Press START – Ready Player One: A Review (Spoiler-Free)

Synopsis

Ready Player One is a story about Wade Watts and his quest on solving the OASIS’ Easter Egg Hunt. Whoever solves the puzzles of The Hunt will inherit a fortune and become the new owner of the OASIS – the biggest online virtual reality game in the world. It didn’t occur to Wade that this is more than just a game to many – until he cracks the first clue.

Is he ready to risk his life to win – and survive?

Thoughts

Ready Player One is a book version of a “Let’s Play” on YouTube or Twitch, with the addition of seeing the private life and thoughts of the player. This is what made me enjoy the book.

The story is not complex; it’s straight-forward a Quest plot. Characters are not well-developed, but not to the point that they’re bland; some have the familiar side-kick personalities. Some details seemed unnecessary and events that don’t make sense. There are a lot of plot conveniences. Most of the time, I can’t conjure the images of the mentioned pop culture reference – unless I Google them.

Despite this, I still enjoyed the book. It gripped me because I wanted to know how the story will go and end. I kept on expecting something familiar that I know from its movie counterpart, but it turned out to be very different and surprisingly interesting. (I watched the movie first and found out it was based on a book.) What also hooked me is the fast-paced narration of action scenes, the down-to-the-bones descriptions of a gamer’s life, and the ROBOT WARS.

Ready Player One is the first fiction book that I’ve read and finished after 7 years of a fiction-book-reading-slump. This is the perfect book to start indulging again in the creative written word. It’s an easy read because of its conversational style of writing; it has a simple story structure, uncomplicated plot, fast-paced, and great world-building. Conveniently, its sequel was just released last year (November 24, 2020) and I’m excited to dive into another OASIS adventure.

My subjective ratings:
🕹🕹🕹🕹🕹 – My Enjoyment
🕹🕹🕹🕹🕹 – World-building/Setting
🕹🕹🕹 – Story/Plot
🕹🕹 – Character Development
🕹🕹🕹🕹 – Pacing
🕹🕹🕹 – Ending

I shared my spoiler-filled thoughts here.

Recommendation

I recommend this book if:
• you are an 80s/90s pop culture geek/nerd;
• you are a gamer and love watching YT gameplays;
• you enjoy reading action-packed, sci-fi stories;
• you want a chill, good-enough, feel-good book to enjoy and pass time;
• you enjoyed the movie.

Trigger Warning

This book is an Adult Fiction (even if the story and characters feels like it’s for a YA audience). This is because the following are present:
• cursing, cussing – sprinkled here and there;
• suicide planning – not graphic or gore-y;
• hikikomori – this is a serious issue in Japan; it was talked about for a length of a page;
• masturbation and sex – not graphic, but the mention of the word and thoughts behind it;
• death – described but not gore-y and explicit;
• computer/gaming addiction – described vividly

Is the book better than the movie?

Although the movie events were very different from the book, it still maintained with the book’s main premise find the missing keys, solve riddles, win and own the OASIS.

I’m guessing that the movie was written differently because of licensing and also to cater to modern, younger viewers (because who would love to see someone play Tempest in 21st century?). So I guess, they wrote it around the materials that they can use. Example is there was no Planet Doom in the book, but it’s the last setting in the movie. Doom is much more mainstream than the games mentioned in the book; no offense!

The movie is worth watching. The book is worth reading. The great thing was that the author, Ernest Cline, co-wrote the screenplay.

Excerpt:

(Chapter 4)

The Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation was a big place.

When the OASIS had first been launched, it contained only a few hundred planets for users to explore, all created by GSS programmers and artists. Their environments ran the gamut, from sword-and-sorcery settings to cyberpunk-themed planetwide cities to irradiated post-apocalyptic zombie-infested wastelands. Some planets were designed with painstaking detail. Others were randomly generated from a series of templates. Each one was populated with a variety of artificially intelligent NPCs (nonplayer characters), computer-controlled humans, animals, monsters, aliens, and androids with which OASIS users could interact.

GSS had also licensed preexisting virtual worlds from their competitors, so content that had already been created for games like Everquest and World of Warcraft was ported over to the OASIS, and copies of Norrath and Azeroth were added to the growing catalog of OASIS planets. Other virtual worlds soon followed suit, from the Metaverse to the Matrix. The Firefly universe was anchored in a sector adjacent to the Star Wars galaxy, with a detailed re-creation of the Star Trek universe in the sector adjacent to that. Users could now teleport back and forth between their favorite fictional worlds. Middle Earth, Vulcan, Pern, Arrakis, Magrathea, Disc-world, Mid-World, Riverworld, Ringworld, Worlds upon worlds.


Book Title: Ready Player One
Author: Ernest Cline
Published in 2011, Broadway Books, Crown Publishing Group
Amazon | Goodreads

Dates Read: January 16, 2021 to February 9, 2021

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