My boyfriend received a free copy of Ready Player One in one of his monthly Loot Crates and after reading it, told me I might enjoy it as well. I have to say, Cline certainly knows his 80s trivia. And as someone who grew up in the 90s, it was wonderful to read this book and remember some of the video games I played as a kid. I was rather proud of myself in that regard.
For the first 50 pages or so I had a difficult time finding the motivation to keep reading. Exposition is definitely important in this book as there’s so much to explain about the decline of the real world as well as the new virtual reality system, OASIS; however, most of this exposition seemed to drag on. My attention was not truly captured until the contest swings back into full gear upon Parzival’s finding of the Copper Key. After this, the plot seems to pick up speed.
Along those same lines, the ending also seemed odd to me, a bit underwhelming. After the build-up of so much tension and suspense…things seemed to come to an end fairly abruptly. I expected some sort of elongated shoot out scene between Sorrento and Parzival, so I was a little confused to see that the only true fight was between their giant robots and that it took only a few pages. Then Parzival gets “free admission” into the third gate because he just so happens to have the “extra life coin” and then he doesn’t have to fight another soul to win the contest. A bit contrived, sure, but I’m thinking most people will read this book for the references, not necessarily for its creative and well-developed plotline. Was I a little disappointed? Yes. But likely only because I was expecting one thing and got another.
All this being said, the book still has a lot to offer. I love how Cline describes the friendship between Aech and Parzival when they meet in-person for the first time. Because they have never seen each other, the two have been able to rely only on what they know about the other person’s personality — their interests, their dislikes, their passions. Aech and Parzival share a “mental friendship” because they have not had physical appearances to sway their opinions on one another. For a book that focuses so much on the negative aspects of living in a computer-controlled world, this is one positive element that I really appreciate.
I did notice that Cline’s next book, Armada, is expected to be released in the fall of this year. I’m not super eager to read it — I think I’ll read a few reviews first to see how it compares — but I appreciate Cline’s passion for “old school” video games and movies. I may be a 90s kid, but my heart belongs to the 80s.