Monday, August 4, 2014

Review: Ready Player One

Ready Player OneReady Player One by Ernest Cline
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've had more people recommend Ready Player One to me than probably any other book. And while I enjoyed it quite a bit, I don't know if I'd say it was one of the best books I've ever read, no matter how geeky it got. It fact, I think it got a bit too geeky at times. That's not to say that there's anything wrong with extreme geekiness. But it's just such a PERSONAL geekiness that it's a little off-putting. You can tell the author, Ernest Cline, had a good time reliving some of his favorite childhood memories while writing this book. They're just not MY memories, which is why I couldn't really connect with the book as much as I wish I could have.

Bummer, dude.

And while this sounds impossible for any author to really capture the things in my own life that made me into the geek that I am today, I think he could have accomplished it by focusing on either video games, like Wreck-It-Ralph did, or movies. But not both. It just didn't seem to work for me. Is it selfish of me to wish that Cline wrote about more of the things that I enjoyed growing up with? Sure it is, but there's a difference between reading a story about video games and movies from the 80s that I liked, and reading a story about video games and movies from the 80s that the author liked, if that makes any sense.

I'm not sure that it does.

I don't know.

Maybe if the references had taken place in the 90s I would have connected with it more. It's a petty complaint, I know, but it kind of hurt the book for me.

Other than that, it's a pretty original story. On the version I got, the cover has a quote from USA Today that says, "Willy Wonka meets The Matrix," and I think that's a pretty apt description. The story takes place in a virtual world called OASIS and it involves a hunt for an Easter Egg, which is a secret in a video game that is hidden for players to stumble upon. I really dug the quest itself, but wasn't too into the relationships of the characters all that much. Also, some of the dialogue felt forced. Again, maybe if I connected with the time period, I would have enjoyed it more. As it stands, it had a pretty good pacing, especially toward the end, and I enjoyed it. But is it a game-changer like Slaughterhouse 5 was for me the first time I read it? No. Not at all. It's a good, nerdy diversion, but nothing more than that. Unless, that is, you were born in the 70s and remember the 80s really well. Then, you will LOVE this book.

PS. I wrote this review while listening to the Battletoads soundtrack.

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