Tuesday, September 2, 2014

"Ready Player One" by Ernest Cline Review and eBook Giveaway!




FOUR AND A HALF STARS!
 
 
I purchased and read this book on the suggestion on every single in the history of the world. Ok, maybe not every single one, but most of them. Every person I have spoken to about this book has absolutely loved it. In fact, when I told a few of them I hadn’t read it yet I received some shocked faces and screamed suggestions that I read it immediately. So, I added it to The Great Stack a few weeks ago and got around to it during Bout of Books 11.

It took me about fifty pages before the book sucked me in. Let me just say that those first fifty pages, I was pretty terrified that I was going to have to report to every person in the known universe that I didn’t enjoy it. I love the 1980’s, I love John Hughes, I love video games, I love pop culture, and I love dystopians—so it Ernest Cline pretty much saw into my soul with this one.  (Not to mention my husband, the super gamer’s, deepest hopes that I would one day begin to ask him about obscure 80’s trivia and video game terminology.) But, I still didn’t love the first world building elements of the novel. I will add, this may not be the fault of the writing—I struggled with the physical design of the book towards the beginning, the smaller font and the amount of text without breaks on each page made it troublesome to enjoy.

However, past the first fifty pages, I was hooked. The world building is truly intense and complete, and I can’t help but compare Kline to his Halliday in terms of covering every detail and base in his design of this future America. The entire concept, of a video game Easter egg hunt in order to essentially rule the world is fascinating, extremely original, and just plain wonderful.

I generally shy away from novels with male main characters. Call me sexist, whatever, I just struggle to relate to or find interest in a male main character. (We all read what we want, so, no judgment!) But Wade was a pretty awesome character. I liked his tone, I genuinely cared about what happened to him, and I found him to be realistic and fun. This world was best written through his eyes and I connected to him and his struggles.

The other characters are just as well-written and just as realistic and interesting. I struggled to find any character that was unnecessary. Most developed the story, world, or exhibited Wade or another main character’s personality. I was interested in every aspect of this world—the people, the history, the politics, the technology, and the comparison between OASIS and the real world.

Spoilers and giveaway after the jump. : )
 

 
I really appreciated the raw reality throughout this book. For example, the reference to the sex doll solution was something that I'm sure was in the mind of all the readers, and I'm happy it was addressed to end speculation. I also enjoyed the way the action was described. I have found that, especially male authors, will focus on the minutia of battles and fights to the point that I have to gloss over the fighting scenes because just don't care. I was nervous about this aspect of this book, and I was pleasantly surprised.
The digital aspects of the book seemed to be realistic and plausible to me. When creating any type of dystopian world it is key to make it believable, or at least able to be understood across knowledge bases, and Cline does an amazing job of this.
However, I felt that the inclusion of the Wozniack-type character was great and much needed, however it was kind of sloppy. The knocking over of the books in the chat room was pretty obvious and that was the only clue. It felt almost like an afterthought to get them to his house. In reality, they would have gone (and he would have rooted for them against the "bad guys" regardless.

I also thought the ending was a bit preachy. That's actually why I docked it a half a star. Overall I really enjoyed it, however, and highly recommend it. Hence, I'm giving away a free Amazon Kindle copy!
 
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