Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Book Review: Ready Player One

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline is one of the most thought-provoking, exciting and captivating books I've read in a long time. Not only is this an incredible page turner, it is a great social commentary on modern-day issues like social media, reality tv, and humanity in general. We are shown a preview of life in 2044, where there is a fine line between real and virtual worlds, and much of humanity is escaping reality by living in a video game.

Wade Watts spends most of his waking time logged into the OASIS, a video game created by a rich, self-absorbed, quirky genius who dies with no heirs. James Halliday's massive inheritance is to be passed on to the winner of a game he created within the OASIS. Wade Watts and millions of other people around the world dedicate their lives to finding the hidden puzzles to unlock several "gates" that will lead them to fame, fortune and ultimate power.

The book is well written enough, the story is fascinating, and you will find yourself rooting for the little guy, Wade Watts, until the very end. Cline is a striking change from many contemporary authors, and I give him credit for bringing us to this new, virtual but not so unrealistic world that may be just thirty years away. Is it so far from the truth that humans spend more time online than in the real world? Is it completely unrealistic to imagine a world that is so harsh and horrible that a virtual reality would be a serene oasis?

This book is loaded with pop-culture/80's references so if you grew up in the 80's, it will be a trip down memory lane. To me, this book felt like a mix of Hunger Games/Harry Potter/Facebook with a futuristic spin that left me hooked. You will not be able to put this book down. It's even more addictive than facebook!

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