Print Length: 386 Pages
Publisher: Broadway Books; 1 edition (August 16, 2011)
Reading Sara Rating: 8/10 – A Good Book!
Reading Sara Review: Ready Player One came highly recommended from friends whose book recommendations I trust, and they certainly did not let me down. This book was exciting, full of surprises and a creative look at the post-apocalyptic world. Our protagonist, Wade, comes from the wrong side of the tracks. He lives in 2044 and is an orphan, poor and hungry. His solace is similar to those around him – an online world called the Oasis. While the world around them is falling apart, most humans spend their days, money and time in this alternate universe. The story picks up when the Oasis founder passes away, leaving his fortune to whoever can find clues hidden within the Oasis, his “Easter egg.”
For fans of the 80s or kids who grew up playing classic video games, this book will bring back many memories. I have never been much for video games, but still enjoyed the plot full of friendship, betrayals, suspense and fun. There is a deeper, underlying message of what our world could potentially be going toward – the world where people are always plugged in, addicted to computers, and let our world crumble around us (cough, global warming, cough). This world that Cline created is easy to imagine. But not all of it is bad – kids can attend an online, virtual reality school where they get experiences that just aren’t possible in today’s classroom, not to mention that in this virtual world, there is no fear of violence in while in a classroom.
For those readers who did play these games (likely young men now in their 30s and 40s), this book will be great fun. Don’t shy away from it even if you weren’t the one geeking out to these games, it’s still a good read. There are questions of humanity, heroes vs. villains, who we are, what we believe in and much more. The book is deeper than just the quest for the Easter egg and the creator’s fortune.
In today’s world, we thrive on our identity – what clothes we wear, what career a person has, who our friends are, what we believe. In the Oasis world, they can create their identity – their avatar, names and friendships. What does that freedom allow that people desire? Perhaps, it is simply a connection to others in the world that is falling apart, or maybe a second chance at a life that you weren’t born. There are some moral dilemmas in this book, and a philosophy of life and the true purpose of our lifetime (spoiler alert, the answer isn’t just living in this other world – humans desire real connection).
If you haven’t read this, I highly recommend adding it to your TRB list, and then let’s talk about the future of humanity.
Final note: the Ready Player One movie is scheduled to come out in 2017, so get a head start and read the book first!