Ready Player One
Ernest Cline, 2011
New Release! Copy for review provided by Netgalley.
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Premise: In the very near future, life is pretty bad. Most people spend their time (and their money) on the OASIS, an enormous virtual system that has replaced the internet, schools, many workplaces, and more. But the late creator of the OASIS left a secret, an easter egg, in the program somewhere. Whoever finds it is entitled to the late billionaire's entire fortune. There are corporations that spend all their time and energy in the search for the egg, but there are also lots of freelancers. Freelancers like Wade Watts, high school kid and gunter (egg-hunter). But no one has made progress on the riddle of the Egg in years, that is, until now...
The book itself is structured like a classic 80's film: a group of kids from different backgrounds are in search of treasure, the obsessions of young people are extremely useful, the antagonist is an evil corporation whose motives and actions will probably be kind of silly if you think about them too hard. It skims over uncomfortable aspects of the future, touches on subjects without exploring them; again, much like many 80's movies.
It's a super-fun read, not serious science-fiction by any definition, but it's not trying to be. There were a few aspects to the plot that I found too easy or pat, but the tone was generally light enough (even when the subject matter got dark) that I could overlook them.
The puzzles were fun, the sense of teen adventure was strong, and I couldn't put it down once I got into it, devouring it in two marathon sessions. The ending was simplistic, but I'm still giving it high marks.
4 Stars – A Very Good Book
Check out Ready Player One on Amazon.com