alwaysanswerb’s #CBR5 Review 32: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline


This one has been reviewed so, so many times already, there isn’t much left to say. Take the following quiz:

  • Do 80’s pop culture references moisten your lions?
  • Were you waiting for the next great cyberpunk novel?
  • Are you a fan of sensitive and varied depictions of different races, genders, and sexual orientations?
  • Do treasure hunts still appeal to you on an instinctual level?
  • Are you charmed by geeks fighting an Evil Empire?
  • Might you be immune to the occasional irritation that could arise from an extended infodump?
  • Don’t you think there is something so appealing about a hero rising from inauspicious origins?
  • Have you ever dreamed of fashioning yourself a new life in an alternate reality?
  • Are old-style arcade games so totally your bag?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any or all of these questions, you really should read Ready Player One if you haven’t already. I’m ashamed it took me so long! But here I am, emerged victorious, to be neither the first nor the last to recommend it to you.

Jen K’s #CBR5 Review #36: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Taking place in 2044, this novel follows the adventures of Wade Watts, or Parzival as he is known in OASIS, the virtual reality/internet/gaming network that has come to dominate pop culture, media and recreation in the future. The creator of this virtual reality, Halliday, died over five years ago, and in his will, he left his 240 billion dollar fortune to whoever could win the game he created in the OASIS and complete his quest. Halliday afficionados know that to solve this quest they need to have an extensive working knowledge of all things ’80s, Halliday’s major obsession, and Wade is one of many “gunters” or egg hunters that has studied Halliday’s life and the ’80s in preparation for his quest. Unfortunately, Wade comes from a poor background, and it affects his ability to travel in this virtual world (he has access to books and media files for free) where transportation from one planet to the other requires money (real or virtual) or a vehicle of some sort. Access and usage of the OASIS is free but within that program everything has a cost. Wade only has access to his one world where he attends school and has no idea how to get more money or how to narrow down on which of several thousands of worlds the first challenge is located. However, while lost in thought in his OASIS Latin class, Wade finally makes that first connection that will allow him to discover the first key and be the first person to show up on the score board.

To see me completely miss the point, continue reading at my blog.  3.5 stars

Shaman’s Cannonball Read #CBR5 review #06: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

I was too young to remember the eighties, but according to Ernest Cline they were a blast. Great movies, great music, great fashion and most importantly great games. Ready player one is an ode to the eighties, especially to the first computer and console games that became publicly available.

Wade is a teenager growing up in a dystopian future, where the only place to find solace and entertainment is the virtual world of OASIS. Real life is miserable: environmental pollution, energy crisis, poverty, you name it. When real life is so bleak, it is no wonder everyone wants to escape to the OASIS. And now there is an incentive to spend even more time in this virtual world. The creator of the OASIS (an eighties enthusiast) has died, and in his testament he has left everything he owns to the person who manages to find the Easter egg that he has hidden somewhere in the OASIS. Players have to follow the breadcrumbs of clues that he has left behind in order to find the egg and inherit everything. Wade is desperate to find the egg and change his life. But when so much money is at stake, finding the egg becomes a matter of life and death.

Although I became a teenager during the early nineties, a lot of the eighties’ popular culture coloured my upbringing. The ATARI games, the John Hughes films, the Pink Floyd music were all part of my childhood and any references to them put a smile on my face, at least at first. Because there were a LOT of references, so many that the book almost reads like a catalogue of all things Cline considers cool. I found this problematic in the beginning of the book, before the real action begins. Later it is not as noticeable any more.

There were a couple of things that I found mildly distracting. First of all, I felt that the subject matter (the aforementioned ode to the eighties) was aimed towards those of us old enough (or curious enough) to have experienced or explored that decade’s pop culture; however, the simple language this book was written in and the age of the protagonist suggest that Cline was hoping for a teenager/young adult audience, who (I am guessing) have little knowledge of the eighties. I am not sure what audience Cline wrote for, but if it was meant for us who belong in the first group, I would have wished for more nuanced writing and a more complex back story. I couldn’t help wanting to find out more about the real world in Cline’s book. It is suggested that Wade wants to escape it and spends all of his free time in the OASIS, but the motivation behind it is never explained in depth.

Second of all, there were many instances where there is no set-up for what is about to happen. Instead, things are explained after they have happened. Example: Wade has to fight an enemy. Only after the enemy is introduced do we get to find out that Wade just so happens to have an item in his inventory which allows him to annihilate his enemy. I realise that this is in line with the magical world in which all of this takes place, but at the same time it feels like a deus ex machina that appears a little too often to save the day: there is no real suspense and it feels like cheating. Moreover, it means that we don’t always get to follow Wade as he solves the problems he comes across. We find out how he’s done it only after he’s solved them. It makes it hard to identify with him.

Minor annoyances aside, this book was an easy, quick, entertaining read, as long as you don’t expect a literary masterpiece and just want to have a fun ride.

Aunt Ada Doom’s #CBR5 Review #3: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline


Ready Player One is the story of the world’s highest-stakes virtual scavenger hunt and the 80s-obsessed teenager who takes the lead. In a not-too-distant future, the inventor of a virtual universe called OASIS leaves behind a video will with a clue to the start of a quest within OASIS. The first player who collects three keys, passes three gates, and collects the final egg will inherit his entire estate. 

The main setting is the richly-sketched virtual world of OASIS and the book is at its most enjoyable when it focuses on exploring that world. The plot is a pretty straightforward quest as the protagonist, Wade, searches for the egg and engages with friendly competitors as well as the requisite evil corporation. This is a fast-paced adventure that’s enjoyable even without much familiarity with 80s pop culture.