Ready Player One


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4.5 out of 5 stars

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Product Description

Immersing himself in a mid-21st-century technological virtual utopia to escape an ugly real world of famine, poverty and disease, Wade Watts joins an increasingly violent effort to solve a series of puzzles by the virtual world's super-wealthy creator, who has promised that the winner will be his heir. (This book was previously listed in Forecast.)

Editorial Reviews

Video-game players embrace the quest of a lifetime in a virtual world; screenwriter Cline's first novel is old wine in new bottles. 

The real world, in 2045, is the usual dystopian horror story. So who can blame Wade, our narrator, if he spends most of his time in a virtual world? The 18-year-old, orphaned at 11, has no friends in his vertical trailer park in Oklahoma City, while the OASIS has captivating bells and whistles, and it's free. Its creator, the legendary billionaire James Halliday, left a curious will. He had devised an elaborate online game, a hunt for a hidden Easter egg. The finder would inherit his estate. Old-fashioned riddles lead to three keys and three gates. Wade, or rather his avatar Parzival, is the first gunter (egg-hunter) to win the Copper Key, first of three. Halliday was obsessed with the pop culture of the 1980s, primarily the arcade games, so the novel is as much retro as futurist. Parzival's great strength is that he has absorbed all Halliday's obsessions; he knows by heart three essential movies, crossing the line from geek to freak. His most formidable competitors are the Sixers, contract gunters working for the evil conglomerate IOI, whose goal is to acquire the OASIS. Cline's narrative is straightforward but loaded with exposition. It takes a while to reach a scene that crackles with excitement: the meeting between Parzival (now world famous as the lead contender) and Sorrento, the head of IOI. The latter tries to recruit Parzival; when he fails, he issues and executes a death threat. Wade's trailer is demolished, his relatives killed; luckily Wade was not at home. Too bad this is the dramatic high point. Parzival threads his way between more '80s games and movies to gain the other keys; it's clever but not exciting. Even a romance with another avatar and the ultimate "epic throwdown" fail to stir the blood.

Too much puzzle-solving, not enough suspense.

Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Customer Reviews

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4.5 out of 5

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  • We Are the Knights Who Go Niiiiii!

    4 out of 5

    Written by , Posted on at 11:29:41 AM

    A rambunctious, hysterical and loving tribute to the bygone decades, “Ready Player One” takes place in a dystopian world where almost everybody submerges their real selves in an ongoing computer game called OASIS. This book rarely swerves from its game player mentality but it is raised from being a mere exercise in geekdom by its gamers Parzival, Aech, Daisho and Art3mis. They are more than emotionally stunted nerds sitting in front of computer screens in their underwear. Each one yearns to make his or her stamp on the world or at least get all the goodies they can out of it. “Ready Player One” resists any attempt the reader might have to feel sorry for its shut-ins. They know the world is a mess but they don’t care. They both seek to better it and accept it for what it is. Although Wade comes off at first as being the ultimate nerd, it’s clear he’s savvy, smart, probing and educated. He actually knows the world used to be better than the metal pit it has become and is gradually led on the realization that he can make a difference, that he can make it better. He just has to play the game. This novel is meant to be enjoyed both superficially and on a deeper level. Those of us who are more than 20 years old will chuckle in delight at all the references from the 70s, 80s and 90s that pepper its pages. So grab your joystick, players, and prepare to play the game. This one is for ALL the marbles.