I discovered Ready Player One through another independent author and decided the premise was very interesting. Downloading it to my eReader, Nook, I began my journey into a futuristic, and somewhat apocalyptic world set in 2045. After reading the synopsis, I wanted to know more. Right away, I was taken in by the fact it involved video games and virtual reality. But this factor was only one aspect that held my attention throughout the story, as it was dense in characterization, story-telling, and theme.
The narrator’s voice keeps my attention, taking me to the main character’s, Wade’s world, which is one of crime, poverty, and solitude. But he sets out and changes this over the course of the story. With the rich use of figurative language and description, I have no trouble visualizing this world and its characters. Sympathizing and empathizing with Wade is easy. He lives with his family who he believes considers him a nuisance and ignores him. To escape this misery, he logs into a virtual reality world called the Oasis, created by the famous and wealthy James Halliday. Through his created avatar, he goes to school, to town, interacts with people… No one knows how he looks and he does not know how the people he interacts with look beyond their avatars. Then he discovers James Halliday’s easter egg treasure hunt. Halliday is the creator of the Oasis and has left an easter egg when he died, which is his fortune (worth multi-millions) for people to find.
Wade learns more about this easter egg through the virtual world and begins his search for it. However, to find it he must locate three keys and compete with many others looking for the keys and the gates in which the keys open. Oh yeah, there is also the various challenges of foes and obstacles to deal with during the search as he ventures across diverse terrain and into exotic worlds within the virtual world created by Halliday himself, including a flashback world of Halliday’s, a mirror image of a 1980’s town. Along the way, Wade comes across people who become foes and good friends. His closest friends are Aech, Art3mis, and Shoto. Art3mis becomes a love interest as the story progresses, which brings an interesting subplot to the story and an additional distraction for Wade as he comes closer to finding the easter egg. These four interact and form a friendship as they search for Halliday’s fortune.
As the game intensifies, Wade’s life grows more complicated in the virtual world and in the real world. Chaos erupts as a totalitarian-like army called the Sixers began hunting for the easter egg. These are the same people Wade rejected to help earlier n the story. As a result, they become an extra headache for him and his friends.
Personally, this is a must-read for science fiction fans and readers in general. I cannot truly compare this world and story to any others I have read. There is a lot more to the story than simply a futuristic world where virtual reality is shown to perform amazing things. A story unfolds early on and Cline stays with it throughout, all while immersing the reader with more innovative technology. Within this story, sub-stories develop. All are connected. Wade is someone I care about and find empathetic. His supporting cast is just as well.
It will be interesting to see what Steven Spielberg does with the book’s adaptation.