AVERAGE REVIEW SCORE:
4 out of 5
Ready Player One
In 2045 Earth's population seeks escape from their reality in the collective virtual reality world of the OASIS. Wade Watts is a 'gunter', one of a number of OASIS users who dedicate their lives to questing for the secret Easter Eggs hidden within the game world by its long-dead creator.
If I had to sum this book up in one word it would be 'nerdgasm'. The plot, the setting and even the main character are specifically designed to act as wish fulfillment for geeky people in their thirties who still view the 1980s with fond nostalgia. The simple truth is that I am exactly the type of reader that Cline was aiming at and, as such, I managed to get a lot of enjoyment out of this book.
With 'Ready Player One' those of us in its target demographic get to immerse ourselves in a world where remembering pop-culture references are the key to saving the world, earning fame and fortune and getting the girl.
The problem with this book, which I was aware of the whole time I was enjoying its nostalgic excesses, is that the wish fulfillment is far too perfect to have any credibility. When it seems like Wade's impoverished background is about to deliver a harsh dose of reality to the story, he instead earns a fortune playing computer games and sets himself up a perfect top-of-the-line gaming palace. And the female character he encounters online and develops feelings for actually turns out to be an attractive girl his own age rather than a forty-two year old paedophile called Dennis.
If you're part of the aforementioned thirty-something gaming geek crowd and you want some pure nostalgia-based escapism, then you'll enjoy this book a great deal. I certainly did. However, if you're not part of that rather specific group, then you'll probably find this book to be pretty trashy.
4 out of 5