lots of detail so even if you, like me, could barely even get your head around what they were talking about, you would still be able to grasp the connections and marvel at the ingenuity of it all.
It was a great beat-the-odds type of book where these teenagers faced a greedy corporation that wanted the winnings for themselves and had all the resources to do it yet were still undermined by some pesky kids.
The romance was kind of forced and interrupted the goods parts (and I don’t usually say that ever!!) but it came through at the end and was pretty adorable.
And I’ve been trying to keep it spoiler free but I need to get something off my chest so if you’re going to read this book and care about spoilers please don’t read the next paragraph, kay?
So when they revealed Aech’s real life identity, I had to laugh. Like I was kinda rooting for him to be a black character y’know cause Wade wouldn’t be expecting that or something but no, Aech had to be every single minority possible all tossed into one. Which is great that there’s representation and all but after most people being white and male, with the exception of Art3mis, it was a little bit of a shock to see a black, overweight, lesbian woman. I like that she exists, it’s just a little funny that it wasn’t spread out or anything among many characters it was just BAM hello. Yeah that’s what I wanted to say.
Anyway, please read the book, I don’t even know if it’s popular amongst everyone because, like I mentioned earlier, I don’t really roll in those circles, although I should really start doing that. Sci fi is quite great!